31 May 2018

Connections between educational institutions and the SDGs discussed with civil society

The United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI) recently had an opportunity to present to the NGO Committee on Sustainable Development-NY (NGOCSD-NY) its work with academic institutions in promoting the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The NGOCSD-NY monitors the implementation of commitments and agreements related to sustainable development. Recently, the NGOCSD-NY launched the SDGs Education Alliance to promote the integration of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into all levels of education. 


31 May 2018 - On 30 May 2018, the NGO Committee on Sustainable Development-NY (NGOCSD-NY) held an interactive discussion entitled Incorporating the SDGs in All Levels of Education: Leaving No One Behind at the Church Center for the United Nations in New York with the participation of representatives from the United Nations as well as civil society and academia.

Margo LaZaro and Vicky Jan Isler, from the NGOCSD-NY Executive Board, welcomed participants from non-governmental organizations and noted their role in fostering the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. They emphasized how discourse about the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) should target students to incorporate them in implementation mechanisms.

The Permanent Representative of Slovakia to the United Nations, Michal Mylnar, reiterated the importance of education and how SDG 4 on Quality Education directly links to the 2030 Agenda as a whole. "Even small projects about education in the field and at the community level, such as the provision of uniforms, generate meaningful and lasting impacts", said the Ambassador. 

SDG 4 was highlighted due to its transversal nature by Denise Hauser from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. She noted that the human rights perspective must be taken into consideration in implementing the SDGs and that it might be useful to revise the recommendations made by the human rights bodies.

Omar Hernández, speaking on behalf of UNAI, said that universities "cannot be seen as passive actors or mere theoretical providers but instead as collaborators in the implementation of the SDGs". In addition to highlighting the "#SDGsinAcademia" series of articles in the UNAI website and recent events on SDGs co-organized by UNAI at United Nations Headquarters, Hernández provided concrete examples of what UNAI member institutions around the world are doing onm SDGs in terms of curriculum development, scientific research, social outreach, awareness campaigns and partnerships with UN entities.

Also taking part in the discussion were Justin van Fleet, Director of the International Commission on Financing Global Education Opportunity, Narinder Kakar, Permanent Observer of the University for Peace to the United Nations, William Gaudelli, Professor and Chair of the Department of Arts and Humanities at Columbia University, Judith Cunningham, Founder of the Montessori Model United Nations and Director of the Youth Impact Forum, Manyang Reath Kher, Director of Humanity Helping Sudan, Eunhee Jung, President of IVECA International Virtual Schooling, and Scott Carlin, Professor and Director of the Center for Sustainability at Long Island University Post.