The 2nd GUNi International Conference on SDGs and Higher Education analyses how higher education institutions and their communities are taking action to achieve the 2030 Agenda
· The 2nd GUNi International Conference on SDGs and Higher Education put the Agenda 2030 at the centre of the work of higher education institutions towards sustainable development and social transformation.
· The Conference counted on the participation of over 230 attendees from all over the world.
· One of the outputs of the event will be a report with articles on the topics discussed at the Conference to share with those interested in the development of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs implementation. The Report will be available in digital format on the GUNi website.
A clear message has been drawn at the 2n GUNi International Conference on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Higher Education and Science Take Action: today more than ever, collaboration in interdisciplinary education and cooperation among higher education institutions from all over the world is needed in order to achieve the UN’s goals.
The Conference gathered 230 international participants at Universitat Pompeu Fabra Campus Ciutadella in Barcelona on the 5th and 6th March 2020 to discuss ideas for action, innovative research strategies and creative projects and programs which are already taking place in different regions of the world at the local and global level.
At this 2nd edition of the Conference, GUNi has not only attracted senior academics from different countries and from diverse knowledge and fields, but also courageous students and student organizations that are already taking action in the field of SDGs.
The line-up of speakers was composed by Phil Baty (Times Higher Education), Ellen Hazelkorn (Technological University of Dublin), Thomas Jorgensen (European University Association), Eeva Furman (Environment Policy Centre of the Finnish Environment Institute SYKE), Alice Ochanda (UNESCO Regional Office for Eastern Africa), Birgitte Feiring (Danish Institute for Human Rights) and Daniella Tilbury, the commissioner for sustainable development for the Government of Gibraltar. The 2n GUNi International Conference on Sustainable Development Goals also counted on four keynotes speeches, an open debate, eleven parallel sessions, a speed-dating sessions with fourteen presentations and two poster sessions with eighteen posters each one.
GUNi’s president and rector of Universitat Rovira i Virgili, María José Figueras, highlighted that “Universities are undergoing major changes, which involve the need to deal with big challenges when it comes to thinking about the present and future of our planet and societies. Higher education institutions are contributors to the public good”.
Josep M. Vilalta, GUNi Director and Executive Secretary of the Catalan Association of Public Universities (ACUP), put the emphasis on the key role of universities in the achievement of SDGs. Most of the participants and speakers agreed that a radical transformation is needed and the role of universities in this process cannot be a passive one. Universities were called to become a trigger of change, standing at the center of the debate and moving actors towards action. Only through the effective collaboration between governments and public agencies, universities and research centers, enterprises and NGOs the implementation of the SDGs will be a reality.
One of the outputs will be a report with articles on the topics discussed at the conference to share with the GUNi membership and networks, policymakers and those interested in the development of the 2030 Agenda. The publication will be part of the long-term GUNi SDGs project by which GUNi wants to be one of the leading spaces for research, debate and reflection on the implementation of SDGs. The Report will be available in digital format on the GUNi website.