By adopting the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development a paradigm shift has occurred: Science and higher education are both an integral part of the overall agenda and a target on its own.
The 2030 Agenda explicitly calls for a greater involvement of higher education and science in focal areas such as food security and sustainable agriculture, climate change, health as well as innovation, infrastructure and others. Furthermore, higher education and science is a key to working towards the vision of global partnership (SDG 17): Local answers to pressing global questions, higher education and science build capacity for cooperation on equal footing.
As part of SDG 4 (quality education), the standards against which higher education will be measured are high: Tertiary education should be equally accessible, affordable and of high quality (4.3.). Furthermore, it should promote skills that are relevant for employment, decent work and entrepreneurship (4.4). More scholarships should be given especially to least developed countries (4.b.). Well-trained scientists, teachers and competent graduates working in seminal positions are needed – in the global south as well as the global north.
Higher education and science are drivers of transformation. In co-operation with policy-makers, business and society at large, the scientific community is tasked with developing visions for more sustainable societies, exploring development pathways, and supporting sustainable technological and social innovations. Higher education should create problem awareness and promote systemic thinking, thus empowering people to participate in and shape the transformation process.
To what end?
Taking advantage of the momentum of the 2030 Agenda, the expert meeting aims at critically reflecting current approaches in strengthening higher education and science and generating ideas how to achieve sustainable development: Are we doing the right things? Could we do better? How?
Experts and practitioners in the fields of higher education and science, development and international co-operation, and partners from politics and the private sector as well as representatives from donor organizations are invited to share their expertise and perspectives. The envisaged outcome is to comprise recommendations for universities and scientific institutions, development cooperation agencies, the private and civic sector, as well as political and financing bodies, in the North and in the South.
The meeting is jointly organized by the Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, and KfW Development Bank.