This blog is part of a series highlighting the members of IsDB Engage's Scientific Advisory Board. The series will focus on the individuals that make up the board and their role in helping to shine a light on the importance of science, technology and innovation in sustainable development. This blog profiles Dr. Myrna Cunningham Kain.
Please introduce yourself:
My name is Myrna Cunningham Kain, I’m from the indigenous nation of Nicaragua, it’s a transboundary nation because we live in Nicaragua and in Honduras. I am the chair for the Centre for the Autonomy and Development of Indigenous Peoples, based in Nicaragua.
What is your role on the Scientific Advisory Board?
I am a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Islamic Development Bank. This role means that we review the applications that they have received from different parts of the world. They receive around 5,000 applications from almost 100 countries, the last part of the process is advisory board. We review each one of them, we grade them based on different criteria and this is what is presented to them for the approval.
Why is Engage important to you and what is your involvement?
The Sustainable Development Goals are a commitment by all of the member states that I represent at the UN, and I would say it’s a global effort to really reduce poverty and not to leave anyone behind. It is also an effort to really reach all of the different groups that are more marginalised. At the same time, it is a universal commitment to really bring all of the different segments in the world to a position in which everyone can live with dignity.
The Engage platform and the Islamic Development Bank have a policy to really support the implementation of the SDGs, especially related to the 6 SDGs we support and our role as the advisory board is to really ensure that the best applications are the ones that will receive either a grant or support from the Islamic Development Bank. This is very important because if there is no affirmative action it will be very difficult for the different countries in the world to really implement the SDGs.
Why should people apply for the Transform Fund/ sign up to Engage?
People should apply because it is an opportunity. It’s one that I would say may be the only possibility that a lot of young scientists have in the world to really receive support to start an idea and innovation that can develop later to reach a larger group. Not only in their countries, but in other parts of the world. So I think it is very important to apply - it is very open, there are no restrictions when we are reviewing cases and of course one of the things we try to do in the advisory board is to really ensure that there are opportunities in different countries of the world.
Which of the 6 SDGs that Engage supports is most important to you?
All of the SDG’s complement one another and of course if you only try to implement one you will not be able to ensure sustainability and development. But for marginalised communities, the SDG related to health is very important. The SDG related to gender and inequality is also very important. From indigenous people’s perspective, we have been highlighting the SDG relating to energy because we believe that if you can ensure resources in the hands of the community that covers energy, that can address education, health and a lot of the other SDGs.