25 November 2019

Protecting Life on Land is Everyone’s Responsibility

One year ago United Nations Academic Impact announced the inauguration of the UNAI SDG Hubs, UNAI member institutions selected as exemplars for their innovative scholarship and engagement related to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) who serve as resources for best practices for the UNAI network, currently composed of over 1,400 universities and colleges in more than 130 countries.

On the anniversary of the program launch, we’re taking this opportunity to check in with some of the hub schools to highlight their scholarship and activities over the past twelve months and look ahead to future initiatives. The seventh school profiled in our anniversary series is the University of Zanjan (Iran), hub for SDG 15: Life on Land.   

The issues related to Sustainable Development Goal 15: Life on Land are among the main global concerns of all nations. 

According to a 2019 United Nations report, “there are some encouraging global trends in protecting terrestrial ecosystems and biodiversity.” However, “the 2020 targets of Sustainable Development Goal 15 are unlikely to be met, land degradation continues, biodiversity loss is occurring at an alarming rate, and invasive species and the illicit poaching and trafficking of wildlife continue to thwart efforts to protect and restore vital ecosystems and species”.

Since being named the UNAI Hub for SDG 15, the University of Zanjan has worked on the targets of this goal through research, education, organizing events and advocacy. Some of the efforts of this university in 2018-2019 include the following:

  • Two meetings with the United Nation Information Center representative in Iran for facilitating the academic activities related to the SDG 15;
  • Obtaining board of trustee approval for establishing an International Centre for Sustainable Development and Natural Resources Management at the university; 
  • Research on soil conservation and animal and plant biodiversity management through published papers and books, master and PhD theses, and research projects;
  • Organizing workshops and meetings on extension activities and participatory natural resources management, particularly forest and rangeland management;
  • Organizing the 2nd international congress and the 3rd national conference on “Biotechnology of Medicinal plants and mushrooms", 28-29 August 2019, by the University of Zanjan and Tea Research Center;
  • Organizing the 16th Iranian Soil Science Congress, 27-28 August 2019 by the University of Zanjan and Soil Science Society of Iran;
  • Selecting Dr. Esmail Karamidehkordi as the National Focal Point and the Chair of the Biodiversity Convention on “Informal Advisory Committee of Communication, Education and Public Awareness” and the University of Zanjan as a member of this committee and as the National Contact point of the EU Horizon 2020 on Food Security, Sustainable Agriculture and Forestry, Marine, Maritime and Inland Water Research and the Bioeconomy”;
  • Planting and conserving artificial forest in the University and relation with communities;
  • Establishing a site for Education, Research, Extension and conservation of gazelle in the university;
  • Being an active member of Steering Committee of the UI Greenmetric World University Ranking (on Sustainable Development in Higher Education Institutions) and preparing to host the 6th UI Greenmetric World University Ranking Workshop and the 3rd Green University Conference in 2020; and
  • Participating in FAO workshops on biodiversity and meeting with experts on soil conservation and biodiversity.

In 2020 we hope to establish the International Research and Extension Center of Sustainable Development and Natural Resources with the collaboration of the UN organizations in Iran and active members of the biodiversity convention, and we will continue the activities outlined above to contribute to the advancement of SDG 15 through research, knowledge sharing and scientific collaboration. 

To learn more about the UNAI SDG Hubs, including the University of Zanjan, visit the United Nations Academic Impact SDG Hubs.