Following a kickoff meeting in Pretoria (October 2018), an Africa office for Future Earth is in the process of becoming operational.
The office is hosted by the National Research Foundation of South Africa and has a Southern Africa regional remit, with the possibility of eventually having a continent-wide remit. The office is currently conducting an internal consultation with relevant South African universities and government units to develop an operational strategy and to inform the development of an MoU with the Future Earth Secretariat.
In May 2018, the National Research Foundation of South Africa and the South African Department of Science and Technology co-hosted, with Future Earth, a major conference on the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The conference, Seedbeds of Transformation: the role of science with society and the SDGs in Africa, took place in Port Elizabeth, South Africa and brought together over 300 (mostly African) participants from research, government, civil society, private sector and the arts. The conference explored the themes of 1) Understanding Trajectories of Change related to the state of knowledge of present trends and future trajectories; 2) Traversing Critical Challenges for understanding what ‘working towards the SDGs’ means in the diverse contexts of Africa; and 3) Creating Momentum that identified opportunities to advance African perspectives and priorities for SDG efforts on the continent.