Gaia Education in partnership with the University of the Balearic Islands and UNESCO GAP conducted a daylong Training for Multipliers on the island of Mallorca bringing together a diverse group of people ranging from the director of the island’s waste incineration and recycling facility, a technician from the Urban Planning department of Palma de Mallorca, social entrepreneurs, professional facilitators, sustainability educators, local council employees, activists, university employees, and concerned citizens aiming to take a more active role in their community’s transition to sustainability.
Throughout the day participants frequently divided into smaller dialogue groups explored the local relevance of particular SDGs within the context of existing projects and identified possible initiatives that could be strengthened or started in order to advance the SDGs implementation on the island.
For example, one group working on SDG 16 (Peace, Justice & Strong Institutions) identified that in the past a system of ‘judges of the peace’ were employed to engage potentially conflicting parties in a process of mediation and restorative justice to avoid local cases actually ending up in court. The proposal was generated to reinstate such practices along with supporting existing offers of mediation and conflict resolution through a more explicit link of these offers to local implementation of SDG 16.
Other areas where participants identified either strong existing initiatives or high potential opportunities for advancing SDG implementation included: increased collaboration between initiatives offering quality education both formal and non-formal (SDG4); improving local water management and awareness, including the creating of a ‘water festival’ in a central park of the city (SDG6), supporting local food growers and markets around the island (SDGs 2 & 3); building on nascent initiatives to promote renewable energy and electric vehicles on the island (SDG7); diversification of the local economy to balance its current dependence on tourism through supporting local innovators (SDG9); working with groups that reinforce the protection of local marine reserves (SDG14), nature reserves and the protection of local biodiversity (SDG15); and a whole host of existing and potential initiatives that could support the transition to more sustainable practices of production and consumption (SDG12) while help to create more local jobs (SDG8); as well as, building on the work of sustainable city projects in Palma and community groups in the outlying villages around the island (SDG11).
The training has lead to ongoing conversations on the island about how to offer a series of such events in Spanish and Catalan through the local teacher training centres and environmental education centre around the island, as well as, to students and staff at the university.