Sir Gordon Conway, Chief Scientific Adviser to the British Department for International Development (DfID), participated in the Clean Energy Forum, hosted by Wits University on 18 March 2008.
Key representatives from government, academia, industry and civil society were invited to participate in the Forum, at which Conway outlined the DfID?s current approach to climate change mitigation at the global level and the opportunities that exist in terms of new clean technologies.
The Forumdiscussed whether there is a demand for clean energy and a climate change mitigation programme and if so, what the most appropriate way would be to spend some of the DfID funds available. The objectives of the programme are to assist the region to respond to the current energy shortage through becoming more energy efficient and to promote a reliance on clean energy technologies. Italso aims to help the region contribute to avoiding climate change through the mitigation of carbon emissions whilst maintaining growth. The Forum also identified existing gaps and programmes that could be supported by the DfID.
The Forumalso exploredinnovative ideason how to leverage additional money towards these objectives and innovative ways to maximise impact in the region.
Sir Gordon Conway took up his appointment as the DfID?s Chief Scientific Adviser in January 2005. He was educated at the Universities of Wales (Bangor), Cambridge, Trinidad and California (Davis).. From 1970 to 1986, he served as Professor of Environmental Technology at Imperial College, London. During this period he lived and worked in many countries in Asia and the Middle East.
He then directed the sustainable agriculture programme of the International Institute for the Environment and Development in London before becoming a representative of the Ford Foundation in New Delhi from 1988 to 1992. He was subsequently appointed as the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sussex and Chair of the Institute for Development Studies from 1992-1998.
Prior to joining the DfID, Sir Gordon Conway served as president of the Rockefeller Foundation from 1998-2004. He has a number of honorary degrees, is an honorary fellow of the Institute of Biology and a fellow of Imperial College, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Royal Society.
Conway also delivered a public lecture entitled Africa and Climate Change: known knowns, known unknowns, and unknown unknowns at the Chalsty Centre last evening.