Shirin Malekpour Monash UN appointment

Dr Shirin Malekpour, a senior lecturer at the Monash Sustainable Development Institute (MSDI), has been selected by UN Secretary-General António Guterresto to be part of the Independent Group of Scientists that will draft the UN’s 2023 Global Sustainable Development Report (GSDR).

Dr Shirin Malekpour is the only Australian among 15 world-leading scientists appointed by the United Nations to advise the UN on global sustainable development.

The GSDR is the peak scientific input to the UN on global progress on the UN’s 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The 2019 GSDR, The Future is Now: Science for Achieving Sustainable Development, has received considerable global attention, and is influencing the work of the UN and others.

Dr Malekpour said she was very excited to be part of an impressive group of scientists shaping the next GSDR.

“The fact that the first Australian scientist appointed to the group is a Monash academic is a testament to Monash’s track record in sustainable development research and education, and an incredible recognition of MSDI’s leadership on SDG action,” Dr Malekpour said.

“I am hoping to leverage my UN appointment to influence the public debate and mobilise actors from academia, governments, businesses and civil society in Australia and our region around SDG action. We know that we cannot achieve the SDGs without transformative action across different levels of society. And we have a small window of opportunity to do that.” 

Dr Malekpour is a social scientist with expertise in strategic planning and governance for sustainable development, and has previously worked on water and wastewater projects in Africa and the Middle East. In 2018, she was named one of the world’s top 25 young scientists in the field of sustainable development.

Monash University Provost and Senior Vice-President Professor Marc Parlange said Dr Malekpour’s appointment represented a landmark moment in Australia’s endeavour to foster international collaboration on sustainable development.

Dr Malekpour has recently developed a research program at MSDI on localising the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The program tries to understand how the global SDG framework can be realised in different levels of society: in cities and urban spaces, in local and regional areas, and within sectors and organisations.

Dr Malekpour has an interdisciplinary background with a PhD in Environmental Sociology (Monash University – Australia), a Master’s Degree in Civil Engineering (Delft University of Technology – the Netherlands) and a Bachelor’s Degree in Chemical Engineering (the University of Tehran – Iran). Prior to her academic career, she has worked for 5 years in large water and wastewater infrastructure projects across Africa and the Middle East.

In 2018, Shirin Malekpour was recognised as one of the top 25 young scientists in the world in the field of sustainable development.

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