8 July 2022 (view programme) is around the corner, and South Africa as a country is slowly building up momentum to this day on which the International Year of Basic Sciences for Sustainable Development (IYBSSD 2022) will be launched. The launch – which will take place at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) headquarters in Paris, France – will be accompanied by a conference, attended by Nobel prize winners, and esteemed representatives (scientists and ministers) from countries across the globe.  South Africa will be represented by Dr Blade Nzimande (Minister, DSI), Dr Phil Mjwara (Deputy General, DSI), Mr Thapelo Kepadisa (Assistant Director, DSI) and Ms Eudy Mabuza (SA representative in Brussels).

ASSAf – during the past two months – have been actively busy in creating awareness around IYBSSD 2022 through communicating information around this international year to stakeholders across South Africa. ASSAf further met with multiple stakeholders to further clarify what is expected from all.

In a nutshell: stakeholders are asked to demonstrate their support and participation through sending their organisational logos to iybssd@assaf.org.za. Then plan IYBSSD aligned events as one would plan any other annual organisational activities. Once these activities have been finalised, share more details through completing the online IYBSSD proposal form. This will allow ASSAf to endorse the event and add it to the UN IYBSSD calendar/schedule. Important is that the link between the basic sciences and the sustainable development goals must be clearly demonstrated when hosting/presenting activities. Organisations for whom activities have been endorsed are then requested to use the IYBSSD logo on all communication/marketing material which applies to the IYBSSD event.

So far, 49 organisations (of which 14 schools) have confirmed their active participation. The activities planned range from webinars, conferences and roundtables to planting vegetable gardens and theatre productions. Organisations from different sectors are encouraged to collaborate and to share resources. The year will only end in July 2023 with a closing event in Paris, and there is lots of time to get on board and participate!

ASSAf further had a successful meeting with the SADC Secretariat (Science, Technology and Innovation Programme) who committed to coordinate the regional IYBSSD response/programme along with the UNESCO Regional Office for Southern Africa. Please lookout for more details about the upcoming launch on 8 July 2022, which will be presented in hybrid format so all can join. We are looking forward to more universities, science entities, non-profit organisations and schools getting in touch to demonstrate their commitment and participation in IYBSSD 2022! Please stay up to date through following the news on the South African IYBSSD 2022 website at https://iybssd.africa/