Cooperation between UNESCO Chairs towards sustainability

The UNESCO Chair ESCI-UPF and the UNESCO Chair from the Universidad para la Cooperación Internacional start a collaboration aimed at promoting the sustainable development of products and services.

The director of the UNESCO Chair ESCI-UPF, Pere Fullana i Palmer, led various meetings to disseminate life cycle assessment, ecodesign and eco-labelling methodologies at the Universidad para la Cooperación Internacional.

Tania Moreno, Pere Fullana i Palmer and Rita Puig, during the visit of the UNESCO Chair ESCI-UPF at Costa Rica.

Tania Moreno, Pere Fullana i Palmer and Rita Puig, during the visit of the UNESCO Chair ESCI-UPF at Costa Rica.

With the aim of disseminating  sustainability research and establishing links with centres around the world, the UNESCO Chair in Life Cycle and Climate Change ESCI-UPF has initiated a collaboration with the Cátedra UNESCO de Reservas de Biosfera y Sitios del Patrimonio Mundial Naturales y Mixtos (UNESCO Chair in Biosphere Reserves and Natural and Mixed World Heritage Sites) at the Universidad para la Cooperación Internacional —UCI, in its Spanish acronym— (University for International Cooperation) in Costa Rica. The director of the UNESCO Chair ESCI-UPF, Pere Fullana i Palmer, and the Chair’s external collaborator and Professor at the Universitat de  Lleida (UdL) expert in ecodesign, Rita Puig, have visited Costa Rica to carry out a seminar about life cycle assessment, ecodesign, and eco-labelling, as well as series of meetings with the rector and the heads of international relations of the UCI, aimed at strengthening the relationship between both institutions under the umbrella of the UNESCO.

 

Training in LCA and ecodesign

The director of the UNESCO Chair ESCI-UPF and the Professor at the UdL held the Seminar entitled “Análisis de ciclo de vida del producto, ecodiseño y ecoetiquetas” (“Life Cycle Assessment of a product, ecodesign, and eco-labelling”), on May 28th and 29th at the UCI. The session consisted of disseminating the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), ecodesign and ecolabelling methodologies, which constitute the basis of the research conducted at the Chair from its various research lines. During the seminar, the participants and the host Chair “showed interest in deepening the study and the improvement of sustainability in their environment through the proposed methodologies,” emphasises Rita Puig.

In addition to this training, they also held several meetings with the external relations officers of the UCI, in order to lay the foundations of the newly launched collaboration between the UNESCO Chairs of both universities, ESCI-UPF and UCI.


International cooperation

The UNESCO Chair in Life Cycle and Climate Change ESCI-UPF was established in 2010 and, according to the objectives of the agreement with UNESCO, the Chair aims at promoting scientific research, cooperation, education and communication on sustainable development of products and services at national and international level, for the benefit of the environment and society. Thus, it facilitates partnerships between internationally renowned Researchers, Professors and Lecturers of universities and other institutions especially in Latin America, the Caribbean, and Africa, among others.

Furthermore, the First Meeting of the UNESCO Chairs in Natural Sciences gathered the UNESCO’s vast network of Chairs and Networks specialised in the Natural Sciences in Geneva, Switzerland, from July 5 to 7 2017, to join efforts towards the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. During the event, the UNESCO encouraged the establishment of collaborations between the different chairs. An example of this is the present partnership between the UNESCO Chair ESCI-UPF and the UNESCO Chair UCI, motivated by the fact that “both chairs have numerous parallelisms in relation to their research activity in the fields of sustainability and climate change mitigation,” says Fullana i Palmer. Specifically, the UCI has worked in topics related to the biosphere reserves since 1994, when the coordination of the Red Iberoamericana de Reservas de Biosfera (Ibero-American Network of Biosphere Reserves) began.

The Cátedra UNESCO de Reservas de Biosfera y Sitios del Patrimonio Mundial Naturales y Mixtos, founded in 2009 through UNESCO's UNITWIN agreement, depends on the UCI, a higher educational centre with values of social responsibility, balance with nature and the promotion of a more solidary and inclusive society. The institution focuses its activity on promoting “an integrated system of research, training, information and documentation on capacity development, education, landscape management and sustainable development,” as stated in its mission. Among its main purposes, highlights the “willingness to facilitate collaboration between researchers and professors of the university and other institutions in Costa Rica, Latin America, and the world, as well as other UNESCO Chairs, as is the case here,” says Tania Moreno, head of the UNESCO Chair at the UCI.


Future goals

As a result of the stay, several collaborative initiatives focused on the exchange of knowledge in ecodesign and LCA applied to different products and services in the context of the tropical country were proposed, especially in the field of Agri-food. In the field of education, it was proposed to establish a new course focused on eco-labeling.

“Costa Rica is a wonderful country, but with an insufficient waste management system that causes its dispersion in the natural environment. The waste left in the forest 'disappears' in a very short time covered by vegetation and, therefore, can not be recovered, making a prevention management system much more necessary,” concludes Fullana i Palmer after visiting the territory. In this sense, “the exchange of knowledge is essential to jointly address this situation and thus achieve greater sustainability,” he adds.

 

Poster of the Seminar “Análisis de ciclo de vida del producto, ecodiseño y ecoetiquetas” (“Life Cycle Assessment of a product, ecodesign, and eco-labelling”), held on May 28th and 29th at the UCI.

Poster of the Seminar “Análisis de ciclo de vida del producto, ecodiseño y ecoetiquetas” (“Life Cycle Assessment of a product, ecodesign, and eco-labelling”), held on May 28th and 29th at the UCI.
 

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