To commence the Korean Development Institute School Seminar on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Development Policy, the opening address was delivered by KDIS acting President, Yong-Seong Kim, tracing the order of affairs in which the seminar would unfold. President Yong-Seong Kim began by stressing a sense of pride with which KDIS participated in the seminar aimed to share the global benchmark on SDGs and Development Crisis in both Education and Research Perspectives.
The seminar was divided into two sessions. The first session on “Development Education” was led by Professor Booyuel Kim, KDI School of Public Policy and Management – Sejong, South Korean, and Professor Chengzhi Yin, School of Public Policy and Management of Tshingua University – Beijing, China. The second session addressing “Development Research” was led by Professor Woo Sik Moon, Seoul National University, alongside two presenters: Jesus Felipe, Advisor at the Asian Development Bank and Professor Alistair Munro, National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies –Tokyo, Japan. Each session was followed by a discussion panel, accommodating experienced speakers from other reputable institutions.
As revealed by President Yong-Seong Kim, the seminar centered on answering two core questions related to the SDGs:
- “How can we educate development practitioners and researchers to be prepared to design and implement integrated solutions to conduct sustainable development?”
- “How can we conduct research and policies to replace and support the implementation of development?”
In accordance with the International Commission on Education and Development, the practice of sustainable development faces two main barriers threatening its prosperity. Specifically, lack of comprehensive and systematic training of the core competencies required by an effective practitioner and, the lack of generalist professionals trained across different fields that can recognize these inter-related challenges and know how to address them.
Given present challenges and conditions, social responsibility is a key instrument towards attaining sustainable development, thus the International Commission suggested several recommendations to minimize these limitations, predominately within the educational spheres:
- Establishment of the four competencies of sustainable development practices – Social Science, Management, Natural Science and Health Science
- Launch a global network program
- Educational curriculum to include cross-disciplinary courses, with basic core courses
- Practical learning through project, exercises and case study
- Organized Global learning resources
- Field training (hands-on-experience)
As members of the Global Network Program, KDI School of Public Policy and Management and School of Public Policy and Management of Tshingua University, Professor Kim Booyuel Kim and Professor Chengzhi Yin shed light on the respective contributions made by each institution incorporated within the school’s curriculum.
According to Professor Booyuel Kim, KDIS’s strength rests on the disciplines of social science and management, limiting its coverage on the two remaining branches. Ergo, KDIS strategizes to specialize in development education through its strengths by focusing on Korean Development as a case study, whilst emphasizing practical learning as a platform for the knowledge sharing program of KDIS. Simultaneously, covering the domain on-field training, KDIS promotes several internship opportunities and field programs in partnership with multiple organizations such as The African Development Bank and Asian Foundation Fellowship to its students. Inclusively, for students who work in the public sector in their respective countries, the school bestows opportunities for students to visit and work in several Korean public institutions, for a given timeframe.
Meanwhile, according to Professor, Chengzhi Yin, a memorandum between Tshingua University and the University of Geneva was signed in January 2017 “on comprehensive cooperation on SDGs”. A partnership centered on joint training for students, advanced joint research and construction of an SDGs research center to harbor the recommendations of the International Commission. Through this partnership, Tshingua University aims to initiate a program specializing in interdisciplinary research at a global scale. In addition, Tshingua University prepares to launch its Dual Master Degree Program in September of 2018. An interdisciplinary Master Program pivot on the UN SDGs hosted by both universities through an exchange program fostering theoretical understanding and practical field experience designed to “prepare students for employment on sustainable development projects”.
Titled “An Introduction to the Product Space and Complexity”, Advisor Jesus Felipe, from the Asian Development Bank, defined Product Space as “a graphical representation of all products exported, based on Network Theory” and Complexity as “a metric that summarizes two key dimensions of Structural Transformation, diversification and uniqueness”. Two tools and metrics furnishing the understanding on why some nations still lag behind in terms of development whereas, other economies such as South Korea have developed rapidly. Listing several Structural Transformations, Advisor Jesus Felipe underlined two main points for growth and developments; transfer of resources to higher productivity activities and production in terms of products and specific capabilities.
Addressing “Field Experiment: Causality and Credibility” Professor Alistar Munro emphasized the importance of field experiment in relation to how policy design and evaluation are carried out in many countries nowadays. Hence, he began by introducing several field experiments to pinpoint the purpose of conducting research, various types of research and six main issues of policy experiments in specific. The issues include Ethics, Sponsor Interference, Selection, Experiment demand/Hawthrone effects, General equilibrium effects and Black box. In summation, Professor Alistar Munros’ main argument divulged that anyone, with the right resources and understanding on research, is in a position to carry out a research experiment. Nonetheless, it is essential that we design meaningful studies that serve to benefit and impact societies.
In conclusion, the seminar on SDGs granted students and participants unique opportunities to gain inside knowledge as to what varies organizations are currently doing to meet the SDGs, and most importantly how they can best prepare themselves to cast their own individual contributions.