Adopt research-based knowledge for sustainable development—Dr Denton

BY: Zadok K. Gyesi
Dr Fatima Denton
Dr Fatima Denton

The newly appointed Director of the Ghana branch of the United Nations University (UNU), Dr Fatima Denton has stressed the need for government to adopt research-based knowledge to ensure sustainable development.

Similarly, she also called on the government to strengthen and partner research institutions in the country so as to enable them research into areas that affect the country’s development.

“We have to use our research institutes as producers of knowledge, not only as contributors to research but as influencers of research outcomes,” she said.


Dr Denton was speaking at a farewell lecture for the outgoing Director of the United Nations University Institute for Natural Resources in Africa (UNU-INRA), Dr Elias Ayuk in Accra on Thursday, September 27.

She said, “We are privileged to be operating in a space where we can draw on strong science and identify downstream the best tools to deploy scientific findings that can support policy.”  

She noted that the UNU would continue to partner other research institutions in the country, particularly the University of Ghana.

“We have to elevate science to economic literacy and anchor our work to respond to problems that our governments, farmers, pastoralists and vulnerable communities are wrestling with,” Dr Denton said.  

Natural resources

She said Ghana is one of the countries in sub-Saharan Africa with the highest depletion of its natural resources and needed to move away from being a marginal supplier of raw commodities to harnessing the full potential of its natural capital through diversification and greater value addition.

Dr Elias Ayuk (with mic) answering a question during the lecture

She explained that research does not only bring out the problems of the society but equally serve as a source of solutions to such identifiable problems.

Touching on the occasion, Dr Denton congratulated Dr Ayuk for his role in advancing the cause of the institute, describing him as someone who has been a great champion on natural resource matters in Africa and has made huge contributions to putting the institute on the map.

Speaking on the topic: “Mineral resources governance for sustainable development: a new framework”, Dr Ayuk said for minerals and metals to contribute to sustainable development, there was the need to develop a new framework to address old and new challenges, confronting the sector.

He explained that looking towards 2050, there would be a global increase in demand for metals and minerals even with progress towards a circular economy, and added that “there is a pressing need to consolidate existing governance instruments as there is fragmentation and initiative fatigue.”

Dr Elias Ayuk delivering his lecture

According to Dr Ayuk, managing the tensions between the aspirations of the global north (resource efficiency and security of supply) and those of the global south (economic diversification, rent capture and broad economic development – SDGs 1, 8, 9 and 12) requires a new global governance framework.

UNU-INRA

The UNU-INRA is one of the 15 research and training centres or programmes that constitute the United Nation’s University (UNU) worldwide network.

The aim of the institute is to contribute to the sustainable management of Africa’s natural resources so as to improve livelihoods.