Global University Network for Innovation (GUNi)
- Date submitted: 2 Nov 2011
- Stakeholder type: Major Group
- Submission Document: Download
- Additional Document:
GUNi'S INPUT FOR RIO+20
Input on UNCSD Compilation Document
1. Expectations of Outcome: What are the expectations for the outcome of Rio
+20, and what are the concrete proposals in this regard, including views on a
possible structure of the Outcome document?
In the Outcome Document, two key aspects for the construction of sustainable
development should appear: the role of knowledge and its use, and the role of
education in the construction of a sustainable future for humanity and the planet:
- The Role of Knowledge:
We are on the verge of a change in the model of civilization, which cannot be
constructed from the old paradigms of a system which has already met its
limits. Sustainability involves the development of a new culture that attributes a
different kind of value to knowledge and that questions the assumptions on
which we are sustaining the comprehension of the world and the human
dynamics in it.
The major contribution of higher education to sustainability is the co-creation of
pertinent knowledge for the understanding of reality, and of doing it with
anticipation so as to play a proactive and committed role in the transformation
and positive change of societies.
The role of higher education as agents of social transformation and how its
visions and actions could be re-oriented towards a new understanding of
knowledge, broadening the scope of the use of knowledge in society to facilitate
the emergence of better and positive contributions to global human
Renew thought for society: break the conformity of thought by proactively
criticizing the world of ideas. Transform the paradigms and beliefs established
in social, economic and political systems, how we organize our community and
how this is reflected in our education systems.
Analyze the ethical, social and environmental implications of the advance of
knowledge: Increase the resources invested in analyzing the impact of science
and technology and augment the capacity to absorb their expansion, in all
aspects of human life.
- The role of Education:
Education is the key for change: sustainable development is a learning process,
a way how people is prepared to live and to understand the world they live in.
Rethink how we prosper, specially how we do it collectively and then we have to
reconsider how we are educating and for what purpose. Now is the moment to
widen the scope of education and research in society and to move beyond
creating socio-economic wellbeing towards the transformation of society as a
whole and the creation of a sustainable global community.
2. Comments on Existing Proposals: What are the comments, if any, on existing
proposals: e.g. a green economy roadmap, framework for action, sustainable
development goals, a revitalized global partnership for sustainable
development, or others?
HEIs can contribute to a green economy and to sustainable development goals by
providing the lessons learnt by its research, through the training of the professionals of
the future, and by introducing technological advances.
Experiences and lessons learned: provide solutions through research and
through higher education experiences on sustainable development.
Democratize access to knowledge and research: provide open access to expert
knowledge, making it as useful as it can be for international organizations, UN
system, governments, civil associations and citizenry. Move to the idea of
socially relevant knowledge as human heritage.
Networking and research for local needs and global challenges: Cooperation
and co-creation of knowledge and technology. Local needs require local
proposals in global frameworks, and global challenges require global solutions
that are locally acceptable. However, global solutions can come from local
experience and vice versa. Explore how to link scientific research and political
decision making related to collective well-being.
- Training and development of professionals that can lead the shift towards
Go beyond educating professionals to educating citizens: The mision of higher
education is to prepare critical professionals, with ethical awareness and civic
commitment. Know how to contribute to the common good through professional
practice. Educate for glocality, democracy, citinsehip, intercultural dialogue and
relations, peace building, sustainability, global social justice and a deep
understanding of life’s dynamics. Make links with previous levels of education.
Introduce complexity, uncertainty and transdisciplinarity in the training and in
research, towards a holistic vision of reality. Link different areas of knowledge in
order to understand complex issues and find solutions to the great problems in
the local and global context.
Incorporate sustainability in the creation of technology: shift paradigms from
individual competitiveness, economic profitability and a short-term focus to the
collective, with social and human benefits and sustainable in the long term.
3. Views on Implementation: What are the views on implementation and on how to
close the implementation gap, which relevant actors are envisaged as being
involved (Governments, specific Major Groups, UN system, IFIs, etc.)
It is necessary to shorten the time in which knowledge reaches society. The
democratization of knowledge and education must bring better decisions and actions
based on a suitable use of knowledge.
The access to education and specially to higher education is an indicator of human
development and there is a co-relation between education and the eradication of
poverty (source: GUNI Reports on Higher Education in the World).
4. Implementation Tools and Timelines: What specific cooperation mechanisms,
partnership arrangements or other implementation tools are envisaged and
what is the relevant time frame for the proposed decisions to be reached and
actiond to be implemented?
Open up to society: proactive engagement in dialogue with citizens and the rest of
social, cultural and economic stakeholders. Create a true knowledge-based society
through engagement with society as a whole. Provide a plurality of expert advice in
dealing with green economy, poverty and the sustainable development goals.
The creation of real partnerships for the co-creation of knowledge and answers to
problems and to co-create visions for the future. Partnerships between higher
education institutions (at all levels or scales), partnerships with the community
stakeholders, and partnerships with governements, NGOs, civil associations, etc.
Become cosmopolitan centres of global culture: build bridges between different
cultures and sources of knowledge. Knowledge is no longer produced exclusively by
and consumed within universities. Instead, their task should be to connect different
kinds of knowledge, forging links between knowledge and citizenship.
The Role of Tertiary Education
HEIs can play a significant role in building a sustainable paradigm. They may help in
facing local and global challenges, facilitating society to answer major global
challenges. Their vision and action could be reinforced with a role review towards the
creation and distribution of socially relevant knowledge in education and research and
in the relationship with communities. They can support, and even anticipate, ways for
action to play a proactive and committed role in rebuilt societies.
Higher education can prepare people to handle complex realities in a simple way and
they should integrate emotional abilities with instrumental and knowledge related
abilities. They can train people to learn to learn; to fully understand auncertainty and
change; to handle a vast and complex universe of data from many sources and of of
many different natures; and to discriminate between information, knowledge and
wisdom. They can train people to understand what we are, what we are like and how to
be, both as individuals and as a group, and to manage their own education and
development troughout life. It is an education based on the development of the
individual. It is about learning to be, to know, to do, to live together and to transform
oneself and society. All this implies personal, family and societal well-being; respecting
and searching for knowledge and wisdom; engagement in productive work and
recreation; social justice and cohesion; inter-cultural and international co-operation and
peace; food security; active citizenship; futures thinking; responsible lifestyles; sharing
of resources; and adaptability.