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"Universities in the Commitment to the Sustainability of the Environment and the Protection of the Rights of Mother Earth" - Dr. Mynor René Cordón y Cordón

"Universities in the Commitment to the Sustainability of the Environment and the Protection of the Rights of Mother Earth" - Dr. Mynor René Cordón y Cordón

Actually after listening to the beautiful ladies and their eloquence, and the way women speak, they have a more loving language, well, to be one among four women is not the most eloquent; So stay with the part of the love that they manifested, and I'm going to tell you something about the last thing that was said, which is the organization.

I want you to put it here ... and I'm going to see what happens ... so that you can realize what it was that I wanted to say, but time does not allow it. However, we have turned in the speech and we are going to ask those who help us with the slides, we pass the slides a little quickly to see the content of everything,  and then I will say a few things only.

There has been a lot of talk about that, but  talk of raising awareness is, I think what we are doing here today. But if we really are aware of this, then we are going to work when we return in what we do (in what we normally do), from the family, the educational institution or the company; we will work to build peace and to really identify with this project of protection of Mother Earth.

Then some concepts that are known - but only to remember them, to have them there - related to development. And I think we should reflect on what it says there.

Then also reflect on the dimensions of sustainable development. There was already the concept previously, but let us remember those dimensions of sustainable development, which is:

  • the conservation of the environment,
  • appropriate development (which does not affect ecosystems),
  • peace,
  • equality and respect for human rights, and
  • democracy.

And there are some premises that have already been discussed today:

  • the planet is finite, with a species that consumes excessively; some consume in an excessive way, others do not have anything to eat, but that is one of the premises;
  • natural resources are likely to be depleted; and
  • economic activity greedy for wealth is really leading to destruction.

And then we would have to make some rules:

  • do not use renewable resources at a faster rate than its regeneration;
  • do not produce pollutants at a higher rate than their recycling, neutralization or absorption by the environment; and
  • not to take advantage of nonrenewable resources faster than necessary, to replace it with a renewable one for sustainable use.

And then that image (which we have seen throughout the event), the image of the Sustainable Development Goals, the 17 Objectives with 164 goals and more than 300 indicators. We will not dwell on what has been done, but the world report on Human Development 2013, which speaks of human progress in a diverse world...are some of the things that have been done, what we see there.

There we see that the considerations for projects with a sustainable development approach must consider the ecological, economic, and social. The economic and the social, that interaction makes it bearable; the economic and the ecological: viable; and economic and social: equitable.

Then there are some educational actions that we are doing. I believe that all of us present here,  you are doing something from this here, to develop awareness in the population.

That is Atitlan Lake in Guatemala, it has three volcanoes in the background: the Tolimán volcano, the San Pedro volcano and the Atitlán volcano. At some point it was proposed as one of the wonders of the world, but now it is being contaminated, it is worrisome. We already have a lake that reached the extreme, the lake of Amatitlán - very close to the city of Guatemala; and now this beautiful lake is also suffering from pollution.

A mayor of one of the ... here are twelve municipalities; and the names of the municipalities bear the name of the apostles. Then the mayor of San Pedro, Atitlán (I read the news the previous week), established by law ... Well, he realized that what came in the rain  to the lake (from the garbage of the streets) was plastic. But in tremendous amounts. He then determined that no more products were to be sold in plastic bags; and that we had to return to the basket of our grandmothers to go to the market and buy and store in the basket. That is there in Atitlan, at the foot of that volcano.

These are measures that they sometimes take, that are ... it was discussed whether certain things should be established by law or not; sometimes yes, right? Well, there are opponents and there was a controversy there, and it's going to get to Congress; Guatemalan paisanos of the Congress of the Republic, and there is also the President of the Association of Lawyers and Notaries of Guatemala, Dr. Sagastume; and well, we are all becoming aware, and we have to do something when we return. And one of the things to do is to see how this, which is established by law, becomes accepted by the people once they understand what it means to lose their lake.

A little bit on the Central American Integration process. That is very important because we have the SICA (I do not know how many know the SICA). The SICA is the Central American Integration System, and was created back in 1991.

