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Opening Remarks - Prof. Cynthia Rose Banzon-Bautista, Vice President for Academic Affairs, University of the Philippines

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Opening Remarks - Prof. Cynthia Rose Banzon-Bautista, Vice President for Academic Affairs, University of the Philippines
11th Global RCE Conference
7-9 December, 2018
Cebu, the Philippines

Published in: Government & Nonprofit
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Opening Remarks - Prof. Cynthia Rose Banzon-Bautista, Vice President for Academic Affairs, University of the Philippines

  1. 1.       Maria Cynthia Rose Banzon Bautista  Vice President for Academic Affairs University of the Philippines System Multisector collaboration is essential to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. Though these goals are universally applicable, they must still be adapted to national and local contexts, and to do this, multiple perspectives have to be taken into account. These goals also cover a broad range of interconnected issues coming from and affecting several sectors, and so it becomes indispensable for government, the private sector and civil society to forge closer links to implement development targets and monitor their progress. As primary producers of knowledge, universities are particularly important in linkages towards the SDGs. Involving universities in these partnerships not only reinforce collaborative undertakings as multi-issue platforms but they also allow these efforts to benefit from the expertise of scholars and researchers from different backgrounds, making them multi-, inter- and transdisciplinary. For universities, such approach is crucial if we are to find long-term, integrated solutions to societal problems. It was from this vantage point that in 2005, the University of the Philippines (or UP) through UP Cebu (then known as the Cebu College of UP Visayas) explored the possibility of becoming part of the United Nations University Institute of Advanced Studies network of global Regional Centers of Expertise (or RCE) on Education for Sustainable Development. Being the country’s national university, UP is mandated by Philippine law to lead “as a public service university by providing various forms of community, public and volunteer service, as well as scholarly and technical assistance to the government, the private sector and civil society while maintaining its standards of excellence.” The succeeding creation of RCE Cebu in 2006, the first RCE in the Philippines and of which UP Cebu was central node and secretariat, was thus an excellent opportunity for the University to realize not only its mission of teaching and research but also of community engagement by creating a multisector network of partners and stakeholders for the promotion of sustainable development. Since its establishment nearly 12 years ago, RCE Cebu has initiated multisector consultative workshops, provided direct services such as the coastal community initiatives in Cebu, and strengthened education for sustainable development through lecture-forums, education camps, and research assistance to undergraduate students. It likewise supported UP Cebu faculty members to participate in international conferences and to publish research outputs. That these faculty members come from different departments -- business management, computer science, the humanities and the social sciences --
  2. 2. presents an appreciation that different fields can contribute equally to the attainment of the SDGs. Around the world, there is greater recognition of the role of universities in the SDGs. In fact, Times Higher Education, publisher of one of the most widely used global rankings of universities in which UP participates, will release next year a new global ranking on how educational institutions are delivering the SDGs. This only shows that there are large-scale attempts at measuring the impact of universities on society. For its part, the University of the Philippines, directed to “perform a unique and distinctive leadership role in higher education and the country’s development” and if I may add, with a regional and global impact, will continue to heed the universal call by providing the next generation of leaders with high-quality education that upholds the principles of sustainable development and enhances competencies (knowledge, skills and values) that will help them think critically and analytically about and effectively respond to development-related problems. Finally, the University will continue to carry out research in support of evidence-based policy-making and, as our RCE Cebu experience demonstrates, build bridges across disciplines and sectors of society in our collective efforts towards sustainable development. Thank you.

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