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In 2015, the world saw two hopeful breakthroughs for humanity: first, the global adoption of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG); and second, after 21 years of international negotiations, the signing of the Paris Agreement. Since then, however, a lot has changed. Old and new conflicts have escalated, giving rise to the largest involuntary migration since the Second World War. A slow paced recovery from the global financial crisis has left many in doubt of the ruling capacity of their government – fuelling populist sentiment in many countries. Furthermore, income inequality is rising within and between countries, often at the expense of the most vulnerable populations and communities.
Today’s youth is facing a future of complex and global issues. As future agents of change, thinking holistically, interdisciplinary and transnationally has never been more important to find sustainable solutions on a local level. This challenge lies in the very centre of the 24th edition of EuroEnviro, taking place in Gothenburg. Gathering 70 students from different academic disciplines and universities across Europe, this conference aims to provide the opportunity for students to meet and work together with, as well as learn from, others with a passion for sustainability. The participants will be given tools and knowledge through lectures, study visits and workshops, encouraging them to think and act in unison on how to deliver on the promises made to the future by the leaders of humanity in 2015.
The theme of the conference – Interdisciplinary Solutions for Sustainable Development – materialises through the creation of 10 projects groups, based on themes identified by the World Economic Forum Global Shapers Survey. During the week of the conference, the groups will produce a global problem description, as well as a local solution, for a specific question defined by experts within a relevant academic field. Each of the 10 questions will be the subject of one lecture – with the purpose of inspiring each project group in its work, but also for the other participants to recognize the interconnectedness of the 10 questions and the 17 SDGs. On the last day of the conference, the result of each project group will be presented in the form of a pitch. Hence, continuing to inspire the students to find both possibilities and obstacles in solving the problems holistically.
This year’s edition of EuroEnviro also goes beyond the scope of the conference. Putting the local solutions of complex problems at the centre, EuroEnviro will serve as a network where ideas will continue to be exchanged. The end product of this conference is an infrastructure – aiming to facilitate the collaboration, inspiration and efficiency of the projects for future agents of change.