The vice-chancellor of the university Pablo Navas, the Dean of the Faculty of Economics Juan Camilo Cárdenas, the coordinator of social and environmental sustainability in the Faculty of Business Administration Ximena Rueda, and emeritus professor of the Faculty of Business Administration Manuel Rodríguez Becerra were all in attendance.
When the conference had finished, the Universidad de los Andes and the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) announced their alliance to establish the Center for Sustainable Development Objectives (SDO) for Latin America and the Caribbean with an office at the Universidad de los Andes.
The SDO-LAC Center is part of the worldwide Sustainable Development Solutions Network, which includes the SDO Center for Africa (launched in 2016) and the SDO Center for south-east Asia (launched in 2017); this will be the first office in Latin America.
The initiative is supported by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), which is designed to be a regional hub for research and SDO training as well as public policies related to sustainable development.
“The SDO-SDG Center for Latin America and the Caribbean brings together experts from all over the region and the world from the public and private sector and civil society who are committed to working on the ambitious 2013 agenda that was adopted by the United Nations”, affirms Jeffrey Sachs, director of the SDSN.
Pablo Navas, the vice-chancellor of the Universidad de los Andes, highlighted that, “Uniandes is a world-class institution that has notable researchers and students who are committed to achieving sustainable development goals; this center will promote new opportunities that will bring our standard of excellence to new research, education, and policies with our allies throughout Colombia and the region to achieve our common goals.”
The activities the center undertakes will use the work that has been carried out by the IDB as a reference to make sure the SDO progresses. Luis Alberto Moreno, president of the IDB, commented that, “it is very important that all the actors, including the private sector and academic institutions, collaborate with governments and groups from civil society to achieve the sustainable development goals. I am proud of the IDB’s collaboration with Uniandes and the SDSN to found this Center as a platform to create successful strategies that motivate sustainable development throughout the Americas”.
The SDO Center for Latin America and the Caribbean
The four specific priorities of the SDO Center are:
To promote the Sustainable Development Goals in Latin America and the Caribbean through interdisciplinary research, and in doing so, unite universities in the region, the private sector, the government, and civil society.
Design and direct a research agenda related with education, innovation, infrastructure, inequality, sustainable cities, climate action, biodiversity, change of soil use, conservation, and peace.
Train a new generation of leaders in the region in sustainable development by offering high-quality executive training courses directed at students, professionals, civil servants, and policy leaders.
Work as a focal point for initiatives related to SDG 16 (Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions), especially to share knowledge and solutions in an attempt to prevent armed conflicts, the resolution of armed conflicts, reconciliation, maintaining and sustaining peace, and advances in sustainable development.
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) were agreed upon globally in 2015 as a framework for action and responsibility to guide the advance of sustainable development until 2030. The Center will focus on the most urgent development challenges in the region: SDG 4 (Quality Education), SDG 9 (Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure), SDG 10 (Reduced Inequalities), SDG 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities), ODS 13 (Climate Action), SDG 15 (Life on Land), and SDG 16 (Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions).
The creation of the center was announced by the vice-chancellor of the Universidad de los Andes Pablo Navas together with Jeffrey Sachs, the director of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network-SDSN as well as members of the university’s board of governors and academic council.
Sachs has also been director of the Millennium Project at the United Nations and special advisor to Ban Ki-Moon, the Secretary General of the United Nations, on the Millennium Development Goals: the international agreements to reduce extreme poverty, hunger, and disease.
He has worked as advisor to several South American governments such as Bolivia, Argentina, and Venezuela as well as to several European (including Poland, Yugoslavia, and Russia) Asian and African governments. He is recognized as an expert in serious and difficult economic crisis situations. He works with international agencies (World Bank, International Monetary Fund, etc.) in the fight to reduce poverty.
He was on the list of the one-hundred most influential people in the world in Time magazine.