To further promote the collaboration between UNESCO Category 2 Centers and Chairs in Natural Sciences in support of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Geneva Lake Workshop“UNESCO academic network towards the 2030 Agenda” was held in Lausanne from 7 to 9 March 2018.
The conference was sponsored by various science divisions of the UNESCO headquarters, and cohosted by the École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA), the UNESCO National Committee of Switzerland and the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN).
The conference had 29 participants, including 12 UNESCO Chairs from Spain, the UK, Switzerland, Tunisia, Poland, Portugal, Italy, Brazil, Armenia, Togo and Germany, three representatives of the three UNESCO Category 2 Centers from China, Spain and the Netherlands, representatives of 8 Swiss agencies (the UNESCO National Committee of Switzerland, DPFL, the University of Geneva, FDFA and CERN) and 6 project experts from the UNESCO headquarters and regional offices.
The International Knowledge Centre for Engineering Sciences and Technology under the Auspices of UNESCO (IKCEST) representative attended the conference at invitation and gave a speech on the ideas of the construction of a communication and knowledge-sharing platform of UNITWIN/UNESCO Chairs, which was applauded by both the host and the participants. It was agreed at the conference that the construction of the platform could help pool the strengths of the members of the UNESCO science family (UNESCO Chairs, UNITWIN members and Category 2 Centers in the science field) to better serve the SDGs of the UN. The report made by IKCEST at the conference was convincing, the proposal provided was viable and its experience in platform development was also welltested. The platform will be built by the three parties (i.e. UNESCO, IKCEST and EPFL) withworkload shared, and IKCEST will provide technical support, with the goal of launching the platform within 12 months. The relevant resolutions were recorded in the “summary report” and “conceptual paper of the exchange and outreach platform” released after the conference and the outcome document Geneva Action Plan.
Based on the extensive preparations made by its expert team for the platform development, IKCEST representative actively participated in the conference through presentations, online demonstration, Q&A and panel discussions, which boosted the visibility and global influence of the organization and fostered the image of a responsible UNESCO Category 2 Center of a responsible majorcountry. It showcased China’s willingness and ability to contribute its own share to the realization of the 17 SDGs and reflected the goal of conveying Chinese voice and contributing Chinese wisdom that underpins China’s major-country diplomacy.
After the conference, the head of the Science Policy and Partnership Division of the UNESCO headquarters sent an acknowledgement letter and power of attorney to Ms. Chen Zuoning, Chairperson of the IKCEST Governing Board.