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José Antonio Sanahuja acknowledged that the world goals for development are not realistic at the ACM Cooperation Conference

05/07/2015

The 11th ACM Conference on Cooperation was held today at the Pere Tarrés Faculty of Social Education and Social Work at Ramon Llull University. The event was entitled “From the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to a new post 2015 Development Agenda: What is the university’s role?” The opening address was given by researcher José Antonio Sanahuja, of the Complutense Institute for International Studies (ICEI). The event was organised within the Aristos Campus Mundus project framework. One of its key objectives is fostering university social responsibility.

Josep Maria Garrell, Rector of Ramon Llull University and Josep Oriol Pujol, Director General of the Pere Tarrés Foundation, delivered the welcoming address. Pujol pointed out that the MDGs approved in 2000 at the UN General Assembly (the Millennium Declaration) cannot be avoided by “anybody honest and socially responsible. For this reason, we are taking a break from academic activities to reflect on a more human future”.

The Rector of RLU stressed that the university’s role should consist of “creating non- politicised debate that sets out specific measures that can be taken to the political level” and, on the other hand, “contribute to educating people with globalised awareness- understood as social justice-“.

José Antonio Sanahuja explained how the scenario has changed in the last 25 years and there are now new realities, new power redistributions between State players, privatisation of development funding and above all, a peak in emerging countries’ commitment to the role of international cooperation and development.

Sanahuja reminded the audience that the MDGs “have been criticised as technocratic, minimalist, for being symptom rather than cause-centred, for not raising considerable changes, for being an agenda for the poor and not a global universal agenda”, among other issues.

He explained some of the paradoxes of the MDGs: “Inequality between nations has been reduced but inequality between people has increased. Inequality is not a national problem, but is transnational, with global causes and consequences, and therefore calls for collective cooperative global action”.

As regards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)- which are the new MDGs-, Sanahuja stated that many of the goals suggested are not only unobjectionable in ethical terms but unlikely to be achieved. “When I read all the goals, I see that none have been left out, but it is an inflated unrealistic result. There are 169 goals and I wonder how they can be applied in a practical and specific manner. The danger I see is that each country could choose the ones they are most interested in à la carte”. Furthermore, Sanahuja claimed that developing countries are the ones with most issues pending and they are not receiving support from more advanced nations.

The round table discussion that was then held, “How does the post 2015 Agenda address the new global university context?” was moderated by Ana García-Mina, Vice Rector of University Community Services and Students at Comillas Pontifical University. The following experts took part: Marta Macías, Director of the Agència Catalana de Cooperació al Desenvolupament (ACCD); Andrea Costafreda, lecturer and coordinator of the Bachelor’s degree programme in International Relations at the Blanquerna-RLU Faculty of Communication and International Relations and expert in development; Ignacio Martínez, head of the studies for the “2015 and more Platform”. Javier Arellano, Director of the Centre for Applied Ethics, University of Deusto, and Carlo Gallucci, Vice Rector of International Relations and Students at RLU, were in charge of closing the debate.

An internal working session entitled “The University in view of the post 2015 Agenda, questions, challenges and synergies“, was held in the afternoon. Javier Arellano (Deusto), Heike Pintor (Comillas) and Oscar Mateos (Ramon Llull) took part. The conclusions of the session were presented by Francisco López (Dean of Pere Tarrés-RLU) and Anna Berga (RLU Secretary Generl and ACM Association Secretary).  

 

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