Edition 212 - December 2018

IAU puts universities together to step-up UN Agenda 2030

The International Association of Universities (IAU) has recently launched a Global Cluster on Higher Education and Research for Sustainable Development (HESD). The aim of the cluster is to advocate for the key role that universities play in the achievement of the 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) set in the Agenda 2030, informing international organisations and national governments about their action in this field. Furthermore, the cluster will foster collaboration and exchange among all stakeholders, inform decision-making at local and global policy levels and it will serve as a resource and networking hub for universities around the world.

The cluster is made of 16 leading universities (from all world regions), one for each SDG. The IAU itself leads the work on the SDG 17 (global partnership). The leading universities work with so-called “satellite” universities to advance the respective SDG. Thanks to the cluster, universities that are already engaged in SDGs locally can establish partnerships and scale-up their activities. Those universities which are new in this line of work, on the other hand, can refer to the cluster for collaboration and guidance on best practices to translate and advance SDGs in local, national and international contexts. 

The cluster has a holistic and transformative approach to sustainable development, focusing not only on its environmental aspect, but on also cultural, economic and social ones. It promotes the “Whole Institution Approach”: embedding sustainable development concepts and principles at all levels of university operations, including teaching, learning, research and community engagement.

In January 2019, the Cluster leaders together with the UNESCO country delegation representatives will meet in Paris at the UNESCO headquarters to discuss further steps and finalise the strategic plan.

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