At a workshop held in 2000 at Purdue University to identify mutual interests in projects and associations, Drs. Rodrigo Tarte and Guillermo Castro, from the City of Knowledge; James Vorst, from Purdue University; and Russell Mullen, from Iowa State University, envisioned the creation of an Ecosystems Management Institute, whose mission would be to promote sustainable human environments with an interdisciplinary and integrated focus for decision-making. By 2002, the concept had evolved into the International Center for Sustainable Development (CIDES). It was presented as an official proposal by the Panamanian government at the World Summit for Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, South Africa, and accepted within the frame of strategic alliance initiatives, promoted by the Summit’s Secretary, and supported by an Action Plan agreed upon by participating countries.
In 2003, the “International Workshop for the Organization of CIDES” takes place, with substantial participation from the City of Knowledge Foundation, the Ministry of the Presidency, the Ministry of Foreign Relations, and the Panama Canal Authority, amongst other high-level Panamanian government entities. On April 11, 2005, CIDES is granted International Organization status, with headquarters in the Republic of Panama.
Today, more than 70 international Affiliated Members share CIDES’ mission –with a comprehensive portfolio of plans, projects, and agreements– to become an incubator for sustainable development projects and knowledge management initiatives. CIDES keeps working on the integration the social, economic, policy, and environmental dimensions by executing capacity building, research, and information exchange activities, as well as on the promotion of harmonious participation between multiple sectors of society.