SDGs Africa Summit

The University of Cape Town is convening the International Summit on the SDGs in Africa 2020 to mobilise collaborative activities across universities, enabling step-change contributions toward boosting the pace and scale of efforts to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on the African continent by the year 2030.

To this end, the summit will convene a series of conversations with leading academics and those working in the field to focus on important complexities, dilemmas and potential accelerating activities.

ACC director Edgar Pieterse serves as a member of the Steering Committee as well as the Programme Committee for this event.

This invite-only summit is distinguished from a traditional academic conference by its distinctive aim of setting up collaborative work and actions that will continue beyond the event itself.

A series of strategic conversations are organised along the design-thinking concept of funnelling: beginning with broad context-setting dialogue and leading to more focused and action-orientated conversations to mobilise collaborative efforts.

Topics addressed through keynote lectures and panel discussions will be broad and high level: looking at the SDGs as they relate to Africa and the African Union’s Agenda 2063; grappling with important complexities and dilemmas that the continent faces in achieving them by 2030; and pushing the boundaries of current thinking and practices. A deeper understanding of the challenges will provide the context and frame the summit.

The summit’s programme comprises of the main summit, supporting events leading up to and following the main summit, and space for extended collaborative planning for two days afterwards.

Six parallel strategic conversations are a critical component of the main summit, as they will ensure its collaborative outcomes. These conversations will follow the same funnelling logic applied throughout the summit and will focus on one of six leverage concepts (listed below) for accelerating achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on the African continent.

The six leverage concepts:

  1. Ethical, capable and enduring institutions
  2. Science, technology and innovation
  3. Strengthening circular economies at different scales
  4. Transdisciplinarity and engaged scholarship
  5. Building responsive and resilient systems
  6. New approaches to teaching and building capability

Guiding principles

The summit’s design and work flowing from it are shaped by a set of guiding principles:

  • Recognising and embracing complexity
  • Adopting an integrated approach
  • Ensuring alignment with Agenda 2063 and the SDGs
  • Promoting and creating the conditions for interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary collaboration
  • Applying leverage
  • Co-designing work across member universities within networks and other stakeholders, while bringing an African perspective to our global partners
  • Seeking inclusivity, justice, equality and dignity, especially for women, children and vulnerable groups
  • Undertaking economic development in harmony with environmental protection
  • Giving effect to university roles of research, education, influencing and enabling

These principles are embedded in all aspects of the summit, and collectively, will determine participants’ experiences and the summit’s outcomes.

The International Summit on the SDGs in Africa 2020 is a collaborative effort and brings together three university networks of which the University of Cape Town (UCT) is a member:

PLEASE NOTE Due to the COVI-19 pandemic the Summit, scheduled for April 2020 has been postponed to September 2021.