On Thursday October 25, 2018, SDSN was glad to present a first look at its latest regional network, the SDSN Black Sea. Hosted by the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and chaired by Prof. Nicolaos Theodossiou, Professor of Water Resources Management at the Department of Civil Engineering, this new regional chapter will function as a hub for sustainable development for the wider area of the Black Sea.

In his keynote speech, Prof. Jeffrey Sachs, Director, SDSN, highlighted the need for regional cooperation on the SDGs. “SDSN global members do not look for division, but for joining and cooperating for the global good”, Sachs emphasized the clear value proposition of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network and its members.

Besides protecting and preserving its vulnerable ecosystem, the SDSN Black Sea network is set out to work on some of the other pressing challenges for the region: economic transformation, youth unemployment, innovation and sustainable tourism.

The panel of the event. Prof. J. Sachs, Director of SDSN, Prof. N. Theodossiou, Chair of SDSN Black Sea, Prof. G. Zarotiadis, Dean of the Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences, Prof. P. Mitkas, Rector of Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, and Prof. P. Koundouri, Co-Chair of SDSN Greece.

Prof. Theodossiou, appointed Chair of the Network, pointed out the imminent need to mobilize the broad base of excellent universities in the region, tapping into their enormous potential that can be activated in the name of a collaborative effort for the SDGs. In a second step, already existing research, innovation and technology in the region will be mapped, aligning them with the SDGs and developing a set of regional priorities. While expressing his optimism for the academic community of the Black Sea region to respond to the call of the newly established network, Prof. Theodossiou pointed out that more can be done when it comes to research results and their implementation in the market, especially within the private sector.

Co-chair of SDSN Greece, Prof. Phoebe Koundouri

Co-chair of SDSN Greece and Professor at the Athens University of Economics, Phoebe Koundouri stressed that solving the problems of sustainable development is not just a challenge, but a need that has to be responded to at both the national and the international level. She highlighted the role of education for the understanding of regional challenges and noted that it can help shift from knowledge to action on all levels of society.

For the network being hosted out of Thessaloniki, Grigoris Zarotiadis, Head of the Department of Economics and Political Sciences at the AUoT, highlighted the role of Greece more widely in the Black Sea region and added that the project will give birth to many research, social, political and economic partnerships, always in the light of and in the direction of serving the SDGs.

Rectors of universities of the Black Sea and the officials of SDSN.

“The Aristotle University of Thessaloniki is proud because a node of the global network for solutions to the problems of sustainable development in the areas of the Black Sea is starting today,” said AUTh rector, Pericles Mitkas, adding that this network would open up an important local opportunity to engage in the global effort for the SDGs.

The whole video of the event can be accessed here.