Reports Focus on Role of Universities in Achieving SDGs
Photo by IISD/ENB | Kiara Worth
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The Sustainable Development Solutions Network has published two reports that address the role of universities in achieving the SDGs.

The first discusses how universities in Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific can accelerate their contributions to the SDGs.

The second describes five roles universities can play in achieving the SDGs and the Paris Agreement and describes the role of SDSN Networks in supporting SDG achievement.

September 2017: The Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) has published two reports that address the role of universities in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The first discusses how universities, higher education institutions and the academic sector in Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific can accelerate their contributions to the SDGs. The second showcases innovative solutions and initiatives undertaken by SDSN’s national and regional networks.

The report titled, ‘Getting Started with the SDGs in Universities: A Guide for Universities, Higher Education Institutions and the Academic Sector,’ highlights the role that universities in Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific play in SDG implementation and provides practical guidance and examples to motivate further action. The guide acknowledges that governments alone cannot implement the SDGs and recognizes that collaboration with the private sector, civil society, universities and educational institutions will be required. The report explains that education and research are explicitly recognized in a number of the SDGs and their targets, with universities able to directly address these targets. The report further underscores universities’ broader contribution to the SDGs, noting universities can support the implementation of every SDG, through learning and teaching, research, organizational governance, culture and operations and external leadership.

Universities can support the implementation of every SDG and engaging with the SDGs can also benefit universities.

Engaging with the SDGs can also benefit universities by helping them to demonstrate impact, increase demand for SDG-related education, build new partnerships, access new funding streams, and “define a university that is responsible and globally aware.” Nine universities in the region have signed a ‘University Commitment to the SDGs.’ In addition, the guide provides guidance on developing a cross-university framework for SDG implementation and presents practical tools such as SDG mapping, reporting, stakeholder engagement and managing interlinkages between the SDGs. A global edition of the guide is currently being developed

A publication titled, ‘SDSN Networks in Action,’ describes five roles universities can play in achieving the SDGs and the Paris Agreement: helping to design SDG-based policies; encouraging SDG-oriented research and development; incubating new sustainable development businesses, such as hosting startup high-tech companies located near university research programmes; SDG-based training of future sustainable development leaders through cross-disciplinary and experiential learning; and fostering multi-stakeholder engagement.

The report describes existing SDSN Networks and their efforts to help achieve the SDGs. SDSN has networks in Amazonia, the Andes, Australia/Pacific, Brazil, the Caribbean, Germany, Great Lakes, Greece, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, the Mediterranean, Nigeria, Northern Europe, the Philippines, the Russian Federation, the Sahel, the Republic of Korea, Southeast Asia, Spain and Turkey. Colombia and Switzerland are expected to launch networks in early 2018. [Landing Page for University and the SDGs Publication] [Publication: Getting Started with the SDGs in Universities] [University Commitment to the SDGs] [Publication: SDG Networks in Action]

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