Temperatures rising today outside IMPULSE in Wageningen, roughly 50 students from Masters and Bachelor education and staff from VHL joined the conversation with Mr. Jan Pronk on Sustainable Development.
Mr. Pronk took the participants through 50 years of negotiations around development cooperation and climate change. He emphasized the importance of shared principles as defined in Rio 1992. Also the shift from individual rights to the collective right to develop as a group was marked as an important shift. Mr. Pronk pointed to the impact of social media, allowing now for increased participation.
After the break a number of questions triggered mini-lectures about the global economic trade regimes, regional integration and national deficiencies in living up to protocols, targets and goals. The audience, mainly consisting of Masters students of VHL, was challenged to consider topics for their areas of research in their home countries over the coming months that are relevant to the Sustainable Development Goals. And addressing serious areas of concern aiming at deepening the debate.
Though in general showing a bit of scepticism about the global machinery for decision-making, with as a case in point the non-outcome of the Rio+20 negotations, Pronk saw increasing possibilities for participation in the process. The second optimism related to young people who are no longer interested in careers or high salaries but are eager to contribute to new business models that are more meaningful to societies. After all, the most important principle that was formulated in Rio back in 1992 was that people should be in the driving seat for their own development as an individual as well as a group.