Protect our common home: Obiora Ike on mainstreaming the environment into sustainable development

3rd February 2022

This week, was proud to be present at the 2nd International Conference on Israel Development and Sustainability Experience 2022 hosted by the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) in collaboration with the Association for Israeli Cultural Studies. The event, held between 2 to 4 February, is centred on the theme of Mainstreaming the Environment into Sustainable Development and learning from Israel’s experience as “a superpower of sustainability”.

It was with great pleasure that Executive Director Obiora Ike joined the conference as a guest speaker yesterday. After congratulating those present for their work on a growing Israeli-Nigerian relationship and paying respects to the UNN as a best-in-class institute, Obiora addressed the theme at hand:

“The topic is not only current but is the biggest challenge for humanity - we must ensure that our “common home” is guarded and protected.”

When we talk about the environment, we don’t just mean our ecosystem in terms of physical geography, continued Obiora. Our environment also includes social and political spaces, the world of technology, the spiritual world, the world of culture and traditions. We cannot simply take a scientific approach to sustainable development.

Think about it in terms of the UNN, he reasoned. This big institution has education as its vocation, but we cannot think about education without thinking about what the term implies. Education has its roots in the passing on of knowledge that adds value to its society and environment.

Quoting Socrates that “virtue is knowledge”, Obiora continued: without this value-adding knowledge, people act ignorantly and wrongly as they do not know the consequences of their actions. They cut down trees, pollute the air and water, kill animals, and so on, without awareness of their impact on the environment.

Knowledge, education, is essential: for this reason, the UN launched its Sustainable Development Goals in 2015, the fourth of which specifically aims to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education for all.

As the leading ethics institute, works not only to embed ethics in education, but also in health, business, and politics. Obiora shared with conference participants the definition of the ETHICS acronym that the organisation has as its core mission: Empowerment, Transformation, Holistic approach, Integrity, Competence, Sustainability. By empowering people with knowledge of ethics, is facilitating integrity and competencies that lead to sustainability and societal transformation.

Concluding his presentation, Obiora once again congratulated the UNN for their knowledge and desire to work with people around the globe, specifically with Israel in the case of this conference, to deliver the value that our “common home”, Planet Earth, so desperately needs. He went on to remind participants of the wealth of resources that has to offer that can empower and support the UNN in addressing the issues at hand.

The Library holds over 3 million books, journals and documents that can add value to research and action towards sustainability. Academy’s courses and our research workgroups equally provide numerous opportunities for further studies for academic staff and students alike.

Conference attendees, the UNN and the wider community are all encouraged to join the network and make use of our resources so that together we can protect our “common home” and achieve the UN’s SDGs.

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