The first International Conference “Sustainable Development Forum” was held in the City Administration of Belgrade from 24th to 27th of February. The conference was organized by University Club for UNESCO, with the support of the city of Belgrade and the National Comission of the Republic of Serbia for Cooperation with UNESCO. The main topic of the forum was “The role of education and culture in the sustainable development agenda”.
The conference started with a welcome cocktail at the Assembly of the City of Belgrade on the 24th of February. Attendees were addressed by the Assistant Minister of Youth and Sport, Snežana Klašnja and by the chairman of the British-Serbian Chamber of Commerce, Sir Paul Judge.
The Sustainable Development Forum was officialy opened by Kosta Živanović – president of the University Club for UNESCO, Kori Udovički – Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Administration and Local Self-Government of the Republic of Serbia, Nikola Nikodijević – President of the City Assembly of Belgrade and Irena Vojačkova Solorano – United Nations Resident Coordinator in Belgrade.
The conference was held with notable success, both in terms of organization and related activities, and in terms of the quality of the panels and discussions. All of the speakers were representatives of public, private and civil sectors. In addition to local experts, we had guests and speakers from Great Britain, Netherlands, the United States of America, Mongolia, Italy, Greece, Albania, Morocco and Romania.
On the first day, a plenary lecture has been held by one of the biggest contributors of education in Europe, the founder of Judge Business School at the University of Cambridge and the alderman of the City of London, Sir Paul Judge. This was followed by discussion panels, which were amendments to the presentation. The focus of the panels was on formal education and sustainability in education, and education on sustainability. Also, there was a discussion on innovation, economics and entrepreneurship.
The second day was dedicated to culture and its essential role in pressing world problems. Culture has long exceeded the terms of museums and theaters, culture, culture is consisted of people, and people are main culprits of migration, environmental issues and climate change. The last part of the day 2 program was a round table, dedicated to global partnership. There were conversations about implementation of sustainable development goals, potential problems along the way and how to participate together in this new agenda.
Also, the forum had supporting programs in both days in the form of workshops :
- Growing a Green Spirit
- Zero Hunger App
This conference was a first of its kind in Europe, since the United Nations summit in New York in September 2015, where the 17 new sustainable development goals have been adopted for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The conference sparked a dialogue between the key implementers of the new sustainable development goals, representatives of public, private and civil sectors, and the young people who will be involved in the implementation process.
Conclusion and suggestions:
The conference has been able to cover 11 goals of the 2030 Agenda, through discussion panels, round tables and workshops. The general conclusion is that the participants are poorly informed about the objectives, primarily because the Agenda had been recently adopted. In the future, there should be efforts on raising awareness about the new goals and educate about every goal individually, in order to motivate future participants to implement those goals. It is expected that the conference should be repeated in the coming years, according to the needs and assessments each year.