At the World Leadership Forum, organized by Columbia University (USA), a speech by the Secretary-General of the UN Antonio Guterres on «The State of the Planet» took place. Al-Farabi Kazakh national University, which leads a Global hub of the UN «Academic impact» program on sustainability, was invited as a partner to participate at the online high-level meeting.

During the speech at Columbia University, the Secretary-General of the UN Antonio Guterres called on world leaders to make 2021 the year when humanity ends its “war with nature” and commits to building a future free from planet-heating carbon. Commenting on new reports on record-breaking weather conditions in 2020 and the growing volume of fossil fuel production that is causing global warming, Antonio Guterres urged curbing climate change. Referring to the fact that countries around the world are spending trillions of dollars to recover from the downturn caused by the pandemic, he stressed the need to do so with a focus on clean energy. The UN Secretary-General paid special attention to the role of educational institutions in solving urgent problems of the state of the Earth.

The international high-level forum is hold annually by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) of the United Nations, established in 2012 at the initiative of the United Nations SG and led by Columbia University Professor Jeffrey Sachs. The main mission of the SDSN is to promote integrated approaches to achieving the sustainable development goals (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement on climate change through education, research, policy analysis, and global cooperation.

KazNU has a long-standing partnership in this area, having joined the Global Association of MDP and SDSN in 2012, along with such leading world universities as Harvard, University of California Berkeley, Columbia, Tsinghua and others, initiating the only in the CIS graduate program on “Sustainable development” MDP Global Classroom based on world-class University training programs.

KazNU has been leading the Global hub of the UN Academic impact program on sustainable development for the fourth consecutive term since 2014. The Institute of Sustainable Development named after Ban Ki-moon has been established and successfully operates in the university, which has been launched with the personal participation of the eighth Secretary-General of the UN. The University is actively working to implement the SDGs, making a significant contribution to coordinating the activities of the academic community in the preservation of the planet. A lot of work is being done in the field of the environmental protection, promotion of sustainable development ideas, on implementation of innovative projects for alternative and renewable energy sources.

Earlier, KazNU, one of the three universities in the world, in 2012 received the right to hold a separate section at the «Rio+20» Millennium Summit in Rio de Janeiro, which was dedicated to the initiatives of Elbasy – «Global Energy and Environmental Strategy for Sustainable Development in the XXI Century» and «Green bridge» and initiated the creation of an international consortium of universities «Green Bridge through Generations». Its main task is to train specialists on the principles of sustainable development and the «green» economy, development of science and innovative technologies.

Summing up his speech and answering questions from scientists and students, A. Guterres stated, “the main goal of the UN for 2021 will be to create a Global coalition to ensure carbon neutrality. The mindset is changing. More and more people are realizing the need to make their own daily choices to reduce the “carbon footprint”. In this context, the Secretary-General of the UN pointed to «inspiring manifestations of social mobilization of young people».

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