Accra, March 10, GNA -The ideals set out in the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) with cut-off-date at 2015, would be elusive unless countries adopted more ambitious plans for their development, Prof Hans van Ginkel, Under-Secretary of the United Nations has said. He, therefore, urged governments of developing countries to adopt bold development strategies to meet the targets of the MDGs, with new additional sources to finance development, university education and research.
Prof van Ginkel made the point on Wednesday, in the second of this year's three-series Aggrey-Fraser- Guggisberg Memorial Lectures at the Great Hall of the University of Ghana, Legon, near Accra.
The Lecture series was instituted in 1957 by the University of Ghana, Legon in recognition of the contribution of the three personalities toward advancing higher education in Ghana.
Prof van Ginkel, who is also the Rector of the United Nations University, spoke on the theme: "Higher Education and Sustainable Development, Our Common Future: The Role of Universities." The lecture examined the Millennium Report of the United Nations (UN) Secretary-General from 2000,and made an attempt to relate the agenda of the MDG to practical roles universities could play in the society that supported them.
Prof van Ginkel drew attention to the need to develop resources for all people to have better lives and fulfil their dreams, how to influence general work ethics and natural diversity for society's benefits. He said the world was confronted with limited resources with strong worldwide competition, and consequent economic blocs and integration framework with different players and conditions operating. This had tended to a strengthening of geographical and economic unions, but an event at a place had ubiquitous repercussions, with all the people having a common future.
Prof van Ginkel observed the havoc of both natural and unnatural disasters, and pointed out that unnatural disasters, such as fire outbreaks, HIV/AIDS and violence had increased more than three times in the 1990s compared to the 1960s.
The UNU Rector recalled global effort towards environmental preservation in the 1992 Earth Summit and the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg in 2002, which he said largely made successful efforts on the links between globalisation, trade poverty, environment and development.
Prof van Ginkel said it was necessary to reduce wars and conflicts to reduce the teeming number of displaced persons and to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. He stated that as many as 113 million children were not attending school. The Rector called for the strengthening and co-operation of formal and non-formal educational strategies and plans.
The establishment of a Global Learning Space would create a world where everyone would have the opportunity to benefit from quality education, values and lifestyles required for sustainable future and positive societal transmission.
Prof van Ginkel reiterated the creation of a knowledge base for sustainability through research activities.
This, he said, required training and retraining of staff at all levels. Also Regional Centres of Experts could also be considered as networks to strengthen collaboration of Education for Sustainable Development (EFSD) among regional and local (EFSD) institutes.
Professor Daniel Mireku Gyimah, Vice Chancellor of University of Mines and Technology, chaired the lecture, which was attended by the Chancellor of the University of Ghana (UG), Oyeeman Wereko Ampem, the Vice Chancellor of the UG, Pro Kwadwo Asenso-Okyere as well as Dons, students and Members of the public.