Blue Mountains News

MOU Signed to Explore Planetary Health Leadership Options

By Blue Mountains City Council
Posted: 3 Dec 2020
Blue Mountains City Council has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Western Sydney University and the Monash Sustainable Development Institute to explore opportunities to work together on the establishment of a Planetary Health Leadership Centre in Katoomba.

The milestone was announced this week during a webinar about Planetary Health in the Blue Mountains, held to celebrate the 20th anniversary of UNESCO granting the Greater Blue Mountains region World Heritage status.

Blue Mountains Mayor Mark Greenhill said the MOU will enable the parties to explore the development of a learning, research and experiential lab at the former Katoomba Golf Clubhouse site with a visitor trail linking it to a hub in Katoomba Town Centre.

“The signing of the MOU this week, to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the World Heritage status announcement, is fitting. Planetary Health is a global imperative. It resonates with the people of the Blue Mountains, but it is a matter for all people globally.”

Blue Mountains City Council Chief Executive Officer Dr Rosemary Dillon said: “The Council’s overall objective is to build a sustainable and successful future for the Blue Mountains and for us to be recognised nationally and internationally as a model for sustainable living.

“The Planetary Health Leadership Centre is in its formative planning stage, but we have many excited universities, organisations and community groups all wanting to be involved.  This opportunity has significant benefits for the Blue Mountains in the short, medium and long term.”

The MOU states: “As one of only two cities in the world being within a UNESCO declared World Heritage Area, the Council recognises its stewardship responsibility in managing the City sustainably within a landscape of global biodiversity and ecosystem significance. Within this context, BMCC seeks to collaborate and enter into ventures with tertiary institutions, such as WSU, Monash University, SDSN Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific, and other organisations, to support establishment of a Planetary Health Leadership Centre, with associated hub, lab, and connecting trail, that would provide a range of local, regional, national, and international research, learning, and experiential benefits. The Planetary Health Leadership Centre would advance knowledge about planetary health and promote sustainable living, environmental science, climate change adaptation, and bushfire management for example, and their impact on the Blue Mountains World Heritage Area and its unique biodiversity.”

The Planetary Health Leadership Centre would be established and conducted with the aim of providing local, regional, national, and international benefits, including:·        

  • A reinvigorated sustainability model for the region based on the principles of planetary health.
  • A substantive forum for BMCC, academics, local stakeholders, and global theorists and practitioners to be in meaningful dialogue about the practicalities of enacting transitions to cultures of planetary health.
  • Undertaking research and promoting the development of strategies to improve the environmental health of the planet and to respond to the challenges of climate change, natural disaster, bushfire, and other processes which threaten sustainable living.
  • Emulating the persona of the Blue Mountains as a unique place that fosters a culture of diverse, high quality creative endeavour as a City of the Arts.
  • Centre projects that promote the achievement of quadruple bottom line outcomes (social, environmental, economic, and civic leadership).
  • An innovative approach in design and development concepts that would assist the people and government of Australia to achieve beneficial development outcomes that contribute to planetary health.
  • Local benefits to the City of Blue Mountains through the contribution that the establishment and ongoing operation of the Centre and ancillary activities could make to local job creation, economic and social recovery from bushfires and COVID-19.

Western Sydney University states its objectives in the MOU as: “The University's mission is to be a university of international standing and outlook, achieving excellence through scholarship, teaching, learning, research, and service to local and international communities, beginning with the people of Greater Western Sydney. In articulating this mission, the University is committed to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and was ranked 3rd in the world against these in the 2020 Times Higher Education Supplement's global university rankings. The University is research-led and student-centred, seeking to provide exemplary learning experiences to students and prepare them as future leaders and visionary thinkers.”

The Monash Sustainable Development Institute states its objectives as: “As one of the leading interdisciplinary research and education institutes for sustainable development around the globe, Monash Sustainable Development Institute is driven to find real solutions to some of the most significant challenges facing our world today. We're bringing together Monash University's leading researchers - the very best of the best - to focus on large-scale, interdisciplinary projects that address global issues aligned to the United Nations' 17 Sustainable Development Goals. With sustainable development including areas as diverse as environmental wellbeing, social inclusion and a more sustainable economy, each of the faculties at Monash has something different - but equally significant - to offer. Which is why we partner with the best individuals from all over the university, along with government, industry and the community. Our research and education initiatives harness the full potential of these partnerships - because we know just how much of a powerful, permanent impact we can make together.”

 
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