Reports and Announcements

Fourth GUNI International Barcelona Conference on Higher Education, Barceona,

March-April 2008
The Technical University of Catalonia (UPC), hosted the fourth Global University Network for Innovation (GUNI) Conference in Barcelona from 31st March to 2nd April 2008. The conference
focused on the contributions of higher education to human and social development in the context of globalization.

The conference was an international forum for debate on the challenges facing higher education in the 21st century. GUNI launched in the first international conference in 2004 to provide a global forum for a debate on key issues in higher education. The first conference explored the social commitments of universities and launched a series of GUNI reports titled Higher Education in the World and subsequent annual conferences. Topics discussed
during the 4th GUNI conference:
• The role of the university in the era of globalization
• The present and future political, economic and social trends of globalization and their challenges for higher education
• The educative purpose of higher education for human and social development
• Higher education for curriculum development
• The role of research in higher education and its implications for society
• Civil engagement in higher education
• Institutional challenges and implications for higher education institutions

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International Conference of the Social-Ecological Research Programme,

Berlin, 22 - 23 February 2008
The conference addressed ‘Long-Term Policies: Governing Social-Ecological Change’ and provided opportunities to bring socialecological research into international debates and the future perspectives of this field. This conference was the eighth event in the series of annual European Conferences on the Human Dimensions of Global Environmental Change, which began in Berlin in 2001.

The conference was organised by Oldenburg Centre for Sustainability Economics and Management, CENTOS, Oldenburg University and the Environmental Policy Research Centre, Freie University, Berlin.

The Berlin conference brought together recent research and conceptual developments from scientific approaches and discussed the current challenges, research tasks, practical solutions and possible strategies for long-term policies. A mutual exchange between the different actor groups was facilitated and the practicability of problem-solving trans disciplinary work was discussed.

Representatives from particular actor groups such as businesses, civil society and NGOs, politics and the natural and social sciences took active part to integrate their particular expertise.

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The United Nations Climate Change Conference in
Poznan, 1-12 December 2008

The Climate Change conference in Poznan was an important halfway mark in the two-year negotiating process to reach a post-2012 climate change deal in Copenhagen in 2009. At Poznan, Parties to the UNFCCC took stock of progress made in 2008 and mapped out in detail what needs to happen in 2009 at Copenhagen.

2009 is a crucial year in the international effort to address climate change, culminating in the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, 7-18 December. In 2007, Parties
had agreed to shape an ambitious and effective international response to climate change, to be agreed at Copenhagen.

At Poznan, the delegates discussed the vision for long term cooperative action on climate change, including a long-term emission reduction goal. The Kyoto Protocol’s Adaptation Fund was discussed in detail, with Parties agreeing that the Adaptation Fund Board should have legal capacity to grant direct access to developing countries. The Adaptation Fund was established to finance concrete adaptation projects and programmes in developing country Parties to the Kyoto Protocol that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change. Progress was also made on a number of important ongoing issues that are particularly important for developing countries, including: adaptation; finance; technology; reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD); and disaster management.

A key event at the Conference was a ministerial round table on a shared vision on long-term cooperative action on climate change. The round table provided the opportunity to lay the foundations for further work on the components of an agreed outcome at COP 15 in Copenhagen. Further, it sent a clear message regarding the need to continue to build momentum on the many points of convergence among all nations. The next major UNFCCC gathering will take place from 29 March to 8 April 2009 in Bonn, Germany.

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