Representatives of ten African National Young Academies (NYAs) had the opportunity to meet and engage with each other at the Académie nationale des sciences, arts et lettres du Bénin (ANSALB) in Cotonou, Benin, in November 2018.

This informal meeting focussed on encouraging young scientists and academies to support the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) more effectively. During the meeting it was noted that although some of the activities undertaken by the different NYAs addressed some of the goals, deliberate action is required to engage more actively with the country-respective voluntary national review processes.

A call was also made to engage with other partners such as the International Science Council (ISC), who provide input into the United Nations High-Level Political Forum (HLPF).

Representatives from the InterAcademy Partnership (IAP), who had held a workshop on SDG engagement by science academies in September 2018 in Nairobi, Kenya, also attended the NYAs meeting to augment the recommendations from the report produced at that meeting.

The NYA representatives also attended the 14th Annual Meeting of African Science Academies (AMASA ‘14) which was hosted by the National Academy of Benin and co-organised by the Network of African Science Academies (NASAC) and the Nigeria Academy of Science (NAS). The theme of the AMASA’14 conference was ‘Sustainable development in Africa: the role of young and senior science academies’.

In addition, the African NYAs meeting also provided an opportunity to meet with and congratulate the Benin Young Academy which had been newly formed. In general, there are few opportunities for African NYAs to meet regularly, due to lack of permanent funding, so this opportunity to meet in Benin was highly appreciated by the NYAs. Travel support was provided by the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) and the informal meeting led by the South African Young Academy of Science (SAYAS).