Philip Dearden, Head of CIDT, presented a session entitled ‘Thinking Globally – Acting Locally’ at this year’s Going Global 2017 Conference in London. Click the image to the right to download the presentation. Going Global is a British Council conference for leaders in international education to debate the future of further and higher education. Attended by 900 people, from 350 institutions, from some 80 countries the theme of this year’s conference was Global Cities: Connecting talent, driving change.
Phil spoke on the theme ‘Sustainable Cities: the Development Challenge’ – alongside Professor Tade Akin Aina, the Executive Director, Partnerships for African Social and Governance Research (PASGR) Kenya. Both speakers talked about the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which address the world’s most challenging issues, and have been welcomed globally. Profs. Aina and Dearden noted that SDG indicators are being finalised and progress now being reported on by a number of agencies.
— Nicole Kaijser (@NicoleHardaker) May 23, 2017
In his presentation Phil explained that the SDGs are universal and cover all countries including the UK. He stressed the important role of both Businesses and Universities in delivering the SDGs. He also importantly noted a perceived ‘accountability gap’ regarding domestic SDG implementation in the UK. Phil has spent his career working in international development. In this session however he presented a case study of the University of Wolverhampton, a post 1992 regional university located in challenged city areas of the UK. He noted that the University’s role as both an economic and social anchor locally and regionally is growing in significance. Four current university initiatives were presented and mapped across the corresponding SDGs:
- ASPIRE to Higher Education. This focused programme is aimed at encouraging the raising of aspirations of youngsters in the most deprived areas and sparking their interest in Higher Education and hence access to better life opportunities.
- Springfield Regeneration Programme. This ambitious £100m programme aims at regenerating a derelict inner city into a new campus area and producing new highly skilled graduates for the local and regional job market. See video below.
- A UNESCO Learning City/Region. The university has the strategic endorsement of the local authority to progress this overarching collaborative proposal of building a ‘Learning City’ by engaging with developing sectors, small business community and the voluntary sector; and through partnerships ensure that the university acts as a window on a wider richly diverse world.
- A new Institute for Community Research and Development (ICRD). The new institute will provide a focus for local and regional research and development activities.
In conclusion Phil noted the importance of the SDGs in the UK and then examined the current challenges of moving the SDGs from Global to Local making them ‘Glocal’. He stressed the importance of taking these ‘Glocal’ ideas and sharing them with each other. He also stressed the need for both SDG accountability and reporting in the UK and the use of open data to allow citizens to participate. “These Sustainable Development Goals cannot be delivered without businesses. They’re not owned by governments. They’re driven by businesses. And universities are crucial” Professor Philip Dearden, Head of CIDT