Rhodes scientist bowled over by appointment to UN panel

WORLD-renowned Rhodes University scientist and professor Tebello Nyokong has been appointed to a United Nations science and technology advisory panel.

She is the only South African on the panel, which pairs five men and five women from least developed countries (LDC) with more affluent development partners. The panel is to advise on organisational and operational aspects of a proposed technology bank and science, technology and innovation supporting mechanism for LDCs.

The UN said its secretarygeneral, Ban Ki-moon, had asked the panel to prepare practical recommendations that would accelerate structural transformation and sustainable development.

"The high-level panel is constituted in response to a request to the secretary-general by the General Assembly, during its 68th session, to establish a panel to examine the scope and functions of the proposed technology bank, its organisational aspects and its institutional linkages with the United Nations."

Nyokong was bowled over by the appointment, but said it confirmed her belief that Rhodes was a leading university. "To know that the office of the UN secretary-general even knows that I exist was such a huge surprise and a great honour. "This gives me hope that I can meaningfully be involved in mechanisms for establishing a science and technology base in Africa."

She said she had a clear picture of the challenges facing African science research and technology development and hoped being on the panel would be a start for her becoming part of the solution.
Nyokong hopes to highlight problems in poorer countries and suggest solutions. "The team I will be working with includes people with vast experience in science and technology policy. I am more on the grassroots dealing with students."

She said it was good to have such a diverse group working together. "I am excited. It is the innovation part I am excited about."

The panel will hold its first meeting in February and submit a report to Ban Ki-moon next year.

Article by: David Macgregor

Article source: Daily Dispatch