29 June 2018

Member institutions of UNAI inspire action on the Sustainable Development Goals

2 July 2018 - The mission of the United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI) is to foster the relationship between institutions of higher education and the United Nations in the spirit of sharing a culture of intellectual social responsibility. This relationship has become even more crucial in an era of great challenges when innovative approaches and solutions are needed more than ever. It is in that framework that UNAI launched in May its #SDGsinAcademia project. 

The United Nations General Assembly, as documented in Resolution 70/1 containing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), likewise considers universities and colleges as valuable stakeholders. The General Assembly has called on governments and public institutions to work closely on implementing the Goals with a number of actors, including academia. Collaboration with universities is fundamental when it comes to sustainability issues, and UNAI principle number 9 is dedicated to commitment to promoting sustainability through education

#SDGsinAcademia is a series of articles—progressively available in other United Nations official languages thanks to online volunteer translators—published on the UNAI website aiming to inspire action on SDGs. Each article features one of the SDGs per week, providing a summary of it and its targets. Aside from information and research resources, the articles also showcase activities carried out by UNAI member institutions in regard to those SDGs as reported by the institutions themselves. UNAI members are drivers of innovation and are proving themselves to be dynamic and creative in advancing the SDGs with meaningful research and practical ideas involving faculty, staff and students as well as their local community. 

For instance, Kristu Jayanti College (India) works on SDG 1 promoting volunteer service in underprivileged communities to address poverty. The University of Pretoria (South Africa) works on SDG 2 hosting a research institute to apply science to food production and security. Unicaf University (Malawi) works on SDG 3 raising funds to purchase healthcare supplies for local hospitals. Meiji Gakuin University (Japan) works on SDG 4 supporting refugees in Japan by enabling them to enroll in their institution. Ahfad University for Women (Sudan) works on SDG 5 offering a wide range of graduate courses and training on gender with a regional perspective. The University of Manitoba (Canada) works on SDG 6 with clean water projects with ‘First Nations’ or indigenous peoples. The Universidade de São Paulo (Brazil) works on SDG 7 promoting the use of renewable energies with a solar power plant that contributes to the university's demand of energy. The Universidad Nacional del Rosario (Argentina) works on SDG 8 with an online platform that connects graduates and private companies that offer employment opportunities. Chemnitz University of Technology (Germany) works on SDG 9 promoting research to create new lightweight materials in order to make lower-weight cars that consume less fuel. For more information on these and many other higher education initiatives, please follow the UNAI #SDGsinAcademia ​project!