Sustainable development or sustainability, understood as the use of natural resources in a rational and efficient way giving them the value they have, and being aware of their limitations, is today one of the most important social ideals and values of our society. This involves, among other things, a development that seeks to improve the quality of life of both current and future generations, balancing the economic, social and environmental dimensions, promoting social progress and protecting the environment.
European, Spanish and Canarian policies consider sustainable development and sustainability not only as a mode of action, but as a philosophy of life comparable to health, education or social services. European policies such as Europe 2020 include research, innovation and energy within the five measurable targets by 2020; national policies through the Spanish Strategy for sustainable development shows, in a context of systemic crisis, the need to find a new development model for the future that is truly sustainable in three dimensions: economic, social and environmental; finally, the lines of regional development focus on the smart specialization strategy in the Canary Islands.
Today, promoting green and sustainable growth is a need and an absolute priority, which in the particular case of the Canary Islands is further accentuated considering not only the importance in any society, but also the fundamental role played by being an island region energetically isolated from other areas and with limited resources that must be managed efficiently. In addition, this insularity also assumes the presence of a number of special and unique conditions that make the Canarian territory to be conceived as a place of research, development, testing and production technologies and products related to the green economy, waste management, management of power nets, water purification and desalination, with the criteria of maximum energy efficiency and zero discharge, etc.
All this is in line with the strengthening of scientific and technological capacity to carry out this sustainable development, with special emphasis on collaboration between research institutions, universities, the private sector, governments, non-government institutions and scientists, especially in our island territory. In fact, for peripheral regions, in the study entitled "Growth factors in the ultra-peripheral regions", emerging sectors based on the advantages of these regions are identified; biodiversity and marine ecosystems, the potential for production of renewable energy and agro-environmental or climate advanced research are highlighted, fundamental aspects of sustainable development that demand outstanding leading research and innovation that contributes to real sustainable development.
Therefore, the Institute for Environmental Studies and Natural Resources fits perfectly into this sustainable philosophy, becoming a regional, national and international reference that contributes effectively and energetically to research, innovation and the development and sustainable growth of the Canary Islands.
In this context, the general objectives of i-UNAT are:
• to carry out quality research, generating and disseminating scientific knowledge, integrated into national and international networks of excellence with its development in the policy areas of environmental quality and natural resources.
• to educate, train and raise awareness of professionals and society about the ideas, actions and behaviors that lead to the improvement of our environment and to preserve our natural resources.
• to apply the knowledge generated to an appropriate control of environmental quality and proper management of natural resources. In this sense, i-UNAT offers its knowledge and experience to public and private institutions, combining professional pragmatism with scientific and academic rigor.
• to work for integration, innovation and sustainable economic development in the conservation of the environment and natural resources.
• to participate in both national and international environmental research networks.