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About UNGUI

Global Understanding Program

Global Understanding Program addresses the ways in which we inhabit an increasingly globalized world. How do we transform nature? How do we build new social and political relationships for the emerging global reality?

Global Understanding Program will make global processes and challenges understandable.

will encompass research, teaching and information.

will highlight the power of everyday, local choices for global change.

will remind global citizens of their global responsibilities.

 

Global Understanding Program Challenges

Our environment is changing in many ways and at unprecedented rates: climate change, biodiversity loss and loss of ecosystems, increase in the frequency and severity of extreme events, desertification and soil degradation, overfishing and deforestation are just some of the many environmental challenges we are faced with.

Global Environmental Change

Our environment is changing in many ways and at unprecedented rates: climate change, biodiversity loss and loss of ecosystems, increase in the frequency and severity of extreme events, desertification and soil degradation, overfishing and deforestation are just some of the many environmental challenges we are faced with.

Knowledge

There is a need to enhance our understanding of both Earth systems processes and socio-cultural contexts of human action. We also need to strengthen the relevance, use and social acceptance of existing knowledge. While there is sometimes a lack of awareness concerning the global implications of everyday living, the effective translation of knowledge into action commonly encounters a knowledge-action gap - a further challenge that the IYGU hopes to tackle. Importantly, we also need a better integration of different types of knowledge and in the process of knowledge production. The IYGU takes a transdisciplinary approach in the hope to integrate academic knowledge from all disciplines (social and natural sciences as well as the humanities), all types of knowledge (scientific, indigenous, local, traditional etc.) and all stakeholders (decision-makers, NGOs, businesses, the affected public etc.)

Changing Geographies - The Global Reach of Local Actions

Over the last decades, the spatio-temporal conditions of everyone's life have - directly or indirectly - changed dramatically. With the ongoing digital revolution, socio-cultural practices are now (at least potentially) global in reach. So are the consequences of human transformations of natural realities. With global change and the globalization of everyday life, we are confronted with an unprecedented situation. Generally speaking, we are experiencing the unintended consequences of 19th and 20th century problem solutions. We are facing a global climate change, as well as a global social change and both are inextricably linked.

Science-Policy Interface

But political institutions are not prepared for this constellation. Our political institutions are still of (predominantly) national reach. To bridge the gap between global problems and national problem-solving strategies, we need to foster global understanding and enhance international collaboration in climate policy and other policy fields concerned with global issues. In addition, and regardless of the spatial scale, there is a dire need to enhance the translation of the findings of global change research and research on sustainability into effective policies that will prevent the worst consequences of unabated global environmental change. International co-operation and national actions need to be aligned to deliver the best possible outcomes for societies and ecosystems

Global Understanding Key Messages

Everyday actions matter for global climate change. Everyday decisions depend on lifestyle. A global view reduces the risk of regional conflicts

Linking the Global and the Local

Everyday actions matter for global climate change.

Everyday decisions depend on lifestyle.

A global view reduces the risk of regional conflicts.

Our world faces social, cultural, and economic change, as well as a changing climate. Human actions play a key role in creating such worldwide challenges. However, human actions also provide solutions. If individuals know what their day-to-day routines mean for the planet, they can take appropriate action. Global understanding helps overcome the knowledge-action gap and supports policy decisions that promote sustainability.

People's Practices

Global problems require sustainable solutions.

Sustainable change should emerge from the bottom.

Global challenges require swift, yet considered, goal setting and political action. We cannot afford to wait for the ideal decision-making body or a global jurisdiction - it may never happen. Instead, change should come from the bottom. Individuals make choices, vote, and drive policies at the local, regional, and national levels. Widespread global understanding embeds awareness of the global consequences of individual choices. Global Understanding Program wants sustainable change that starts from the bottom.

Science and everyday life

Everyday life and science belong together.

Global understanding is based on joint social and natural science research.

Research should address the logic of everyday life.

Global understanding calls for the reconciliation of the global and the local, of science and everyday lives. The Global Understanding Program focuses on essential daily activities such as eating, drinking, housing, working, travelling, and communicating. Why do we make the choices that we do? Which societies - rich and poor - make more globally sustainable choices? Natural and social scientists will jointly provide answers.

Sustainability and Global Understanding

Climate change is an example of the links between global and local effects.

Global change may be climatic, social, cultural and economic.

Societies need global understanding to manage change sustainably.

Global sustainability cannot come about without local sustainability. Actions and thoughts that may seem disconnected in space and time are often fundamentally linked. True global understanding empowers people to make such connections. Many people know about the need for sustainability, but few make the corresponding decisions. The Global Understanding Program's main goal is to promote global understanding so that actions and decisions yield sustainable outcomes, every day, all over the world.

How to Do It

The focus will be on developing strategies for targeted local projects with a global reach. There are three elements to this: research, education, and information. It aims to yield deep, but actionable, insights into the ways all peoples can live together more sustainably. The focus will be on developing strategies for targeted local projects with a global reach. There are three elements to this: research, education, and information. Research will bring scientists together to understand the global impacts of everyday local activities related to culture, society, economy, and nature. The Global Understanding Program will empower bottom-up movements for sustainable everyday politics. Classrooms throughout the world will use the research results at all educational levels. The Global Understanding Program will provide information and promote knowledge sharing to increase public awareness by means of publications, computer games, TV programs, etc.

· The Global Understanding Program connects local actions and global challenges.

· The Global Understanding Program focuses on the global sustainability of local action.

· The Global Understanding Program recognizes culturally different paths to global sustainability.

The Global Understanding Program addresses the ways in which we inhabit an increasingly globalized world. How do we transform nature? How do we build new social and political relationships for the emerging global reality? Societies and cultures determine the ways we live with and shape nature. They influence how we perceive the global consequences of our everyday actions. We need to understand what our daily actions mean for the world as a whole in order to overcome global challenges.

(Jena, 21 March 2018) UNESCO honours geography with a Chair on Global Understanding for Sustainability. It will part of worldwide network of over 700 UNESCO chairs to support the teaching and research goals of the world cultural organization. The social geographer

 

Global Understanding Program Partners

Currently, the initiative is sponsored by institutions with global reach as well as by local partners. We envision a broad network of organizations working together to carry off the year. In this, the year will bring together scientific actors from wide range of disciplines from the humanities, social and natural sciences as well as engineering.

 

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