On Tuesday, 4 February 2020, Commissioner for Environmental Sustainability Dr Gillian Sparkes joined RMIT University's Vice-Chancellor and President Martin Bean CBE, CSIRO's Senior Principal Scientist at Data61 Dr Stefan Hajkowicz and BUPA’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Innovator Dr Jane Burns on RMIT’s Engaging For Impact 2020 #EFI2020 Vice-Chancellor’s plenary panel session to open the exciting EFI2020 conference and the new academic year.
Centred on the findings and recommendations from the Victorian 2018 State of the Environment (SoE) Report, Dr Sparkes discussed the role of science in sustainable development and the importance of digital innovation, the UN SDGs and UN system of environmental-economic accounting in supporting Victoria’s capacity to respond and adapt, at pace, to pressures such as population growth, climate change impacts and ecosystem recovery from natural disasters.
Dr Sparkes also discussed the work of her office applying the UN SDGs to environmental reporting in Victoria, emphasising that a core value of SoE reporting is in the recommendations and the importance of the SDGs as an organising framework to enable broader measurement and description of the multiple outcomes and trade-offs associated with environmental outcomes and progress towards sustainable development. “My team is focused on developing the baseline science and evidence base on which we build our recommendations, but ultimately we are also in the business of problem solving, so I spend a lot of time future focused and identifying potential solutions to the issues we are seeing. What are the three things we can do – for example – that will have the greatest impact for the state of Victoria and demonstrate leadership nationally and internationally,” said Dr Sparkes.
Did you know that Victoria is one of only two jurisdictions in Australia (the other being the ACT) with an independent Commissioner charged with periodic State of the Environment reporting? Read about Victoria’s Commissioner for Environmental Sustainability.