SRI2022: Considering sustainability in art, culture, and finance

Posted on June 22, 2022

The second day of the Sustainability Research and Innovation (SRI) Congress saw many diverse topics take centre stage as a series of transdisciplinary hybrid content sessions showcased sustainability’s impact on culture, art, and finance.

The SRI Congress, as the globe’s leading sustainability, science, and innovation event, has brought together a coalition of changemakers to share the latest breakthroughs, inspire solutions and foster action-oriented dialogue between disciplines and sectors.

In a special session held in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) titled ‘The role of biodiversity finance in a changing world post the pandemic’, key stakeholders and leaders in the biodiversity finance space participated in a lively discussion on government initiatives across Southern Africa to improve investment into biodiversity, and also showcased innovative approaches to biodiversity finance globally.

An often overlooked aspect of the sustainability discussion is how it relates to global businesses. Faraz Amjad, Global Technical Lead for Natural Capital, UNDP, said: “A loss of ecosystem services would lead to destruction. Almost 36% of the global multi-trillion investments are highly or very highly dependent on one or more ecosystem services. We need to clarify how much these losses impact [people and industry] in a quantifiable way.”

Herve Barois, BIOFIN Technical Advisor for Central Asia and East Africa, UNDP, also highlighted ways that governments can play their part in protecting biodiversity. “Many subsidies exist that have a costly effect on the environment and biodiversity, and thus have a negative impact on everything else. These can easily be adapted to counteract negative impacts – otherwise governments have to do costly reinvestments to rehabilitate the biodiversity.”

Jamison Ervin, Manager, Nature for Development Global Programme, UNDP, highlighted use cases in South Africa that use UNDP data regarding where nature must be protected, restored, and have pressure reduced. This mapping initiative, entitled “Maps of Hope,” which “map essential life support areas for nature, climate, and sustainable development in countries around the world,” provides opportunities for governments to operationalize commitments on nature and integrate biodiversity planning into development initiatives. 

Another session called ‘Climate Change, Culture, and Art’ explored the impact of climate change on human society, particularly culture and art forms. 

During this session, Tingting Jin, Dean at the Sun Yat sen University school of art, discussed how more and more artists are creating work to bring attention to environmental issues. Their research focuses on the impact of climate change on human artistic activities. 

In the same vein, Jiannan Peng, Associate Professor at Sun Yat-sen University, discussed the relationship between the natural environment and music. The University’s research focuses specifically on the influence of the natural environment on World Music – which is all musical practices of the past, such as folk music. They said: “Because of modernisation, a lot of world music is becoming extinct as many folk groups have had to move away from traditional areas as a result of weather changes.”

The conference continues throughout the week.

This article is summary of highlights from Day Two of SRI2022 first published on the Congress’ website.

Recap of plenary one at SRI2022

Highlights from Day Three of SRI2022

Published by Hlengiwe Mnguni

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