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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.