Climate change, loss of biodiversity and bioethics, accessible to all citizens

After a flourishing three years, Donostia Sustainability Forum has reviewed its strategy and launched the new website, along with the autumn programme.

Launched in 2020, the forum has had a fruitful three years. Given that the founding needs and goals continue to be a source of concern, the institutions that set up the Donostia Sustainability Forum-DSF have undertaken to strengthen the project and increase its dissemination. They have thus unveiled the revamped Internet portal and the first autumn activities. 

Donostia Sustainability Forum was set up by the UPV/EHU-University of the Basque Country Summer Courses Foundation (UIK) and the BBVA Foundation. The initial goal from a multidisciplinary approach was to create a meeting point for different stakeholders to face the challenges of sustainability. Since its launch, the project has the support of the main Basque institutions: the Basque Government, the Provincial Council of Gipuzkoa and the Municipality of Donostia-San Sebastián.

Donostia Sustainability Forum is an open debate, dissemination and training platform to highlight the great challenges of sustainability; during its launch phase, it particularly focused on the following areas: ecosystems and natural resources, food, health and local development, business sustainability and the circular economy, and environmental communication and education. 
The project has always strived to be enriching and has organised Summer Courses, lectures and workshops on the topic, along with the sustainability dialogues in conjunction with the BBVA Foundation.  Winners of the BBVA Foundation's Biophilia and Biodiversity Conservation Awards have taken part in those dialogues.

A total of 9179 people has participated in the activities programme so far.  3873 have attended the 35 free lectures and 5603 the 108 courses organised during the summer. The open activities have been recorded and published online in the UIK YouTube channel and have been viewed over 18000 times.  In parallel, two exhibitions have been held and an audiovisual vocabulary developed around sustainability, which currently contains the explanation of other terms provided by 32 experts.

After analysing the results of this first stage, a new DSF strategic plan was prepared; it was agreed to focus on the climate emergency, conserving biodiversity and bioethics, given the current needs.  
The forum championed by UIK seeks to further identify and highlight the existing needs in terms of sustainability – a reason for concern globally – by working closely and in tandem with the other organisations operating in the same field. 

Thus, DSF has signed up to the Basque Green Deal, in line with the general principles of the European Green Deal. DSF intends to take part in designing the 2030 Basque Environment Framework Programme and be involved in its deployment.

Furthermore, UIK has joined the Erronka Garbia initiative, with the aim of reducing the possible negative impacts of the internal processes and organisation on the environment.

As regards the network, the new platform will allow greater accessibility to the content developed beforehand and to the written interviews, along with offering other formats. The new autumn programme is already underway. The Kutxa Foundation has launched a new Gazte Ekolider (Ecoleader Youth) training programme in sustainability and leadership for young people between 20 and 35 years old. 

The Miramar Palace in San Sebastián hosted the interview between Matt McGrath and Caty Arévalo on October 19th, in collaboration with the BBVA Foundation.

The journalists Caty Arévalo – an environmental correspondent for the EFE Agency and winner of the BBVA Foundation's Biodiversity Diversity Award –, and Matt McGrath – the BBC's environmental reporter and winner of the BBVA Foundation's Biophilia Award for Environmental Communication – have been reporting on climate change for more than two decades.  They explained how the effects of global warming are ever greater and increasingly more obvious. However, they also gave us reasons for hope. 

On November 3, with Elhuyar, a day of reflection and promotion of actions in the classroom on sustainability and climate emergency will be held at the Miramar Palace in Donostia/San Sebastián. The activity will be free and can be followed both in person and online.

On 23 November, a technical session will be held on the priorities of COP28 summit on climate change to be held in Dubai in December 2023. The activity is for a specialist audience, namely, journalists, business organisations, academia, etc, in which high-level experts will be taking part.

Subsequently, there will be a disclosure day on the main decisions reached at COP28 in Dubai on 19 January 2024 and is aimed at the general public.

We are working on the rest of the programme for 2024 and it will soon be available at the revamped Donostia Sustainability Forum portal.