The 2nd International Conference on SDGs: Higher Education and Science Take Action, organised by GUNi took place on 5th & 6th March, 2020 in Barcelona. Dr. Rajesh Tandon, Founder-President of PRIA and UNESCO Co-Chair in Community Based Research and Social Responsibility in Higher Education, chaired the session on “Transforming Towards Sustainable Development: Integrating Effectiveness and Justice Considerations”.
Dr. Tandon shared that the growing inequality around the globe is a serious obstacle to the achievement of the SDGs. The current model of political economy, neo-liberalism and populist nationalism, according to him, needs to be changed radically. He also spoke about how there is a need for the individuals to stop chasing GDP growth and rising stock market, otherwise the good intentions and nice pictures would only produce “SDG-wash”.
With each SDG being interconnected to one another, the means of measuring progress in achieving each goal separately remains inadequate. Discussing the importance of Higher Education in this mission, he stated that with the structure of Universities being designed in silos, the joint action required to attain the SDGs by 2030 remains missing. He further emphasised that the youth are the agents of change and should push for changes in the structure of Higher Education Institutions.