Camilo José Cela University hosted a symposium on its Almagro campus in Madrid, ‘Sustainable Development Goals and Childhood’, presenting the latest UNICEF study on the current situation of childhood and the Sustainable Development Agenda for 2030 in Spain.
Carmelo Angulo, President of UNICEF’s Spanish Committee, began the event with a talk praising the SEK Group’s relationship with UNICEF. “SEK Schools were UNICEF’s first “Child-friendly schools” in Spain, and our relationship with Camilo José Cela University began over 10 years ago with the SEKMUN project”, Angulo continued, highlighting how SEKMUN “lets the United Nations leave an impression on the spirits of young people.”
Turning to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Carmelo Angulo made it clear that for UNICEF, “education is the key to opportunities”, and that one of its main goals is to be able to offer “a quality education for all the boys and girls on the planet.”
“We can’t pass up the opportunity to make a real change in our societies,” Angulo asserted, ending his talk with a statement of intent: “We want to make the end of child poverty into the end of world poverty.”
Sonsoles Escribano, Councillor and Director of Teaching Staff at Camilo José Cela University, spoke next, thanking UNICEF for choosing UCJC for the presentation of its latest study on childhood and sustainable development in Spain. “This is a university space open to debate, and we see sustainability as a broad and immediate concept.”
Escribano also expressed her hope that “our education model might reach everyone in the world, as we share UNICEF’s vision, horizon and desire to change the world through education.”
“Building the Future”
Maite Pacheco, Director of Children’s Awareness and Policies, UNICEF Spain, presented the report ‘Building the Future: Childhood and the Sustainable Development Agenda for 2030 in Spain’, which analyses the progress and the remaining challenges of the 2030 Agenda for Spain’s children.
“The 2030 Agenda is a political opportunity for Spain and a route map for public policies”, Pacheco emphasised, saying that she considers it essential to find a consensus on sustainability in education, as well as encouraging dialogue on multiple levels – central, regional and local – and in multiple sectors.
The report shows that Spain has great results in the prevention of suicide and the treatment of mental disorders among adolescents, wide coverage of educational services and very low levels of school bullying and child homicide. In these aspects, Spain’s results are well above the European average.
Spain is at the European average level in the malnutrition of adolescents at home and the concentration of particles in the environment (with limits within the guidelines of the World Health Organisation). However, in terms of monetary poverty and the capacity to reduce it through public transfers, decent jobs and the growth of employment, and the reduction of inequality, the results of these sectors position Spain below the average.
Finally, UNICEF’s conclusions on the results of the study are both positive and negative. In the words of Maite Pacheco: “We may be the first generation that abolishes poverty, but we may also be the last to still have a chance to save the planet.”
Concha Canoyra, Corporate Director General of the SEK Education Group, closed the symposium by underlining the value of SEK’s commitment to solidarity, and in particular, to UNICEF. She recalled that in 2004 “we became the first ‘Child-Friendly School’ in Spain”, and that over these years it has benefited over 56,000 school students in the Senegalese region of Kolda.
Canoyra also reminded attendees that the SEK Group “has just become the first ‘UNICEF Corporate Ally’ school in Spain”, an agreement that will enable multiple actions to contribute to a quality education for everyone in the world.