24-hours of Happiness

On the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day (April 22nd) SDSN organized a 24-hour webinar: “Happiness and Sustainability Around the Earth”, consisting of six (6) sessions with more than 25 different topics covered.

SDSN Black Sea hosted the presentation: “Happy Cities: Strategies and applications in pursuit of urban wellbeing”, during which we tried to explore the interlinkage between wellbeing and urban environment.

Savvas Stroumpas, an active student of architecture was invited to present a part of his research thesis on social wellbeing and the ways of evaluating and strengthening it through urban planning and social interventions.

Savvas has actively participated in various programs such as TEDx (as a member of the organizing team of TEDx University of Patras), while for the past two years, his studies and research have been aimed at combining social sciences with urban design for a more sustainable way of living and a better quality of life.

The pursuit of happiness is the ultimate goal of man throughout the development of Western culture. Since ancient times, Aristotle spoke about these elements of the city and its regime that offer suitable conditions for its citizens to be happy. Today, growing concerns about the spread of mental illness in the Western world have led to the development of a variety of theories about the pursuit of a better quality of life in developed cities. From this reflection, the term “Happy Cities” has emerged, a term that investigates our understanding of happiness, and its possible connection with the urban planning and environmental characteristics of a city. The interpretations of happiness that have been rendered till the present day, along with recent developments in psychological and social research, comprise the core of this research. Subsequently, a novel combination of urban design and urban planning values is proposed, with the aim of the creation of a series of tools that promote social wellbeing in modern urban life.

You can watch our session here.

For more information about the webinar and the other sessions, please visit the webinar’s official site.

SDSN gathers leaders to discuss a regional strategy for the SDGs

Prof. Phoebe Koundouri, Athens University of Economics and Business and Co-Chair UN SDSN Greece, presenting SDSN initiatives at the Gala Dinner with Prof. Jeffrey Sachs, Director SDSN, and Mr. George Papandreou, President Socialist International, former Prime minister of Greece, and Mr. John Andrews, consultant editor, The Economist

On 16th and 17th October 2019, SDSN Greece and The Economist Events, supported by SDSN Black Sea, SDSN Mediterranean, and EIT Climate-KIC Hub Greece, organized the Third Sustainability Summit for South-East Europe and the Mediterranean, hosted by the Goulandris Natural History Museum. Since its inception, this Summit has developed into the main annual meeting of high-profile academics, innovators, politicians, policy makers, and civil society stakeholders in the South-East Europe and the Mediterranean, convening networks of expertise, mobilizing resources and influencing regional policy for the urgently needed sustainability transition. 

Representatives of government, public and private sector, and academia discussed the current status of SDG implementation in the region, emphasizing the challenges and opportunities related to migration and security, the impact of the blue and circular economy on growth, climate change, tourism, new partnerships, and current technological developments. For the full list of sessions please click here.

Prof. Andreas Papandreou of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, and Co-Chair UN SDSN Greece, opened the Summit emphasizing the importance of both grassroots action and science-based solutions, which are key to deal with Agenda 2030 challenges.

The 2-day event boasted high-level participation and valuable inputs from distinguished guests from all across the region. 

In the session on “Blue Economy and Circular Economy: Does it pay to do it sustainably?”, Greek Tourism Minister Harry Theocharis presented a new strategic plan for sustainable tourism which is meant to be developed directly and in consultation with the tourism industry. The country’s goal is for new tourism products to be in line with the Sustainable Development Goals, not burdening the natural environment. Achieving a sustainable tourism economy will have to rely on ‘green certifications’ and investments through EU funds allocated for that purpose, the minister noted.

Kostis Hatzidakis, Greek Minister of Environment and Energy, in his keynote speech stressed that the environment is not considered an individual political sector but as the filter through which every state policy should pass in order to be adopted. He also highlighted the importance of green investments, which are at the baseline of green economic growth.  

In the session on “Green-Blue Shipping and Sustainable Marine Resources Management”, the Greek Minister of Maritime and Island Policy, Mr. Ioannis Plakiotakis reported on a planned upgrade to the naval education to improve services in the shipping sector. He also presented a special working group the ministry is set to launch in order to promote gender equality and strengthen the role of women in shipping.

