25 July 2018

#SDGsinAcademia: Goal 13

As part of the ongoing campaign on the Sustainable Development Goals carried out by the United Nations, United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI) is presenting a weekly series of articles on #SDGSinAcademia that highlights the importance of higher education in achieving the Goals. Featuring additional sources for use by faculty and students alike, this series is intended to inspire action on the SDGs and showcase activities and initiatives of UNAI member institutions.

25 July 2018 - This week we are featuring in our #SDGsinAcademia series Goal 13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts


  • 13.1 Strengthen resilience and adaptive capacity to climate-related hazards and natural disasters in all countries
  • 13.2 Integrate climate change measures into national policies, strategies and planning 
  • 13.3 Improve education, awareness-raising and human and institutional capacity on climate change mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction and early warning
  • 13.A Implement the commitment undertaken by developed-country parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to a goal of mobilizing jointly $100 billion annually by 2020 from all sources to address the needs of developing countries in the context of meaningful mitigation actions and transparency on implementation and fully operationalize the Green Climate Fund through its capitalization as soon as possible 
  • 13.B Promote mechanisms for raising capacity for effective climate change-related planning and management in least developed countries and small island developing States, including focusing on women, youth and local and marginalized communities 

What are UNAI member institutions doing about Goal 13? Here are some examples:

The Universidad de Pinar del Río (Cuba) is actively promoting research about the impact of climate change. For instance, Dr. Greicy de la C. Rodríguez Crespo, has conducted research about The Cuban mangroves in the face of climate change and its importance for resilience while stressing the critical relevance of biodiversity systems and ecosystems in climate change adaptation. A group of researchers of this institution is working on the sustainable management of coastal resources together with agroforestry companies at the provincial level. 

The Universidad de Monterrey (Mexico) is promoting capacity building on climate change. A group of 10 students of Sustainable Innovation and Energy Engineering participated in March 2018 in an intensive training programme on energy transition with the participation of well known world leaders in sustainability, such as Nobel laureate in Chemistry, Mario Molina. The programme called Climate Reality Leadership Corps took place in Mexico City intended to empower activists on climate change who can work together with scientists and academics.

The Universidad San Francisco de Quito (Ecuador) has developed the Quito Ambiente web portal, as a collaboration between the College of Biological and Environmental Sciencies and the College of Communication of the same institution. Its goal is to share information about climate change and other environmental topics, proposing awareness and educational strategies for K-12 children on climate change. Some of the suggested activities imply a review of simple projects on climate change and the evaluation of alternatives to reduce global warming.

The Universidad de La Punta (Argentina) installed along the province of San Luis territory, a network of automatic meteorological stations that provide data and information about the weather in real time. This improves the forecast and at the same time, allows the creation of a climate database. It also generates useful information for further research about soil humidity models, the development of wind resources and perspectives of climate change for upcoming decades. Data is currently being used by the U. S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The University of Macedonia (Greece) organized the International Workshop Climate justice in environmental migration: Human rights and the ways forward, lead by the Laboratory of International Relations and European Integration of the institution. The idea was to address questions of climate justice, which are crucial to the migration and environment debate, whereas they are indirectly related with peace, cohesion and solidarity. Academics and specialists from Greek and foreign universities, as well from scientific institutes participated and exchanged ideas.

The University of Zurich (Switzerland) hosts the Network for Interdisciplinary Climate Research together with ETH Zurich. It is a network of researchers working on different aspects of climate change. It has been created to enhance collaboration and cooperation in climate change research and teaching by bringing together individuals from different disciplines, such as Banking and Finance, Economics, Ethics, Geography, Management, Media Science and Medicine, Political Science and Psychology. As a concrete result, several thematic workshops have been organized.

The University of Southampton (United Kingdom) has implemented the DECCMA project, as a programme of applied research on adaptation options, limits and potential in deltaic environments to current weather variability and extremes, as well as climate change. The project analyses the impact of climate change and other environmental drivers across contrasting deltas in Africa and Asia. Processes of migration are analysed using surveys, participatory research and economic methods. The institution has established partnerships in Bangladesh, India and Ghana. 

The University of Zanjan (Iran) created the Center for Research in Climate Change and Global Warming to study climate change from particular perspectives by fostering research activities classified into groups dedicated to Atmosphere, Greenhouse Gases and Human Based Pollutants, Climate and Earth, and Hydrogen and Fuel Cells. The Center aims to coordinate and support the climate related research of scientists at the University and in the greater Zanjan Province. This includes research on the potential applications of both new and renewable energies.

Okayama University (Japan) through the Graduate School of Natural Science and Technology, has been advancing research and education on Mechanism Analysis of Long-term Climate Change. By identifying causes and mechanisms of global and subcontinental-scale long-term climate changes, the institution provides a scientific basis to explain the origin of global warming while fostering training on mitigation and adaptation. Part of the work is being done through the analysis of various observational and multi-model datasets as well as climate forcing factors.

Mercy College (United States) organized a mini Model United Nations conference exclusively focused on climate change. The activity for high-school students took place on campus with the collaboration of the United Nations Association of the United States. Undergraduate students of International Relations and Diplomacy coordinated the conference and acted as the Secretariat. Delegates discussed their assigned countries’ positions on climate change, negotiated, and collaborated to find solutions on issues concerning climate change and sustainability. 

Here you can take a look to a selection of the Activity Reports submitted by UNAI member institutions.


The following resources can help improving your knowledge and understanding about Goal 13 in particular and also about the SDGs in general:

  • This is a comprehensive research guide made by the United Nations Library in Geneva listing resources about the SDGs in general and about each one of the Goals, including books and articles (some of which are fully available on line free of charge), UN documents such as resolutions and reports and additional resources.
  • The SDG Fund has created this online library featuring over 1,000 online publications. The publications are categorized by the Goals they represent, by geographical regions they relate to and by authors, to facilitate easy searchability. Each publication also has a short summary attached to it which helps with keyword searches.
  • This is an initiative supported by UNDP, UN-HABITAT and the Global Taskforce of Local and Regional Governments, which offers a selection of tools such as concept notes, papers, case studies, compilation of best practices and guides providing contextual and practical information about the SDGs.
  • This is a guide entitled Getting Started with the Sustainable Development Goals intended for stakeholders and designed by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) to serve as an initial basis for implementing the SDGs.
  • This guide entitled Getting Started with the SDGs in Universities was also developed by the SDSN to help universities, higher education institutions and the academic sector in Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific to accelerate their contributions to the SDGs highlighting the important role universities have in implementing the SDGs through their teaching, research, operations and leadership, and providing practical guidance and examples to inspire further action.
  • This guide entitled Sustainable Development Goals - Human Response Alignments features the human element of change and the human response corresponding to each of the SDGs in order to quicken the global conversation about vital issues and to encourage the movement that supports the vision of the SDGs.

Sustainable Development Goals Explained: Climate Action

Sustainable Development Goals Explained: Climate Action
United Nations: Why do we need a goal on climate action? UN Assistant Secretary-General for climate change Janos Pasztor answers this question and explains how addressing climate change can also help economic growth and improve people's lives.