Purdue University distinguished professor of agronomy and World Food Prize laureate Gebisa Ejeta has been appointed to the U.N. secretary-general’s newly created Scientific Advisory Board. The appointment by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon places Ejeta as the only agricultural scientist on the 26-member board. It is composed of internationally renowned scientists representing various fields of natural, social and human sciences.
The board will provide advice on science, technology and innovation for sustainable development to the secretary-general and executive heads of relevant United Nations organizations. Some key objectives will be to strengthen the link between science and policy and to ensure that the latest scientific findings are reflected in high-level policy discussions within the U.N.
Creation of the board was among recommendations of a high-level panel, which prepared a report on global sustainability in advance of the U.N. Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro Rio last year. “It is a great honor and responsibility to have the chance to work at the highest level of global science policy and diplomacy,” Ejeta said. “I will try to be a good ambassador of agricultural sciences to uphold the indispensability of food and agriculture, and to impart that feeding humanity sustainably in the foreseeable and unforeseeable future is the ultimate responsibility of all nations. I hope to make a difference.”
Ejeta received the 2009 World Food Prize for developing a drought- and disease-resistant sorghum. In 2011, Purdue created the Center for Global Food Security, of which Ejeta is executive director. Also that year, Ejeta received a presidential appointment to the Board for International Food and Agricultural Development. He also was appointed a science envoy for the U.S. State Department in 2010.