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Bihar (tomorrow, in Basque) drowns in the Bilbao estuary, near the Zubizuri bridge. Only on days when the tide is out, the girl’s face emerges and breathes. It lives. The sculpture created by the Mexican Rubén Orozco symbolizes the future of those born today: drowned or alive. “It depends on the decisions we make in the present,” remarked Xavier Sagredo, president of BBK, the entity behind the initiative. He said it at the inauguration this Monday of the House of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) BBK Kuna, where the foundation of the finance company will give shelter to initiatives, projects and innovative ideas that prevent Bihar from sinking.
“I am truly concerned about what is happening in our society, and in the world in general. Each one goes to his own way ”, Bihar, played by the young actress Gabriela Patilla, has questioned from a screen. And she has reason to be restless. According to the “plausible” projections of the expert Jordi Serra, the life of the girl could be catastrophic in just 30 years: without access to education, with a shared job (and also the salary), poor health due to the lack of water and air pollution, and other disasters reflected in the short film Bihar: Choosing Tomorrow, released a month ago. “Future generations depend on us, if we sink or float,” insisted Sagredo.
In order to make the right decisions and save the Bihar generation from a probable apocalyptic world, the House of the SDGs has officially opened its doors with a triple strategy: training, citizen participation and the collaboration of different organizations (NGOs , companies, academia) for research and action towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. Eider Inunciaga Serna, director of BBK Kuna, explains it like this: “We want to be the place where society’s agents work together to solve humanity’s problems.”
In a walk through the building designed by Ricardo Bastida in 1914 in the center of Bilbao, Inunciaga explains that the space was initially a nursery and that today, renovated with sustainable criteria and materials, it will continue with the tradition of serving society. “It is open to citizens,” he assures. This week, in which its premiere is made official, visitors will be able to attend a set of activities, including round tables on the 2030 Agenda, but also concerts, exhibitions and dance shows. The start this Monday, has had a large presence of political representatives, led by the Lehendakari, Iñigo Urkullu, and the mayor of Bilbao, Juan Mari Aburto.
We want to be the place where the agents of society work together to solve the problems of humanity
Eider Inunciaga Serna, Director of BBK Kuna
In the months in which the space has already been operational, although the pandemic has delayed its presentation, the House of the ODS has created a Neighborhood Advisory Council, made up of 21 neighbors chosen by lottery from among the 100 candidates who presented themselves. “They decided what would be done with the urban environment that surrounds the building,” Inunciaga details. For the youngest, BBK Kuna has offered other types of experiences to raise awareness about the UN 2030 Agenda. “The Future Game poses challenges such as living with a liter of water a day or traveling around the city in a wheelchair. With their answers, analyzed by artificial intelligence, the participants win years for the planet ”, explains the person in charge. The game, he continues, is intended to make the proposals feasible and scalable.
With the same purpose of transcending the theoretical plane, BBK Kuna Lab has promoted the creation of an alliance of 83 organizations – NGOs, university chairs, public bodies, small companies and large companies – to integrate the SDGs into their activities.
“We also have an institute that investigates to identify the challenges to which we can respond,” notes Inunciaga. Once the challenges have been prioritized by this body, led by the Navarrese philosopher Daniel Innerarity, BBK Kuna will open, next December, calls for different entities to present their projects to solve them. “The proposals have to be from different organizations that work in consortium. We will provide them with the space and the financing ”, he adds. “And they have to be research and action projects, so that we don’t just focus on ‘we have to do’, in words, but rather that they become something tangible, that means a real solution, and if it is replicable and scalable, it will have more points. ”.
Sagredo, who defines himself as a “believer” in sustainable development and “defender of social cohesion around the world”, also underlines the “selfish” argument from a commercial point of view to promote the SDGs for a more just world, equitable and sustainable by 2030: “As a company, I want to have more potential customers in the world who can buy a product that I offer. I prefer that everyone does better so that we can all open delegations and that there are no areas where you will never think to go because there are not good conditions ”.
In this sense, the president of BBK is determined to generalize the concept of “sustainable competitiveness” which, in his words, maintains the objective of seeking a cheaper price, but that respects certain social, environmental and governance criteria. “If we establish guidelines in companies that in the long run cause a poorer economy, I don’t know who is going to sustain the welfare state that we have,” he reflects.
“We believe that if all of us behaved around certain criteria, we would be better off. We do not have the solutions, but we want to be the space where everyone can collaborate to find them ”, notes Inunciaga. Although the studies and responses have a local character, the director of BBK Kuna underlines the global vocation of the mission of this new institution. “We take the UN roadmap as our own. We located the 2030 Agenda for the achievement of the SDGs at the local level. This is how we contribute progress to achieve the indicators at a global level ”.
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