July 19, 2022

“Higher Education Institutions for sustainability”: cross-cutting cooperation needed to address sustainability challenges in the region



On July 6th, 2022, UNIMED organised a webinar on “Higher Education Institutions for sustainability: what universities do and can do to lead the sustainability in their territory”, in the framework of two EU-funded projects it is involved in, UNI-ECO (Erasmus+ SP) and Urban Transports (Interreg MED).

The first session, devoted to “A multi-stakeholders’ engagement in developing the sustainability and resilience of Euro-Mediterranean territories”  featured the contributions of Marcello Scalisi, UNIMED Director, Henriette Stöber, Policy Analyst at the European Universities Association (EUA), the Director of MedCities Oriol Barba, and Flora Leroy, Project and Policy Officer at the Conference of Peripherical Maritime Regions (CPMR).

The speakers underlined how Higher Education Institutions have to act and interact among them and with other local, regional and international players (municipalities and other territorial authorities, business companies, NGOs, civil society organizations), to accompany the transition towards sustainable development. This multi-stakeholders’ approach, where different actors join forces, is essential to address the several challenges that the Euro-Mediterranean region has to face in terms of environmental changes and sustainability.

In the second session, “Higher Education Institutions responsibilities and engagement in sustainable development”, the audience had the opportunity to hear the voice of Euro-Mediterranean representatives from the academic sector in the Netherlands, France, Italy and Palestine, sharing some best practises with regard to the role and responsibilities of the Higher Education Institutions in promoting and implementing sustainable development measures.

Patrizia Lombardi from Politecnico di Torino and President of the Italian University Network for Sustainable Development (RUS) pointed out why and how universities have to cooperate to contribute to the achievement of the SDGs. The experience of the UNI-ECO project was presented by Tiemen Wagenvoort, Community Coordinator of the Green Office at the Utrecht University, who highlighted the importance of involving the students in the definition and implementation of the sustainability practises at the university level, and by Frédérique Carcaillet, Vice President for Environmental Issues at University of Montpellier (UNI-ECO lead partner), who focused on the promotion of research and training for students to tackle ecological and societal transition. Imad Ibrik, Director of the Energy Research Centre of the An-Najah National University introduced some of the infrastructures and policies the University is implementing thanks to the support of cooperation initiatives such as the ENI CBC MED project Med-EcoSuRe.

The webinar was the occasion to underline once again that the Euro-Mediterranean region has common priorities and challenges, that can be tackled and solved only through cross-cutting cooperation among the relevant actors of the area.

The agenda is available here.

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