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The mission of the Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships is to support sustainable development in greater Minnesota through community and University partnerships in outreach, education, and research. The three bedrock principles of this initiative are:
- Develop and sustain a richer and more vibrant partnership with the citizens of each region and their land grant university.
- Address agricultural, natural resources, and tourism issues consistent with sustainable development principles identified as central to our work.
- Promote the concept of active citizenship, which calls on us to think first and foremost as citizens with a commitment to working through issues and exploring opportunities in an integrated and democratic manner.
We are also guided by principles of sustainability -- what can help us meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. These principles were drawn from the 1996 Minnesota Roundtable on Sustainable Development, the Governor's statewide sustainability initiative. More specifically, sustainability for the Regional Partnerships means:
- Interdependence of Global and Local Decisions - Economic prosperity, ecosystem health and social justice are linked and our long-term well-being depends upon the nature and quality of all three. Local decisions benefit by being informed about regional, state, and global contexts.
- Stewardship - We are all caretakers of the environment and economy for the benefit of present and future generations. Minnesotans must make wise, efficient, and effective use of our renewable and non-renewable resources so that communities prosper and nature regenerates itself. Working in partnership with one another, we must balance the impact of today's decisions with the needs of future generations.
- Measuring our Effectiveness - We benefit by identifying and implementing clear goals and measurable indicators of our progress toward long-term economic and social prosperity, community vitality, cultural diversity, and healthy ecosystems. So long as they are based on reliable information, indicators are an important means for measuring the impacts of our actions and for guiding planning and public policy.
- Shared Responsibility - All Minnesotans share responsibility for sustaining their communities, environment and economy. No entity has the right to shift costs of its behavior to other individuals, communities, states, nations, or future generations. We must implement tools that take into account the full costs of our actions and the full benefits of our community and environmental assets. Full cost accounting is essential for assuming shared responsibility.
These sustainability principles are embodied in the Sustainability Policy adopted by the Board of Regents in June 2004. Several University units are involved in the Sustainable U effort, a common identity for partners organizations such as the Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture and the Institute for Social, Economic and Environmental Sustainability (ISEES).
In summary, consistent with these bedrock and sustainability principles, the RSDP were created to accomplish the following comprehensive goals:
- Establish partnerships between the University of Minnesota and Minnesotans in a community and citizen-driven process for identifying and addressing local, regional, and statewide agricultural, natural resources, tourism, environmental, societal, and economic issues.
- Employ a systems perspective on interactive environmental, societal, and economic issues whenever possible.
- Direct research, education, and outreach resources of the University of Minnesota to meet agreed-upon local, regional, and statewide needs.
- Increase community input and access to, involvement in, and the utilization of, the research, education, and outreach capacity of the University of Minnesota.
- Preserve and strengthen agricultural and natural resources systems for the benefit and worth of the citizenry while enhancing environmental quality and nurturing rural communities.