The 7th International Conference on Sustainable Development (ICSD 2019), jointly organized by Global Associaion of Master’s in Development Practice（MDP）programs and The Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) , was held at Columbia University in New York from September 24 to 25, 2019. Directors of Zigen foundation Pat Kwei-Ping Yang, Lily Waiyee Lee, and US Zigen Manager Wenxin Zhang attended the meeting.
Pat Kwei-Ping Yang gave a speech on "Experiences of an NGO in Promoting Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) in Rural China", in which she presented the current situation of rural environmental crisis and loss of local culture to the participants, and put forward the importance of sustainable development in China. For more than 30 years, Zigen has carried out the human centered approach to promote the sustainable development of rural areas. These programs include supporting the basic needs of areas with limited resources and people in poverty, Zigen's green ecological schools / villages, as well as the currently developed rural teachers’ training, girls' health training, rural leadership training, etc.
The conference also invited many scholars, teachers and practitioners in relevant professional disciplines. They discussed sustainable development education in many aspects relating to the 17 goals of sustainable development, including the intersection of environmental, cultural, economic and social issues. Her Majesty Queen Mathilde of Belgium, Director of Sustainable Development at Columbia University Jeffrey Sachs and many other world leaders in the field of sustainable development also presented at the meeting.
The theme of this year’s conference was "Good Practice: Models, Partnerships, and Capacity Building for the SDGs’". The meeting provided a professional exchange platform for experts, scholars and technicians in various fields of sustainable development by sharing ideas and research results related to sustainable development science through academic networking.
In 2015, at the UN summit, countries around the world adopted the 2030 agenda for sustainable development, which covers 17 sustainable development goals. It aims to eliminate all forms of poverty, achieve equality and cope with climate change in 15 years, while ensuring that no one is left behind. ICSD 2019 provided a forum to exchange ideas, introduce research results and discuss professional issues related to sustainability science.
Over the years, Zigen has vigorously promoted the sustainable development education in rural schools in China and supported the establishment of Green Eco schools through teacher training and pilot projects. In order to promote more teachers to actively participate in the practice of sustainable development education and the establishment of green eco schools, China Zigen has worked closely with the multi-national education and multicultural research center of Beijing Normal University. After in-depth theoretical analysis and multiple visits and investigations, "creating sustainable development villages together: Teacher Training manual" was developed; following continual trial and revision, it was published in 2017 by Beijing Normal University Press.
Based on the framework of this training manual, China Zigen has held three consecutive teacher training sessions in Beijing Normal University. Nearly 150 seed teachers have been directly trained. They have returned to the project counties for secondary training, successively in Hebei Qinglong, Hebei Fengning, Hebei Baixiang, Hebei Longyao, Inner Mongolia Linxi, Guizhou Rongjiang, Yunnan Yulong, Hubei Xinzhou, Henan Lankao, Gansu Dongxiang, and Sichuan Wangcang; 15 districts and counties have trained nearly 3000 rural teachers and supported 74 schools to become Green Eco schools, among which 21 schools have been selected as the UNESCO ESD experimental schools in China. In 2020, Zigen will complete the goal of establishing 100 Green Eco schools.