Category Archives: [SDG04]

Sistemas Educativos para el Desarrollo Sostenible

En el 2001 en México, el Programa Nacional de Educación 2001-2006, resumía un sistema equitativo y de calidad, democrático, con legalidad y certeza jurídica. El Programa debía impulsar el desarrollo sostenible, con calidad educativa, derechos y obligaciones, base en la construcción de ciudadanía. La igualdad de oportunidades se tradujo en la inclusión social en educación para alcanzar la equidad social, igualdad política y reflejar la expansión del sistema. Estos objetivos son complejos y requieren evaluar sus resultados frente a los de un sistema educativo referente, democrático y con desarrollo sostenido (Suiza). La pregunta es,
¿en qué nivel, el Programa 2001-2006, lograó una política social para el desarrollo sostenible? Conjeturamos que al 2006, el sistema educativo mexicano no satisfacía la inclusión social para el desarrollo sostenible, y que quizás, esto se debía a la falta de flujos de fondeo gubernamental en todos los niveles educativos.

The Role of Educator Training for a Sustainable Future

A large number of documents regarding the role of higher education in the creation of a sustainable civil society were written during the last 50 years within the framework of international and world
conferences: Talloires (1990), Halifax (1991), Rio de Janeiro (1992), Swansea (1993) and so on.

Literature is also integrated by a high number of good practices developed in a series of universities around the world. These chose the challenge of sustainability as one of the main objectives to be
pursued in the short, medium and long term. At the same time, universities, colleges, research institutes and agencies are creating networks, computing platforms and partnerships in order to exchange
experiences, share achieved results and improve opportunities for cooperation and research (SALOMONE, 2013).

Higher education has one across-the-board objective when taking the sustainability challenge, that is educate and train all future teachers, decision makers, students, professionals, experts, company
employees and common people to embrace sustainable and environment-aware approaches, behaviors, lifestyles and consumption patterns. The world of higher education shall commit especially to creating environmental basic teaching processes and promoting practices related to environment ethics.

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Children as a Basis for Sustainable Development

Children are the basis for all dimensions of sustainable development. They have a right to thrive, develop to their full potential, and live in a sustainable world. As such, children should be at the center of the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals. Many argue that sustainable development challenges are integrated. Poverty reduction, health, education, agriculture and energy, gender equality and social inclusion, and development within planetary boundaries must be tackled together, and an inter-generational vision of societal development must underlie the goals in these areas. Without this vision, there will be no capacity for nations to bring about sustainable development.

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Enhancing the quality of African climate change science by investing in peer review capacity

Globally, climate change will bring “harder rains in a hotter climate” (Berg, et al., 2013). For African farmers, it will bring more erratic rainfall, more frequent and severe droughts in dry lands and savanna areas, and shifts in weather patterns that will alter the timing and length of cropping seasons (Niang, et al., 2014). Building resilience, enhancing climate change preparedness, and mainstreaming climate sensitivity need to become integral components of all agricultural and sustainable development planning in Africa (Hassan, 2010). Science must play a greater role in guarding against expected food shortages in Africa; many calls to that effect have been made in international discussions, including those hosted by United Nations bodies (Pearson, 2004; Poliakoff, 2011). Put simply, African scientists need to act quickly to re-do much of the existing, as well as new science about crops and livestock, the environment, and livelihoods for changed climate scenarios. Science based solutions are only considered credible by intended users if these are properly peer reviewed for the scientific merit.

So far, most of the peer reviewed climate change science about and for Africa has been undertaken by research programs funded and led by affluent countries; the resulting papers have generally been published in acclaimed journals located in developed countries. Thousands of journals address climate-related issues relevant to Africa, developed countries. Thousands of journals address climate-related issues relevant to Africa, but far too few such publications are actually located in the countries being discussed. Even African scientists tend to publish their peer reviewed science in the journals located in or managed by developed countries. Of the 450 online African journals, more than two-thirds originate from two countries: Nigeria and South Africa (Figure 1). Only nine other countries in the continent publish more than five open-access journals. This typifies the ecosystem of climaterelated peer reviewed scientific expertise within Africa.

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Transforming Higher Education for Sustainable Development

At the Rio+20 conference the cooperation between science and policy was highlighted. A full list of recommendations was given in the “The Future We Want” outcome document, expressing the need for strengthening the collaboration between science and policy as well as the necessity of fostering international research collaboration so as to support sustainable development of society in the near future (paras. 48, 85(k), 88(d), United Nations General Assembly, 2012). Serving the same purpose, yet via different means the call for education for sustainable development was highlighted. Capacity building and development of sustainability competences are crucial for the present and future generations in terms of their acting and interacting in a sustainable manner (paras. 62, 229-235, United Nations General Assembly, 2012).

Through their education, research, and operations roles, higher education institutions (HEIs) create a societal impact that shows a strong potential to act as leverage point for sustainable development locally and globally (Sedlacek, 2011). They can be seen as essential drivers of education for sustainable development (ESD) and constitute fundamental vehicles to explore, test, develop and communicate conditions for transformative change (Rammel et al. 2015). Yet, in order to be truly transformative, higher education needs to transform itself (Fadeeva et al., 2014a; Rio+20 Treaty on Higher Education, 2015). Therefore, international as well as institutional stakeholders are demanded to rethink HEI and support policies that foster a substantial change in higher education for sustainable development.

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Inter- and Trans-disciplinary Research: A Critical Perspective

Contemporary sustainable development challenges are complex, and tackling them demands cooperation between specialists with diverse backgrounds in both the natural and social sciences (Sillitoe 2004; Farrell 2011). There is growing recognition that new approaches and different types of expertise are needed to renew science, and among the most cited of these are the concepts of inter- and trans-disciplinarity research. In academic literature and in funding bids it is becoming increasingly common to mention the importance of bridging divides within academia as well as between scientific communities and the rest of society. While the creation of more spaces for science to engage with different publics and vice-versa is a laudable objective in itself, it is essential to take a closer look at what these concepts entail in order to better understand the challenges associated with these types of research.

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