Sociologist joins poverty, sustainability experts at UN

A United Nations initiative to meet global sustainable development goals will include a leading Cornell voice in issues surrounding population and socio-economic inequality.

Parfait Eloundou-Enyegue, professor and chair of the Department of Development Sociology in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, joins a group of 15 experts convening in New York Feb. 21 to start drafting the U.N.’s 2019 Global Sustainable Development Report. U.N. member-states requested last year that a group be formed to make progress on the Agenda for Sustainable Development goals set out by the international body to eradicate poverty by 2030. The progress report, to be issued in 2019, is meant to serve as a benchmark for reaching those goals.

The U.N. describes the group’s mission as ‘to strengthen the science-policy interface and provide a strong evidence-based instrument to support policymakers in promoting poverty eradication and sustainable development.’ The group will examine policy options as well as offer assessments of previous endeavors. Group members are leading scientists working on sustainable development worldwide, and include experts from broad geographical areas.

Eloundou-Enyegue, a native of Cameroon, studies the sociology of education, social change and the demography of inequality. A major focus in his current work are the effects of demographic change on a range of sustainable development outcomes, especially human capital formation and socio-economic inequality. Much of this work has a strong applied component and his U.N. assignment will be an opportunity to extend some of the lessons learned in bridging science and policy.

During the meetings, Eloundou-Enyegue will work with his counterparts to chart goals and work plans for the next two and a half years to produce the report for 2019. A new report will then be presented to the U.N. General Assembly every four years as it works to achieve its sustainable development objectives.

Melanie Cordova is communications coordinator for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

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