On 15 October, 2020, the ProSPER.Net Joint Meetings – the 14th General Assembly and 20th Board Meeting were held online, hosted by UNU-IAS. Close to 50 representatives from the network attended the annual meeting, held virtually this year due to the ongoing pandemic.
The meeting began with opening remarks from Prof. Shinobu Yume Yamaguchi, Director, UNU-IAS, who highlighted ProSPER.Net’s involvement in the High Level Political Forum side events held in July 2020, whereby joint research projects and results of a network-wide COVID-19 survey were presented during those events.
This was followed by welcoming remarks from Ms. Kiyoka Miki, Director, Office of Environmental Education, General Policy Division, Ministry’s Secretariat, Ministry of the Environment, Japan and the outgoing Board Chair, Prof. Norichika Kanie, who expressed the significant role the network plays, and the ever-increasing importance of education and research.
A review of new membership applications resulted in three new members being acknowledged; Sree Sankaracharya University of Sanskrit (India), Sophia University (Japan), and Universiti Teknologi Petronas (Malaysia), bringing the total number of members to 50 – a significant milestone for the network.
An election of new board members for the period 2020-2022 was conducted, with Prof. Deepak Sharma being elected as the New Board Chair for 2020-2022, followed by the appointment of Prof. Miki Sugimura as the Board Vice-Chair for the same period.
Reports on ongoing ProSPER.Net joint projects were delivered by the leading institutions of each project; Disaster Education for Integrating SFDRR and SDG in Asia (led by Asian Institute of Technology), Safe Havens: Relocating SIDS Communities Threatened by Climate Change (led by Kyoto University), and Development of a Framework for the Local Implementation of the SDGs – Phase II (led by Chulalongkorn University), notably detailing how their approaches have had to adapt to the current COVID-19 pandemic. New joint project proposals for this year were also presented, and will be evaluated in due course.
Among other items presented included an overview of ProSPER.Net activities (Leadership Programme, Young Researchers’ School, and Joint Research Projects), dissemination opportunities for members (profile pages and monthly bulletin), as well as ProSPER.Net partners Elsevier and SEAMEO sharing their initiatives and activities.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the shift online for this meeting this year, the original co-hosts for this event, Ateneo de Manila University and the University of the Philippines, will now host the 15th ProSPER.Net General Assembly and 21st Board Meeting in 2021 in Quezon City, the Philippines, followed by a forum on sustainability and resilience. Dates will be announced at a later stage.
The ProSPER.Net Secretariat would like to congratulate the three new members to the network (Sree Sankaracharya University of Sanskrit, Sophia University, and Universiti Teknologi Petronas) and Prof. Deepak Sharma and Prof. Miki Sugimura on their appointments to the Board Chair and Board Vice-Chair roles respectively, as well as thank Prof. Norichika Kanie, the outgoing Board Chair for his contributions over the last four years. The Secretariat would also like to thank all attendees for their active contributions and participation in this meeting.