Referring to SDG 9, the minister reiterated the government’s commitment to the development of the country’s ports into true drivers of growth. In this direction, actions are being taken to speed up the utilization of 10 major regional ports.

Lastly, he went on to underline the importance of meeting SDG 14, which involves the careful management and protection of marine areas with regulations that will restrict overfishing, marine pollution and ocean acidification.

Prof. Angelo Riccaboni, Chair of SDSN Mediterranean, presented the Sustainable Development Report 2019 for the Mediterranean.

The Summit was also place to the launch of The Sustainable Development Report 2019 – Mediterranean Countries Edition, which included integrated contents and tables focusing on 23 Mediterranean countries. The Report shows that no Mediterranean country is on track to meeting all the Goals. The average value of the SDG Index (71.4) hypothetically locates the Mediterranean region around the 49th position of the world rank. Besides the good records for SDG 1 (countries are progressing well towards ending poverty), the Mediterranean area obtains the worst ratings of the index on SDGs 2 (Zero Hunger), 5 (Gender Equality), 9 (Industry Innovation and Infrastructure) and 14 (Life below Water). Among the measures required, consistent efforts must be addressed to improve policies and practices in the food sector, for instance, promoting sustainable agriculture and behaviors concerning diets and food waste; action is also needed for supporting and improving women integration at all levels of society; public and private investments addressed to SDG-oriented research and innovation must rise sharply in most countries, etc.

Original Post by UN SDSN.

Promoting Opportunities for Youth Engagement for the Sustainable Development Goals

SDSN Black Sea is happy to promote a special event organized by the Directorate of Geographical Policy and Strategic Planning (YDAS-3 Directorate/HELLENIC AID) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on “Promoting opportunities for youth engagement for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals”. The event will be held on Wednesday, 27 November 2019, 10:00-14:00, at “Yiannos Kranidiotis” amphitheatre (1, Akadimias Street, Athens).

The aim of the Event is to highlight youth’s view on policies, actions, legislation and initiatives that Greece could undertake, at national and global level, for the implementation of SDGs. The views of youth could feed into the National Action Plan for the implementation of SDGs.

You may find the Event’s very interesting programme by clicking here.

Professor Jeffrey Sachs, Global Director, United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network (UN SDSN) and Senior United Nations Advisor, visits Greece

Press Release by UN SDSN Greece and UN SDSN Black Sea

Professor Jeffrey Sachs, Global Director, United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network (UN SDSN) and Senior United Nations Advisor, visits Greece to mobilize the Sustainability Transition of the country and explore Aristotelian Epistemology and Ethics!

Hosting Networks: UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, Greeceand UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, Black Sea

Professor Jeffrey Sachs of Columbia University, a world-renowned Professor of Economics, Director of the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network, senior UN advisor, bestselling author, and syndicated columnist whose monthly newspaper columns appear in more than 100 countries, recently visited Greece together with , Dr. Sonia Sachs, Director, Health Sector, Centre for Sustainable Development. During his stay he attended a two week programme organized by UN SDSN Greece, co-chaired by Professor Phoebe Koundouri (Athens University of Economics and Business, President Elect of the European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, Director of EIT Climate KIC Greece) and Professor Andreas Papandreou (National and Kapodistrian University of Athens), and UN SDSN Black Sea, chaired by Professor Nicolaos Theodossiou, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.

On Thursday July 25th, 2019, he visited Thessaloniki, where he met and discussed with professors from Aristotle University of Thessaloniki working on Aristotle. During this interdisciplinary meeting Professor Sachs presented his proposal for the development of an economic model based on the principles of Aristotelian ethical philosophy. The meeting was attended by the Rector of the Aristotle University, Professor Pericles Mitkas, the new Rector of the Aristotle University, Professor Nikos Papaioannou, the Vice-Rector for Academic and Student Affairs Professor Ariadni Stogiannidou, the new Vice-Rector of Research Associate Professor Stratos Stylianidis, the Dean of the Faculty of School of Economics and Political Sciences, Associate Professor Gregory Zarotiadis, the Dean of the Faculty of Engineering Konstantinos Katsifarakis, the President of the Interdisciplinary Centre for Aristotle Studies of Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Professor Emerita Dimitra Sfendoni-Mentzou, and Professor Emeritus Ioannis Seiradakis, the Chair of SDSN Black Sea Professor Nicolaos Theodossiou, as well as professors from other related disciplines. You can find the relevant press release here.

