From March 19th – 21st the IAU held its International Conference at Universidad Científica del Perú at Iquitos, Peru. The leading conference theme was: “Blending Higher Education and Traditional Knowledge for Sustainable Development”. Among the approx. 180 participants from around the world, CA and its members were represented by its Vice-President Prof Clemens Mader and the Rector of the University of Siena (Italy), Prof Angelo Riccabioni.
The main conference theme as well as sessions during the conference, concentrating on the linkage between higher education and their surrounding communities showcased the need of experiences and exchange on whole institution approaches as well as the transformation of the higher education sector towards sustainable development. The president of the IAU, Dzulkifli Abdil Razak and the IAU Secretary General, Eva Egron-Polak in the name of the whole IAU board declared the importance of a sustainability transformation through initiating the development of the IAU Iquitos statement on higher education for sustainable development that will be finally published in the course of the UN Decade on ESD conference in Nagoya, November 2014. This statement will specifically address the need for whole institution approaches, mainstreaming sustainable development concepts, sustainable leadership development as well as transdisciplinary research and education approaches. In this statement as well as in the course of the conference itself, strong reference was given to the Rio+20 Treaty on Higher Education led by CA in strong collaboration with IAU in the course of the Rio+20 UN Conference.
Finally the conference organised by the IAU demonstrated the high relevance of sustainability in higher education and reached out to many new institutions. The Iquitos statement will be an important policy instrument to refer to in negotiations and discussions, institutionally as well as on national and international policy levels.