Professor Nyovani Madise is a member of the international group of scientists to write the United Nations 2023 Global Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) report. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres picked her to be among the 15 distinguished scientists who will write the SDGs. Our reporter LLOYD CHITSULO spoke to her.
Nyovani is the current director of research and development policy and head of the Malawi office of the African Institute for Development Policy which has its headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya.
She is thrilled to be appointed among some of the world’s best scientists to draft the global sustainable development report.
“I am very happy to be nominated to do this important and global report which will give guidance to countries on how to accelerate achievement of the SDGs [sustainable development goals],” she said.
Nyovani also feels satisfied to have been appointed as the process was fair, having submitted her curriculum vitae (CV) following a request for nominations for scientists.
According to a statement published on the UN website, the scientists through the report will inform the follow-up and review of the 2030 agenda for sustainable development and the sustainable development goals (SDGs).
Reads the statement in part: “The report aims to strengthen the science policy interface and to serve as a strong evidence-based instrument to support policymakers in promoting poverty eradication and sustainable development.
“The next global sustainable development report will be published in 2023, feeding into the high-level global review of the 2030 agenda at the United Nations in September of that year.”
The statement states that the appointments were done following thorough consultations and has since incorporated scientists from a diverse background.
Among the countries where some of the scientists have been selected include Trinidad and Tobago, Qatar, Russia, Botswana, Senegal, Japan, Australia, Peru, Philippines, China, Sweden, India, Germany and Canada.
Her accolades do not end here.
According to Wikipedia, Nyovani has over 100 peer-reviewed publications on the social determinants of health in the specific areas of maternal and child health, HIV and Aids, adolescent sexual and reproductive health, food security, and nutritional status.
In her current role, her focus is on promoting the use of evidence in decision-making in the public sector (where she is working with researchers and policymakers on effective strategies for policy engagement) and supporting countries to evaluate their progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals.
A former professor at the University of Southampton, Nyovani completed her undergraduate degree in Mathematics at University of Malawi in 1983 and later moved to the United Kingdom where she pursued a Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in social statistics at the University of Southampton.
An adviser to the World Health Organisation (WHO), she received an honorary higher degree from the University of Aberdeen in 2016 in recognition for her work in research on Africa’s healthcare system.
She served on the WHO Strategic Advisory Group on Malaria Eradication, WHO advisory group which developed guidelines for a rights-based approach to family planning; and also served on a large number of UN advisory groups including review groups for International Conference on Population and Development, Sustainable Development Goals and others.
Apart from working as a lecturer at the University of Malawi and senior research scientist at the African Population and Health Research Centre in Kenya, Nyovani has also held other key senior positions in various institutions including Southampton.
She has, among others, been associate dean research in large, deputy head of school, university lead for equality diversity and inclusion, director for public policy and director of the centre for global health, population, poverty and policy at Southampton.
In addition, she also sits on advisory committees such as Department for International Development (DfID), Economic and Social Research Council, Medical Research Council and Research Council Norway, among others.
She has also previously served on the Wellcome Trust Public Health and Tropical Medicine Interview committee and UK Commonwealth Scholarship Commission.
Nyovani has advised many governments including Botswana, Kenya, Malawi, Mauritius, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, and the UK. She is a trustee on several boards.