On Friday July 26th, Professor Sachs was guided by the Ephorate of Antiquities of Hemathia to the ancient Macedonian city of Mieza and the School of Aristotle where the philosopher tutored Alexander the Great.

During the weekend (July 27thand 28th) Professor Sachs also visited Mount Athos after an invitation by His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch and met with government officials.

Professor Jeff and Sonia Sachs, with Professor Demetra Sfendoni-Mentzou and Professor John Seiradakis from the Interdisciplinary Center for Aristotle Studies, and Professor Nicolaos Theodossiou in front of the exact 1:1 replica of the Antikythera Mechanism.

Professor Jeffrey Sachs, one of the world’s leading experts on economic development and the fight against poverty, is developing an extremely interesting humanistic economic model, based on the principles of Aristotle’s ethics, as we find them in his treatises, Nicomachean Ethics and Eudemian Ethics.  He, thus, brings to the forefront a global interest in Aristotle, and expresses his willingness to support the goal of the Interdisciplinary Centre for Aristotle Studies of AUTH to promote the work of the Stageirite philosopher worldwide.

The multi-disciplinary panel discussing on Aristotle

From July 29th to August 2nd 2019 a Symposium titled “Neo-Classical Economics Reconsidered within Plato’s and Aristotle’s Epistemological and Ethical Framework” organised by UN SDSN Greece, co-chaired by Professor Phoebe Koundouri, Athens University of Economics and Business, and Professor Andreas Papandreou, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, and hosted at the historical library of the Aikaterini Laskaridis Foundation, courtesy of the Panos Laskaridis family.

The symposium was led by Professor Nikitas Pittis, University of Piraeus and Professor Jeffrey Sachs, Columbia University , while among the significant contributors were Professor Stelios Virvidakis, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Professor Yannis Ioannidis National and Kapodistrian University of Athens and Director of Athena Research and Innovation Center, Professor Phoebe Koundouri, Athens University of Economics and Business, Professor Andreas Papandreou, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Dr. Sonia Sachs, Director, Health Sector, Centre for Sustainable Development, Adam Sachs, author, Lydia Papadaki, researcher and Sotiris Drosis, researcher.

During the Symposium, Plato’s and Aristotle’s main theories have been revisited in order to assess their potential for reforming the Neoclassical Economics paradigm towards including Aristotelian Ethics. UN SDSN endeavors that this Symposium becomes an annual interdisciplinary academic event,  bringing together world experts that aim to develop an interdisciplinary framework based on Aristotelian Epistemology and Ethics, within in which the implementation of UN Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development will be facilitated.

Professor Jeffrey, Sonia and Adam Sachs, with Professor Nikitas Pittis, UNIPI, Professor Stelios Virvidakis, NKUA, Professor Phoebe Koundouri, AUEB, Professor Andreas Papandreou, NKUA, Lydia Papadaki and Sotiris Drossis and Katerina Lamprinou at the historical library of the Aikaterini Laskaridis Foundation.

The multi-disciplinary panel discussing on the main philosophical ideas of  Plato and Aristotle the historical library of the Aikaterini Laskaridis Foundation.

 

Jeffrey Sachs and his family being guided at the historical library of the Aikaterini Laskaridis Foundation.

During his stay Professor Jeffrey Sachs, Columbia University met with the Environment and Energy Minister Kostis Hatzidakis in order to discuss Greece’s shift to a sustainable development model. The focus of the meeting were the potential pathways, in which Greece can combine environmental protection with the attraction of significant investment and the creation of new jobs on a large scale.

The meeting was attended by Professor Phoebe Koundouri, Athens University of Economics and Business, Professor Andreas Papandreou, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Professor Yannis Ioannidis, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens and Director of ATHENA Research and Innovation Center, Dr. Sonia Sachs, Director, Health Sector, Centre for Sustainable Development, as well as the Secretary-General for the Environment and Water, Associate Professor Konstantinos Aravosis. You can find the relevant press release here, which was widely disseminated in all Greek mass media.

