Professor Quarraisha Abdool Karim is one of 10 eminent scientists and researchers to advise the UN on unleashing the power of technology for development. Picture: Supplied
Professor Quarraisha Abdool Karim is one of 10 eminent scientists and researchers to advise the UN on unleashing the power of technology for development. Picture: Supplied

Prof Quarraisha Karim going to the UN

By Thobeka Ngema Time of article published May 13, 2021

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DURBAN - PROFESSOR Quarraisha Abdool Karim of the Centre for the Aids Programme of Research in SA (Caprisa) has been chosen as one of 10 eminent scientists and researchers to advise the UN on unleashing the power of technology for development.

Karim is an infectious diseases epidemiologist, professor in clinical epidemiology at Colombia University, pro-vice chancellor for African Health at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, UNaids special ambassador for adolescents and HIV, and co-chairs the UNaids advisory group to the executive director, executive group member of the World Health Organisation (WHO) Covid-19 Solidarity Therapeutics Trial and the WHO Covid-19 Solidarity Vaccines Trial.

Earlier this week, the UN announced that secretary-general António Guterres had appointed a group of 10 experts to support the UN Technology Facilitation Mechanism.

They will advise on the ways of harnessing science, technology and innovation to accelerate progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“The 10 new members bring a diversity of expertise across various fields of science, technology, innovation and business,” the UN said.

“The group will work closely with stakeholder groups, including business, youth and children, and the academic and research community, with the first meeting planned for late May 2021.”

Those selected are Karim, Cherry Murray (US), Maki Kawai (Japan), Salome Guchu (Kenya), Anita Gurumurthy (India), Keywan Riahi (Austria), Carlos Henrique de Brito Cruz (Brazil), Yonglong Lu (China), Tālis Juhna (Latvia) and José Ramón López-Portillo Romano (Mexico).

Karim is also a member of the WHO Alliance for Sexual and Reproductive Health; the Scientific Advisory Board of the United States President’s Emergency Plan for Aids Relief (Pepfar); and Indlela: Behavioural Insights for Better Health.

She has been recognised with more than 30 local and international awards for her work.

“It is an honour and a privilege to be appointed by the UN secretary-general to co-chair the high-level 10-member TFM Group. The SDGs provide an important framework to address inequities and vulnerabilities globally. Technology and innovation have an important role to play in leap-frogging our efforts to attain equity to enable everyone to realise their full potential wherever they are in the world. I am looking forward to working with my colleagues to advance the SDG agenda,” said Karim.

Chairperson of the Caprisa board, Bongiwe Ntuli said Karim was invited to co-chair the UN 10-member group for two years.

“I wish to congratulate Quarraisha on this appointment that positions South Africa as an integral partner on the United Nations global agenda on science, innovation, and technology development,” said Ntuli.

She said Karim would join eminent and distinguished individuals from civil society, the private sector and the scientific community.

The group’s members are internationally recognised for excellence in their fields of expertise and understanding of international processes related to science, technology, innovation, and sustainable development.

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