University of the Philippines Los Baños
Tuesday, 05 December 2017 08:24

UPLB hosts first int’l human ecology conference to be held in Asia

The need to strengthen human ecology amid escalating social and environmental changes brought together practitioners and scholars of the discipline at the 22nd International Society for Human Ecology Conference (SHECON 2017) on Nov. 28 to Dec. 1.

For the first time since it was first held in 1985, SHECON was held in Asia this year with the UPLB College of Human Ecology (CHE) as host.

With the theme “Envisioning pathways to just and sustainable futures: celebrating diversity, pursuing integration, and developing livable communities,” SHECON 2017 consisted of plenary talks, paper presentations, workshops, breakout sessions, and exhibits.

During its opening program on Nov. 28, the speakers sounded solidarity in the fight against global issues and challenges. According to them solutions proffered should transcend borders and disciplines, and consider above all their sustainability. 

Dr. Jose Wendell Capili, UP assistant vice president for public affairs, who delivered the message of UP President Danilo L. Concepcion, noted that the international nature of the conference shows that global solidarity is required to face and resolve global challenges.

Chancellor Fernando C. Sanchez Jr., on the other hand, underscored the relevance of the conference in developing transdisciplinary and sustainable solutions to challenges such as the world’s rapidly diminishing resources.

Rodora Babaran, director of Human Development Directorate, ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community, delivered the keynote speech on behalf of His Excellency Vongthep Arthakaivalvakatee, deputy secretary general. It centered on the ASEAN Vision 2025, the Region’s roadmap for development that to some extent complements the sustainable development goals stated in the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. 

Babaran also discussed various issues that plague the ASEAN, including several global megatrends that greatly impact its member states, such as increasing anti-globalization, megacities, and transboundary environmental issues.

Also present during the opening program were Dr. Gil Saguiguit Jr. director of SEARCA; Dr. Robert Dyball, SHE president and professor at the Australian National University; and Dr. Raden Piadozo, SHECON2017 convenor and dean of CHE, who all delivered their respective messages.

The plenary speakers were Dr. Anthony Capon, inaugural professor of Planetary Initiative at the University of Sydney, on health, aging and demographic change; Ranell Dedicatoria, regional program manager of ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability (Southeast Asia), on sustainable cities and landscapes; Stacy Jupiter, director of the Wildlife Conservation Society, on sustainable food and water systems; and Gina Lopez, chairperson of the Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission, on communities in transition. Dr. Robert Kurkjian, principal scientist and program manager at Tetra Tech, delivered a special feature report on the global alliance on health and pollution.

Partnering with UPLB-CHE in organizing SHECON 2017 were the Society for Human Ecology, UPLB-CHE Alumni Association, the Human Ecology Institute of the Philippines, Inc., and SEARCA. (Albert Geoffred B. Peralta, with reports from Jessa Jael S. Arana)