Donostia Sustainability Forum closes the cycle of open conferences by internationally renowned scientists and experts, with a very positive balance

The main event of this edition has been a dialogue organized by the BBVA Foundation, between the BBC's environment correspondent Matt McGrath (BBVA Foundation Biophilia Award 2019) and Pedro Jordano (CSIC Research Professor). They have emphasised the importance of communication in the fight against climate change, as well as addressing the challenge of communicating with passion, enthusiasm and clear examples.

In addition, 5 speeches open to the public have been offered:


  • Salman Khan (Princess of Asturias Award for International Cooperation 2019) and Javier Aizpurua (Researcher of the Materials Physics Centre, CSIC-UPV/EHU) have discussed how to educate towards sustainability.
  • As for the health crisis we are experiencing, Raphael Bengoa (SI-Health director) has established the link between environmental degradation and the pandemic, and has noticed the absence of this conviction in several governments. Moreover, he has emphasised that the establishment of this link will be one of the tasks of the Pan-European Commission on Health and Sustainable Development, created within and member of the United Nations.
  • As for the energy transition, Enrique Monasterio (head of Development and Innovation at the Basque energy organisation EVE) has emphasised the importance of consumers in the transition to renewable energy, because during the transition, they will become managers of the electricity that will be produced and spent individually or in the community. Enrique Monasterio has talked about a new energy revolution in which the source will be renewable electricity.
  • As for the primary sector, Arantza Aldezabal (researcher of the UPV/EHU) has emphasised the importance of maintaining the balance between the exploitation of natural resources and the preservation of nature.
  • In particular, regarding the preservation of nature, María José Sanz (scientific director of BC3) has noted the causes and effects of climate change as a basis for mitigating the consequences. According to the director of BC3, we need to reflect on how we want to live and what well-being means, to conclude that we need to make changes to protect nature and biodiversity and to mitigate climate change. Maria Jose Sanz has emphasised that there are several ways to combat global warming, many of which also serve to combat the current pandemic or new crises that may occur in the future. The COVID crisis may be a lever to intensify the climate crisis, and vice versa.

The contents of the open conferences are available on the online platform of the Donostia Sustainability Forum and on the UPV/EHU Summer Courses Foundation’s social media platforms.

 In addition to the open speeches, 25 Summer Courses have been held in different modalities (in-person, online and live online). Several topics have been discussed in these courses, such as the care of the biosphere reserve, sustainable architecture, city mobility, or energy efficiency in the context of environmental sustainability. In terms of society, the ideas that have been emphasised are: the importance of sustainability-based education in all stages of education, the revitalization of minority languages, the role of cooperation in local development, the impact of new technologies, or the impact of the 2030 Agenda on policies that are yet to be developed. The 2030 Agenda has also been central to economic sustainability, with a focus on social accounting, corporate social responsibility, circular economy and business opportunities.

As the Summer Courses have been extended until autumn because of the pandemic (more time had to be left between courses), it is still possible to enjoy this meeting point with the courses scheduled until November (www.uik.eus / www.donostiasustainabilityforum.eus).

This platform, supported by the BBVA Foundation and Basque institutions (the Basque Government – IHOBE, Gipuzkoa provincial authority – Naturklima, and the Donostia/San Sebastián city council), will continue to incorporate important content in the field of sustainability and is already working on the 2021 edition of open conferences.