The meeting of Professor Jeffrey Sachs with Minister Kostis Hatzidakis

Lastly, Professor Jeffrey Sachs and selected seminar participants, were treated by Mr. Panos Laskaridis, President European Community Shipowners’ Associations,Laskaridis Shipping Company LTD and Lavinia Bulk Limited and Mrs Suzanna Laskaridis, Aikaterini Laskaridis FoundationLaskaridis Shipping Company LTD and Lavinia Bulk Limited at a dinner meeting, where discussions focused on Sustainability Transition of the Shipping Industry, in particular, and Sustainable Blue Growth, in general.

Related to these discussions, UN SDSN will launch during the 3rdSustainability Summit 16th-17th October, organized by The Economist and UN SDSN Greece, the 4-SEAS Sustainable Blue Growth Initiative: Mediterranean, Black Sea, Caspian and Aral Seas, as well as a Global Roundtable on Zero-Emission Ocean Shipping, including world-leading ship technologists, ship owners, ship builders and ports worldwide.

BUA 2019 CONFERENCE: Implementation of the UN 2030 Sustainable Development Goals in the Balkan Region: The Role of the Universities

“Implementation of the UN 2030 Sustainable Development Goals in the Balkan Region: The Role of the Universities” was the title of this year’s annual conference jointly hosted by the Balkan Universities Association (BUA) and  the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (AUTh) in April 16-18,2019, in Thessaloniki.

The main topics of the conference were:

  • Quality Assurance in Higher Education – International Accreditation
  • Sustainable Development
    Earth Observation Data – Societal Benefit Areas
  • European Projects / European Academic and Research Networks
  • The Impact of Universities on Local/Regional Economies
  • Modern Approaches on Agriculture and Forestry
  • Methods to promote University – Industry Cooperation

Prof. Nicolaos P. THEODOSSIOU, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Chair of the SDSN Black Sea ,  Prof. Rolf TARRACH, President of the European University Association  The European University Association: Α successful European knowledge hub , H.E. Amb. Michael B. CHRISTIDES, Secretary General of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization Regional Organizations as promoters of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): The case of the BSEC Organization , Prof. Pericles A. MITKAS, Rector, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki , Prof. Mircea DUMITRU, Rector, University of Bucharest , Prof. Erhan TABAKOĞLU, Rector, Trakya University , Prof. Vullnet AMETI, Rector, University of Tetova
Prof. Nicolaos P. THEODOSSIOU, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Chair of the SDSN Black Sea , Prof. Rolf TARRACH, President of the European University Association The European University Association: Α successful European knowledge hub , H.E. Amb. Michael B. CHRISTIDES, Secretary General of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization Regional Organizations as promoters of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): The case of the BSEC Organization , Prof. Pericles A. MITKAS, Rector, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki , Prof. Mircea DUMITRU, Rector, University of Bucharest , Prof. Erhan TABAKOĞLU, Rector, Trakya University , Prof. Vullnet AMETI, Rector, University of Tetova

ο  Πρόεδρος του Δικτύου SDSN-Black Sea, Καθηγητής Νικόλαος Θεοδοσίου
Prof. Nicolaos Theodossiou, Chair of the SDSN Black Sea

Professor Nicolaos Theodossiou, Chair of the SDSN Black Sea, represented the Network and talked about the “Challenges and the Opportunities of the Sustainable Development Solutions Networks”, highlighting the need for regional cooperation on the implementations of the Sustainable Development Goals.

ο  Πρόεδρος του Δικτύου SDSN-Black Sea, Καθηγητής Νικόλαος Θεοδοσίου
Prof. Jeffrey Sachs, Director SDSN, alongside with Prof. Nicolaos P. Theodossiou, Chair of the SDSN Black Sea

This need was also stressed out by Prof. Jeffrey Sachs, Director of the SDSN, who joint the conference via Skype. Sachs presented ways of implementing the Sustainable Development Goals in the Balkan Region and  emphasized the important role the Universities play in the implementation of the SDGs in general.

