IBERO-AMERICAN CONFERENCE ON THE SDGs
We are promoting the fulfilment of the UN's SDGs
The University of Salamanca, the Polytechnic University of Madrid and Iberdrola organised the 1st Ibero-American Conference on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which took place in Salamanca between 27 and 29 June 2018 and involved over 400 international representatives.
The event, which was organised as part of the celebrations for the 8th Centenary of the University of Salamanca, was conceived with the aim of stimulating debate to reach a collective agreement to drive the changes needed to meet the UN's 2030 Agenda Sustainable Development Goals in the Ibero-American region.
Given that such profound and complex transformations can only be tackled by working together, this commitment took the form of a large multi-stakeholder alliance. This alliance — which was formed around adherence to the Declaration of Salamanca — goes beyond the conference itself and will be joined by governments, public and private institutions, companies, universities and citizens, the real catalysts of change.
"Action from everyone is essential and must start now”, the Chairman of Iberdrola, Ignacio Galán, remarked during his speech at the opening ceremony of the Conference. Galán stressed that the SDGs constitute 17 "essential levers" which guarantee that humanity has a sustainable future, while also recalling that achieving them is a task for everyone, including the "private sector, which needs to make a fundamental contribution to this common effort". Ignacio Galán also explained how Iberdrola has really taken on board the commitment to comply with the 2030 Agenda: "We can say that the SDGs are part of our DNA".
The Sustainable Development Goals are part of our DNA
The Chairman of the company announced that by 2030 Iberdrola will bring electricity to 16 million vulnerable people currently living without it in emerging or developing countries, through the use of modern forms of energy which use environmentally sustainable models. This new objective is part of the Electricity for all program, set in motion by Iberdrola in 2014 with the initial goal of guaranteeing the electricity supply to four million vulnerable people in developing countries by 2020, a goal fulfilled two years ahead of schedule. The 12 million new beneficiaries of this program will in the main come from Brazil and Mexico.
IBERO-AMERICAN CONFERENCE OBJECTIVES
The 1st Ibero-American Conference on the Sustainable Development Goals brought together more than 400 participants from different areas (90 from Ibero-American universities, 90 from public institutions, 90 from the private sector, 90 from multilateral organisations and 50 students) with the following aims:
- Activate and mobilise the university community, especially students and academics.
- Generate useful knowledge products that will also serve to focus the topics and provide an incentive for speakers before and after the event.
- Position the event as one of the main events on the SDGs of 2018.
- Attract internationally renowned speakers.
- Provide continuity to the work undertaken and the relationships established once the Conference has finished.
The Conference brought together prominent figures, experts and activists from some fifteen countries and included interactive sessions and inspiring talks on specific projects. It was streamed live and broadcast over social networks. Parallel events also were held in the city, such as film screenings, concerts, exhibitions and guided tours.
MAIN THEMATIC AREAS OF THE CONFERENCE
When the Agenda 2030 was approved in September 2015, the international community acknowledged that education is key to successfully achieving the 17 SDGs. Without a global citizenship that is adequately educated in the knowledge and skills needed for the 21st century and in the associated values, it will not be possible to meet goals such as gender equality (SDG 5), decent work (SDG 8), reducing inequality (SDG 10), responsible consumption (SDG 12) or promoting justice (SDG 16).
In order to redesign education and achieve the future scenario for which the SDGs aim, it is necessary to create innovative educational patterns that respond to the challenges of the future, that adapt to different local contexts, but sum up at the global level, and that fully involve young and old in building the common good.
The Conference presented ideas, reflections, experiences and projects along these lines, which are already transforming realities and moving towards achieving the SDGs.
The environmental challenge is cross-cutting and underlies the whole of Agenda 2030: how can we, for example, achieve quality education, peaceful societies and gender equality without a healthy planet on which to enjoy all this?
Sustainable development does not just mean reducing consumption of raw materials, water and energy and promoting the reuse of waste and the circularisation of the economy, it is also necessary, at the same time, to restore damaged ecosystems.
To achieve these transformations there are three major challenges ahead:
- Educate ourselves in the transition towards responsible consumption.
- Develop technologies that allow more efficient use of resources.
- Generate the necessary governance systems so that solutions can be implemented where they are most needed.
The event brought together the views of different actors in society to address these challenges.
Innovation is referred to in SDG 9, along with industry and infrastructure, but it cuts across many of the goals. Innovation can contribute to:
- reducing hunger and poverty,
- improving our health and well-being,
- facilitating access to water and sanitation,
- providing more accessible energy,
- and promoting the development of more sustainable cities and communities.
We need to innovate if we are to achieve the inescapable transformation required by the SDGs. This need was discussed at the Ibero-American Conference.
Partnerships have been defined as the most effective mechanism for meeting the challenges of Agenda 2030. But organisations still have a lot of work ahead of them to adapt to these partnerships. However, the investment cannot be financial only. It is essential that institutional agreements be developed and that investment be made in pedagogy and in adapting cultures, language and perspectives.
The SDG Conference served to promote changes, agreements and cross-cutting perspectives, with a view to building mutual trust that will make it possible to create the necessary multi-stakeholder partnerships.
DECLARATION OF SALAMANCA
The commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals sought by the Ibero-American Conference was embodied in the so-called Declaration of Salamanca. It is an open document to which organisations and individuals of all ages and backgrounds can adhere in order to accept a number of general principles and assume institutional or personal responsibility for moving towards achieving the SDGs.
The signatories or allies are public institutions, universities, third-sector organisations and public bodies who are in a position to define measures to drive the social, environmental and personal transformation needed to achieve the SDGs.