ASEA-UNINET Sustainability Workshop, 15-16 July 2017

Amid the growing imperatives for the academic and scientific community to contribute to achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, the ASEA-UNINET is organizing a sustainability workshop to be held on 15-16 July 2017 at the University of Music and Performing Arts Graz, Austria.

As the global community continues to grapple with growing insecurities and uncertainties – billions continuing to live in poverty, rising inequalities, conflicts, and glaring disparities in wealth and opportunity, amid climate change threats – the imperatives for sustainability become increasingly pronounced. Sustainability puts emphasis on managing and promoting socioeconomic development with full consideration of ecological limits. Essentially, it seeks to balance the three dimensions of sustainable development: the economic, social and environmental, creating inclusive societies. The 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, adopted at the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit on 25 September 2015, brings forth the challenge of achieving 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with 169 associated targets designed comprehensively to mobilize countries to improve the lives of people everywhere.

One of the key strategies devised to achieving the Agenda is through a revitalized global partnership that produces concrete policies and actions, mobilize financial resources, and facilitate capacity-building and transfer of technology, particularly toward addressing the needs and priorities in developing countries. Governments, international organizations, business and other non-state actors including the academia are expected to make contributions to strengthen the developing countries’ scientific, technological and governance capacities. However, amid numerous innovations and tools developed for sustainability, the complexity of concepts, dimensions, the inter-sectoral coordination and multi-stakeholder configurations that the framework entails, have exasperated practitioners and policy-makers. In particular, governments tend to disregard the framework amid continuing uncertainties and debates about the science of sustainability (i.e. of climate change) vis-à-vis immediate economic priorities. The academic community and intellectuals, policy experts and scientists are in a locus to offer pragmatic perspectives and courses of action to inform nation-states policy making to uphold the SDGs as a national priority toward a formulation of clear and concrete implementation strategies.

Against this backdrop, the ASEA-UNINET is organizing a sustainability workshop to be held on 15-16 July 2017, which constitutes as a prelude to the network’s Plenary Meeting on 17-20 July 2017 in Graz, Austria. The workshop aims to bring together sustainability experts and specialists across different scientific fields within the ASEA-UNINET network to conceptualize an integrated sustainability framework, which the network can pursue.

The three main objectives of the workshop are:

  • To take stock on where we are as a network in terms of contribution to the sustainable development agenda. We will assess how responsive are we to this global challenge to meet the SDGs, identify strengths and gaps in our scope of work.
  • To reflect on how we can position sustainability as a forefront of academic linkages among our members. Most crucially, we will identify pathways for program expansion within the sustainability agenda and deliberate on the trajectory of programs, projects and collaborations. We will explore and deliberate the vision, key themes and agenda to be considered as focus programs for the network.
  • To prepare the content and program for the ASEA-UNINET Plenary Meeting Working Groups on the topic of sustainability.