 

Baku Forum 2019

SDSN Black Sea is pleased to announce the Network’s participation in the Global Baku Forum, a high-level international conference hosted by the Nizami Ganjavi International Center (NGIC). Within the Forum’s framework, a joint meeting between the Executive board of the Black Sea Universities Network -BSUN and the Leadership council of the SDSN Black Sea will be held on March 17th, regarding “Education, Science and Innovation for supporting the Implementation of the SDGs in the Wider Black Sea Region”.

BSUN-SDSN Joint meeting

Third Edition of Progressing National SDGs Implementation

“Progressing National SDG Implementation” is the third in a regular series of reports commissioned by civil society. It documents and analyses the 46 English, French, Spanish and Arabic Voluntary National Review (VNR) reports submitted in 2018 to the UN’s High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF).

The report identifies ten key pillars that we believe are essential to the effective implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It also recognizes emerging good practice and sets out a range of conclusions and recommendations with respect to how countries can both improve their implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and use the HLPF as an opportunity for mutual peer learning, knowledge exchange and support. Importantly, the review also provides a comparative assessment of how VNR reporting is evolving over time through a comparison of analysis of the VNRs in 2016 and 2017 with findings for 2018.

Presenting a New Regional Network: SDSN Black Sea

On Thursday October 25, 2018, SDSN was glad to present a first look at its latest regional network, the SDSN Black Sea. Hosted by the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and chaired by Prof. Nicolaos Theodossiou, Professor of Water Resources Management at the Department of Civil Engineering, this new regional chapter will function as a hub for sustainable development for the wider area of the Black Sea.

In his keynote speech, Prof. Jeffrey Sachs, Director, SDSN, highlighted the need for regional cooperation on the SDGs. “SDSN global members do not look for division, but for joining and cooperating for the global good”, Sachs emphasized the clear value proposition of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network and its members.

Besides protecting and preserving its vulnerable ecosystem, the SDSN Black Sea network is set out to work on some of the other pressing challenges for the region: economic transformation, youth unemployment, innovation and sustainable tourism.

The panel of the event. Prof. J. Sachs, Director of SDSN, Prof. N. Theodossiou, Chair of SDSN Black Sea, Assoc. Prof. G. Zarotiadis, Dean of the Faculty of Economic and Political Sciences, Prof. P. A. Mitkas, Rector of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, and Prof. P. Koundouri, Co-Chair of SDSN Greece.

Prof. Theodossiou, appointed Chair of the Network, pointed out the imminent need to mobilize the broad base of excellent universities in the region, tapping into their enormous potential that can be activated in the name of a collaborative effort for the SDGs. In a second step, already existing research, innovation and technology in the region will be mapped, aligning them with the SDGs and developing a set of regional priorities. While expressing his optimism for the academic community of the Black Sea region to respond to the call of the newly established network, Prof. Theodossiou pointed out that more can be done when it comes to research results and their implementation in the market, especially within the private sector.

Co-chair of SDSN Greece, Prof. Phoebe Koundouri

Co-chair of SDSN Greece and Professor at the Athens University of Economics and Business, Phoebe Koundouri stressed that solving the problems of sustainable development is not just a challenge, but a need that has to be responded to at both the national and the international level. She highlighted the role of education for the understanding of regional challenges and noted that it can help shift from knowledge to action on all levels of society.

For the network being hosted out of Thessaloniki, Assoc. Prof. Grigoris Zarotiadis, Dean of the Faculty of Economic and Political Sciences at the AUTh, highlighted the role of Greece more widely in the Black Sea region and added that the project will give birth to many research, social, political and economic partnerships, always in the light of and in the direction of serving the SDGs.

Rectors of universities of the Black Sea and the officials of SDSN.

“The Aristotle University of Thessaloniki is proud because a node of the SDSN in the areas of the Black Sea is starting today” said the rector of AUTh, Pericles Mitkas. “We are trying to give the people of our countries the opportunity to contribute to this global effort, for the planet to proceed in a different way, and for humanity to deal with very important problems of poverty or uneven development.”

The whole video of the event can be accessed here.