Vice President Faisal Naseem highlighted on Sunday the need for aligning scientific research and policy development with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to drive progress towards the objectives of the SDGs. He made these remarks while speaking at the closing ceremony of the International Conference on Social Research and Innovation, organised by the Institute for Research and Innovation (IRI) of Villa College.

The Vice President noted that "Breakthrough to Excellence: Achieving a Networked Community" is a timely and important theme for the conference. He stressed that by collaborating with the international community, we can tackle the numerous and complex social challenges we face today, such as climate change, poverty, and inequality. He then highlighted the need for building a culture of sharing knowledge and expertise and finding innovative solutions to problems.

Underscoring the challenges of climate change in the Maldives, the Vice President laid out some of the most pressing climate-related issues, such as the high risk of sea level rise, extreme weather events, and coral bleaching. He then reaffirmed the administration’s commitment to mitigating the effects of climate change by investing in renewable energy, reducing reliance on fossil fuels, and investing in coastal protection measures.

The Vice President also spoke about some of the significant initiatives of the administration, including the Greater Malé Waste to Energy Project launched to convert waste into electricity and reduce reliance on imported fuel, efforts to improve education and build human capital, including the free degree programme, and the development of junior colleges and technical and vocational education and training centres across the country. He stated that these initiatives aim to equip today’s youth to become the future leaders of tomorrow.

The Vice President also noted the administration’s Gender Equality Action Plan, aimed at promoting gender equality in all areas of society, including education, employment, and health. He stressed that the policy was designed to drive progress towards a more sustainable and equitable future by aligning SDGs, scientific research, and policy development. Concluding his remarks, the Vice President called upon the youth to act now to protect our planet and future.

The annual International Conference on Social Research and Innovation (ICSRI) provides a platform for researchers, academics, students, and industry experts from various academic fields to showcase and disseminate their research findings, build networks, and engage in intellectual discussions and ideation processes.