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Inaugural ceremony of the Institute for Sustainable Development Goals, Tsinghua University

chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2017-05-18 17:50
Inaugural ceremony of the Institute for Sustainable Development Goals, Tsinghua University

The inaugural ceremony is held at the Tsinghua University on May 14, 2017.

The inaugural ceremony of the Institute for Sustainable Development Goals at the Tsinghua University (TUSDG), along with the Belt and Road Initiative and Global Sustainable Development Forum, was successfully held in the main building of the university on May 14, 2017. The aim of the event was to establish a leading platform to conduct interdisciplinary research and serve as a United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) oriented talent-training base, and collaborate with global partners to address the challenges in implementing the UN SDGs. The Institute for Sustainable Development Goals was the first interdisciplinary institute on SDGs in China.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres sent a message of greetings to the TUSDG.

"The establishment of the Tsinghua Institute shows, yet again, the commitment and ambition of the Chinese Government and people to act at all levels of society to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. [It is] the world’s shared plan to build a future of peace, prosperity and dignity for all on a healthy planet.

I thank the Tsinghua Institute for its efforts in conducting research on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, and in educating younger generations and professionals. However, there is still a long way to go in this vital work. Your new institute, working as an esteemed member of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network and with many parts of the UN system, as well as with the broader network of partners in the development and academic communities, will help to advance thinking and action for the SDGs. It will also serve as a bridge between China and the rest of the world, including the Global South, for mutual learning and exchange to drive SDG solutions and achievement."

Wu Hongbo, the Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, also sent a message of greetings to the Institute.

"I am deeply inspired by this initiative - not only because the new research institute is dedicated to the Sustainable Development Goals but because it is also a testimony to the global vision and perspective of the Tsinghua University."

He shared his expectations with the members of the TUSDG, stating they would need to be independent thinkers, to inspire and inform policymakers in their decision-making processes. They must also be the voice of reason, advising policymakers when plans fail to work, and be a reliable partner of policymakers, as well as champions who always adopt a systemic view and a long-term perspective, guiding future plans strategically and speaking the truth to power.

In a greeting message from Yves Flückiger, Rector of University of Geneva, he reviewed the collaborative cooperation between the Tsinghua University and the University of Geneva on education for the UN SDGs, especially with the very ambitious joint education programme around the SDGs, which ranges from workshops and summer schools to a jointly run Masters programme. He expressed heart-felt congratulations to the inauguration of the TUSDG.

"Today’s inauguration of the TUSDG is a major milestone, not just in our university-level collaboration for the Geneva Tsinghua Initiative, but in demonstrating the commitment China as a whole is making to achieve a more sustainable future."

On the same day, President Qiu Yong of the Tsinghua University held talks with President Joko Widodo of Indonesia and signed a Letter of Intent on cooperation with the Indonesian Ministry of Industry. The move was to promote communication and cooperation with the industrial sector and universities of Indonesia, and jointly train innovative and entrepreneurial talents for Industry. Bambang Brodjonegoro, Minister of the National Development of the Republic of Indonesia, sent a message of greetings to the inauguration of the TUSDG. He expressed great efforts had been made by the Indonesia Government in the implementation of the SDGs. He emphasized Indonesia would further enhance the cooperation with the Tsinghua University in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Professor Yang Bin, Vice President and Provost of the Tsinghua University, Professor Jeffrey Sachs, Special Advisor to UN Secretary-General António Guterres and Director of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), Meng Xiaosi, Standing Committee Member of the CPPCC National Committee and Vice President, and member, of the Secretariat of the All-China Women's Federation (ACWF), Mari Elka Pangestu, President of United in Diversity Foundation (UID) and the Former Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy of the Republic of Indonesia, Amb Sudrajat, the Former Ambassador of Indonesia to China, Professor Liu Yanhua, Counselor of the State Council, Director of the National Committee of Experts on Climate Change, Board member of the Institute for Sustainable Development Goals, Tsinghua University and Former Vice Minister of Ministry of Science and Technology, Irene Khan, Director-General of International Development Law Organization and Guido Schmidt-Traub, Executive Director of SDSN, Patrick Haverman, Deputy Country Director of the UNDP China, Cherie Nursalim, Vice Chairman of GITI Group and a board member of the TUSDG including He Kebin, Li Qiang, Zhang Yue, Yang Yongheng, Chen Wei, as well as more than 150 public administration practitioners, foreign diplomats in China, scholars, journalists, teachers and students from and outside Tsinghua University at the inaugural ceremony.

