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Seminar on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by Master’s in Contemporary Development of China, SSDPP-BNU

[2015-10-21]


International Students of Master’s program “Contemporary Development of China (CDC)” have participated in a seminar on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on 16th October which was organized by the School of Social Development and Public Policy (SSDPP), BNU. The seminar focused on the newly adopted global development goals, and a keynote speech was presented by Ms. Ren Mengying from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) office in Beijing, China. Ms. AI Xin, Deputy Director of International Students Office, and Ms. HAN Ruilian, Program Office of International Students Office, participated in the seminar as well.

 

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are the seventeen (17) new set of ambitious goals aimed at tackling poverty, hunger, climate change and other global problems for the next 15-years [25th September 2015 to 25th September 2030]. The SDGs which was formally adopted at the UN General Assembly by over 200 world leaders on 25th September this year replaced the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which came to an end on the same date after a 15-year period of implementation.

 

During the seminar, the Director of Master’s in Contemporary Development of China (CDC), Dr. Braven Qiang ZHANG, stressed the need for collaborative efforts in achieving the new sets of development goals between now and 2030. Giving a background introduction of the SDGs, Dr. ZHANG said “our ability as humans to care for ourselves [original needs] and care for others are important to achieving the SDGs,” adding “we should know how to work with others, believe and trust others as we all have diverse background, context, cultural difference and political systems.”

 

He noted that “imaginations and innovations will also help us cross our traditional boundaries in order to get to the same pathways.” Though, he said, China has created a miracle in her economy, there are still challenges in some development areas - especially how to deliver those social services with equality – an issue recognized by Dr. ZHANG as “a major problem”. In his presentation, Dr. ZHANG also encouraged students to be change makers and the pathway of development for their respective countries. “You should be creative in recognizing and narrating those real social issues”, he told the students, emphasizing that they should “believe in those powerful things and stand for them because we need more trust and time to show our creative ways of solving those problems.” Recognizing the difficult tasks ahead, Dr. ZHANG said: “It is not easy to answer for the future”, but “we need balance” – a balance he said was critical to getting the needed development results.

 

The Knowledge Sharing Officer of the Disaster Management Team of UNDP-China, Ms. Mengying Ren, who also addressed the students during the seminar, observed that China achieved most of the recently ended Millennium Developments Goals as highlighted in an official report by the State Council of China and UNDP office in China. Despite this progress, she observed that China still faces a major challenge in ‘Ensuring Environmental Sustainability’, one of the eight goals of the former MDGs. In her words: “China still has a lot to do with bio-diversity though she is a major achiever of the extreme poverty goals. She still has more to do with inequalities as rural urban poverty status still exists in parts of the cities and country.”

 

In respect to the new development goals, Ms. Ren emphasized that “the job is unfinished for millions of people around the world” and that “we need to end hunger, achieve the full gender equality, improve health services and get every child into school by 2030.” Achieving the new goals remains a major challenge for much of the world but Madam Ren said, the ‘hope’ is “to balance the three dimensions of Sustainability: economical, social and environmental development” to make the world a better place. With this, she was upbeat that “Yes, we can achieve those goals but what and how are we going to do it?” was her rhetorical question.

 

The seminar moderated by Dr.YANG Lichao was interactive as International Students asked many questions with some sharing their experiences in the context of development from the perspectives of their respective countries. The students also applauded the work of UNDP in many countries around the world and recommended that the UNDP put into place strong monitoring system to properly track the implementations of programs for greater achievements and impacts on the targeted beneficiaries.

 

 

Written by: Pauline Munah Ponyene (MA student CDC 2015)

Picture by: Uni

 

 



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