But let's go to the flow chart, I want to see an issue there; if you go there at the top.

The governing body is the meeting  of Presidents and Heads of State of Central America, and there are resolutions there that are important in various issues. In this issue that concerns us, there are resolutions that have to come from there; and then through the Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs, is where all this is going to be channeled and will be executed by the Executive Secretary.

But I want us to stop at a body that is there, next to the General Secretary, and there, is the Consultative Committee of the Central American Integration System, the CC-SICA; and the Consultative Committee of the Central American Integration System, currently includes 34 organizations of Central American civil society.

And they are there - in the Consultative Committee - as part of civil society - not on the outside - the business sector, the labor sector, the academic sector and all other civil society organizations within the framework of Central American Institutions.

Within these associations: women, young people, indigenous people, Afro-descendants, people with special abilities, small and medium-size entrepreneurs (besides the small and medium-sized enterprises organized in chambers, there are small and medium businesses), there are also sectors of the social economy, cooperatives and specific sectors such as the fishing sector, etc.

So, there are 34 Central American civil society organizations on the Advisory Committee; and as its name implies, it is a consultation body of the system.

The system then consults this body and the body does the studies and gives a response; and when they do not consult it, it also makes a proposal to the system regarding the most pressing problems in the region.

So that is very important to know, that in Central America, then, there is the Central American Integration System. And if you realize, next to the meeting of Presidents (which is the highest body), you see the Central American Parliament, and there is the Central American Court of Justice; so that the three state agencies are represented there. Our States have these three agencies as their governing body, and they are represented there.

Now, of course, that is organization, as it was well said before; it does not mean that the System works ... No, the system has many problems, but it exists; and when there is a body that exists, one must know that it exists, know how it is constituted and know how to take advantage of what - the space that the System gives.

Well, in the academic sector, in the CC-SICA, within the System, there are public universities, but there is also a body ... that's where I work, the Central American University Higher Council [by its Spanish acronym CSUCA]; the Confederation of Universities of Central America, or rather; whose governing body is the Central American University Superior Council.

So, there is the academic sector: public universities, but there is also a body called AUPRIC.

The Confederation of Universities of Central America includes the 21 public universities of Central America and the Dominican Republic; one of them is the UDELAS. UDELAS is one of the universities of CSUCA. And they already told us something that the UDELAS does, multiply the UDELAS by 21, and then we will see what CSUCA does.

And it has -within so many programs- ... there decisions are made in the field of research, teaching and university extension, regarding the most pressing problems in the region; and within these, the problem that concerns us today.

And there is a program - which I will only mention it - it is called the PRIDCA; and PRIDCA is the Regional Program for the Reduction of Disaster Risk in Central America; ... and it is a program that has already passed the first phase, we are now in the second phase; and up to now we have developed 22 projects to incorporate integrated risk management and adaptation to climate change, the curricula, 17 applied research projects for these fields, 14 university extension projects for the same field, and 7 university safety projects.

The CSUCA has declared the year 2016 as the year for Mother Earth; and that was approved at the 105th Extraordinary Session held at the University of San Carlos of Guatemala (Republic of Guatemala) on November 20, 2015.

And that statement (I gave it to the organizers), has its recitals and finally the declaration. And in the recitals there is what we have been working on today - we will not read it because of time constraints - but the end of the declaration reads: AGREES to declare the year 2016 for Mother Earth.

And two images that I think are worth seeing at the end. Before seeing this, when I said: The Confederation, it is the oldest regional integration body that exists, it was created in 1948, later the UDUAL was created, which is the Union of Universities of Latin America; and with specific themes a body already there: the Latin American Union of University Extension, which covers the countries of South America, and we are working together on all this theme..

Archimedes said ... you know that expression, everyone here present knows it: "Give me a foothold and I will move the world." And here we are having a very important foothold to develop a global movement in favor of peace.

And the Popol Vuh (the sacred book of the Quiche) says that everyone should get up, call everyone, that there is not a group or two groups among us that is behind the others.

Thank you very much.