21 November 2019

Training Future Leaders to Change the World

One year ago United Nations Academic Impact announced the inauguration of the UNAI SDG Hubs, UNAI member institutions selected as exemplars for their innovative scholarship and engagement related to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) who serve as resources for best practices for the UNAI network, currently composed of over 1,400 universities and colleges in more than 130 countries.

On the anniversary of the program launch, we’re taking this opportunity to check in with some of the hub schools to highlight their scholarship and activities over the past twelve months and look ahead to future initiatives. The fourth school profiled in our anniversary series is the University of Buenos Aires (Argentina), hub for SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production.   

The University of Buenos Aires Faculty of Economic Sciences (FES) develops research, knowledge transfer, technical assistance and university extension actions.  It’s one of the most important universities in Argentina and participates in international programs linked to sustainability. The university has been a member of UN Global Compact since 2012, and below are some of the programs, activities, and results achieved since being named the UNAI Hub for SDG 12:

  • Strategic Development Project (UBA) executed during 2018, was a project designed to collaborate on the redesign of the current management strategies in urban hygiene, proposing concrete and effective policies regarding the problem of urban solid waste in ​​ Buenos Aires. The project included the publication of the book "Environmental Management and Law: Urban Solid Waste of the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires" that was presented on the World Environment Day 2019.
  • The university undertook two research projects in 2019, one which seeks to define the socio-environmental impact of the Community Relations Plans derived from the Government City, while the other aims to define the design, development and construction of an Environmental Economic Observatory in the City of Buenos Aires, which provides a baseline of the current environmental situation and monitors the socio-economic impact on citizens. Through an aggregate indicator, this tool will improve public policies in this area and make possible comparisons with other cities in Latin America and the world.
  • A research project is underway whose objective is to inquire about the concept of Sustainable Administration and its insertion in the current curriculum of the Bachelor of Administration degree. A scholarship was awarded by the Interdisciplinary Institute for Research in Higher Education under the Association of Teachers of the University of Buenos Aires (in acronym Spanish, ADUBA), supporting the importance of considering sustainability knowledge in the training of future professionals. (PHOTO 2)
  • The university was shortlisted by the National Commission for Linking with UNESCO to receive funding for a project on the creation of the Environmental Economic Observatory in the UNESCO Participation Program, biennium 2018-19,
  • Celebration of the World Environment Day through conferences that seek to raise awareness of the academic community and make it a participant in the care of the planet, and more specifically, the place of the ecosystem where they usually develop their day to day. Different spaces and talks were proposed; for example, through the installation of stands and works of visual impact that allowed to show the reality in the matter of the problem of waste, the inauguration of a workshop of recycling and restoration of furniture, and the presentation of the book elaborated within the framework of the 2018 strategic development project, by Marcelo Corti. (PHOTOS 3, 4 and 5)
  • Participation as Technical Commission of the Latin America Green Awards, 2017, 2018 and 2019 editions.
  • Participation in training talks and awareness of non-teaching staff in environmental matters related to sustainable development, environmental care, circular economy, renewable energies, among other representative issues to permeate and raise awareness of environmental issues in all its dimensions. (PHOTO 6 and 7)
  • We continue with the use of differentiated bins in the FES for separation of urban solid waste, achieved through an agreement with the city government by installing islands of 3 waste streams in common spaces. (PHOTO 9) The campus also operated (PHOTO 10 and 11) four charging stations for cell phones with solar panels in the common courtyards. (PHOTO 12)
  • The university, in collaboration with the Undersecretaries of Renewable Energies and Energy Efficiency of the Ministry of Finance, created the Provincial Index of Renewable Attractiveness (in acronym Spanish, IPAR) in order to provide information on the degree of development of renewable energies in each jurisdiction of the country and its attractiveness for investment.
  • We participate in the Launching Act and in the roundtables of PAGE Argentina (Programmatic Alliance for a Green Economy) that was carried out in the Ministry of Production and Labor, and that seeks to put sustainability at the center of economic policies and practices to advance the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. (PHOTO 13)
  • We were invited to the talk on Green Employment carried out by the ILO, together with the national minister of environment and sustainable development. (PHOTO 14 and 15)
  • We incorporate the subject Social and Environmental Accounting in the Public Accounting curriculum.  

We hope that the University of Buenos Aires will be a leader in the coming years in the field, in everything that has to do with the modification of habits, attitudes and the contribution in the reconfiguration of an economic model that does not threaten the environment, the planet or society, but quite the opposite, that lives in harmony with it. In this context, our students, mainly those of the economic sciences, will lead companies and governments in the future where they can enact change. We understand the role our university assumes in reaching 2045 with renewed hope and having done our duty to change this paradigm in a time of global warming and climate change. This represents a great challenge and we believe that, as in other moments of Argentinian history, the University of Buenos Aires has played a prominent role. At this moment it has the possibility of being one of the transforming agents for Argentina and for the region.

To learn more about the UNAI SDG Hubs, including the University of Buenos Aires, visit the United Nations Academic Impact SDG Hubs.