During the ceremony, Yang Bin read the Tsinghua announcement of the establishment of the TUSDG and awarded a letter of appointment to Professor Jeffrey Sachs as the Chair of the International Academic Committee of the TUSDG. Yang Bin, Jeffrey Sachs, Liu Yanhua, Meng Xiaosi, Xue Lan, He Kebin, Cherie Nursalim and Chen Wei unveiled the plaque for the TUSDG.

Before the inaugural ceremony of the TUSDG, the first meeting of the Board of Directors was held and hosted by Yang Bin. Charter, the overall planning and appointment of the Dean of the TUSDG, were approved in the meeting.

The Belt and Road Initiative and Global Sustainable Development Forum was held after the inaugural ceremony. Keynote speeches were delivered by Jeffrey Sachs, Liu Yanhua and He Kebin respectively. The forum was hosted by Zhu Xufeng, the Associate Dean of SPPM and Executive Dean of the TUSDG.

Nikhil Seth, the Executive Director of the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), and Bernard Debarbieux, Dean of Geneva School of Social Science (G3S), congratulated the establishment of TUSDG by submitting videos.

Background:

On 1 January 2016, the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development - adopted by world leaders, in September 2015, at a historic UN Summit - officially came into force. In the next fifteen years, with these new goals which universally apply to all, countries will mobilize efforts to end all forms of poverty, fight inequalities and tackle climate change, while ensuring no one is left behind.

China has launched its implementation process and included it into China's mid-to-long-term national development program, which well aligns China's domestic efforts with the international development agenda. President Xi Jinping made solemn commitments stating China stood ready to work with other parties to contribute to the 2030 Agenda at the Belt and Road Forum.

Sticking to the mission of promoting the implementation of the SDGs in China, great efforts have been made by the Tsinghua University to establish the Institute for Sustainable Development Goals of the Tsinghua University (TUSDG), which will serve as a UN SDGs oriented talent-training base, as well as a leading platform to conduct interdisciplinary research in this field.

On January 16, 2017, President Xi Jinping of China and the President of the Swiss Confederation, Doris Leuthard, jointly witnessed the signing of the memorandum between the Tsinghua University and the University of Geneva on a comprehensive cooperation on SDGs. On April 26, the TUSDG was officially established by the Tsinghua University and housed in the School of Public Policy and Management (SPPM), Tsinghua University.

Introduction of TUSDG:

Housed in the School of Public Policy and Management at the Tsinghua University, the aim of the Institute for Sustainable Development Goals of Tsinghua University (TUSDG) was to establish a leading platform to conduct interdisciplinary research and collaborate with global partners to address challenges in implementing the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). By integrating theoretical learning and practical experience into the field, the TUSDG also strives to cultivate a new generation of talents who are dedicated to the implementation of SDGs and the improvement of global governance. In addition, the TUSDG will make every effort at creating a high-end open platform in the research field of SDGs, attracting world-class experts and scholars to be involved in teaching and research activities. Finally, the institute aspires to become a leading think tank in China on SDGs related policies, through cooperative partnerships with relevant government agencies.

Leadership

Chairman of Board of Directors: Yang Bin, Vice President and Provost of Tsinghua University;

Director: Xue Lan, Co-chair of the Leadership Council of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), Dean of the School of Public Policy and Management, Tsinghua University;

Chair of International Academic Committee: Jeffrey Sachs, Professor of Sustainable Development and Professor of Health Policy and Management at Columbia University, and Director of Columbia’s Center for Sustainable Development and of the UN SDSN;

Executive Director: Zhu Xufeng, Associate Dean of the School of Public Policy and Management, Tsinghua University.

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