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Representatives from partnering organizations gathered at Washington Place on November 29 to officially announce the United Nations Local2030 Initiative that establishes a hub for local sustainability solutions in Hawai‘i. Pictured (from left) are: Jack Wong, KS CEO; Kazumi Ogawa of the UN; Gov. David Ige; Celeste Connors of Hawai‘i Green Growth; Michael Nolan of the UN; and Kate Brown of the Global Island Partnership.

KS joins partnership around UN initiative to create a more sustainable Hawai‘i

Dec. 3, 2018

Kamehameha Schools and other eco-conscious organizations recently pledged their support of and partnership with the United Nations (UN) Local2030 Initiative to establish a hub for local sustainability solutions in Hawaiʻi.

As one of the founding members of the Hawai‘i Green Growth (HGG) network, KS is helping to guide the development of a more sustainable, resilient Hawai‘i via the Aloha+ Challenge: He Nohona ‘Ae‘oia – A Culture of Sustainability. Other partners include HGG, the UN Global Compact-Cities Programme, UN-Habitat and Global Island Partnership.

This public-private partnership reaffirms the vision and work of the HGG network in action since 2011, and galvanizes the leadership across Hawai‘i in establishing statewide sustainability goals for economic, community and environmental priorities through the Aloha+ Challenge: He Nohona ‘Ae‘oia. The collaborative effort also builds on the Memorandum of Understanding between KS and University of Hawai‘i with HGG to support statewide action on the Aloha+ Challenge education and leadership pathways for keiki and haumāna.

“Hawai‘i exceptionalism, to me, is what this partnership is all about as we integrate culture, knowledge and our ability to work together as a community,” said KS CEO Jack Wong. “Our keiki are our future. We need this hub because it offers our keiki a pathway, a portal, to succeed. Through the hub, we can create pathways from the lo‘i kalo to the United Nations – bringing Hawai‘i solutions to the world, and the world to Hawai‘i to learn, share and exchange best practices.”

The partnership was celebrated at a signing ceremony at Washington Place on November 29, and the following day, a work session was held at KS Kapālama’s Ka‘iwakīloumoku Hawaiian Cultural Center as participants discussed progress and potential issues affecting communities around the globe.

“We are honored to launch a partnership that recognizes statewide efforts to strengthen our lands, our waters and our food production,” said Gov. David Ige. “We know that climate change is real and demands immediate attention. I believe Hawai‘i is and continues to be a global leader in sustainability. When we work together, we can accomplish great things.”

The HGG Local2030 hub will make it possible for partners to share Hawai‘i’s legacy of systems thinking, values and indigenous wisdom with the world. This process is critical as the global community grapples with the serious and immediate threat of climate change and some of the most pressing challenges of our time, and addresses those issues by intertwining culture, technology, policy, and innovation.

“As a local girl, I appreciate the power of community,” said Kazumi Ogawa, UN Habitat’s head of the office of the executive director. “What happens here through this partnership can represent sustainable solutions to implement worldwide.”

As partners met about and discussed the innovative partnership, it was clear that the mauka-to-makai, sustainable systems utilized by Native Hawaiians can be scaled to employ on a global level. By “exporting” these concepts and practices, more partnerships can be fostered through the “Island World View.”

Master Navigator Nainoa Thompson recently provided a new perspective on tourism, which was discussed at last week’s summit: what if each tourist visiting the Islands was viewed as a student, and Hawai‘i serves as the classroom in which cultural and sustainable practices are taught? This and other out-of-the-box approaches brought to light through the partnership represent fresh ideas that can grow global roots.

“We are a unique group of islands and a piko, a hub…that pulls people together through connections and cooperation,” said Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell. “If we can do this in our small canoe in the middle of the Pacific, there is hope.”

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