The Annual SDG Accord Report 2019, titled Progress towards the Global Goals in the University and College sector was launched some days ago in New York at the UN High Level Political Forum. The SDG Accord – says Iain Patton CEO, EAUC-The Alliance for Sustainability Leadership in Education – is a high profile international initiative that the Global Alliance developed to allow the tertiary education sector to demonstrate its commitment to playing its part in meeting the SDGs, and sharing best practice. This is a partnership initiative, endorsed by the UN’s HESI and many other global partners. It was launched in 2017, at 9WEEC in Canada, and it currently has official commitment to its tenets from 110 institutions, 103 support organisations and 817 individuals – all spread across 85 countries.
The SDG Accord provides a platform to come together in a movement, to inspire, celebrate and advance the critical role that education has in delivering the SDGs, and presents this in a coherent Annual Report for use by the UN, governments, business and wider society. While the sustainability journey of each institution will reflect its unique context, it is clear that connecting them together through the SDG Accord offers the opportunity for scaling of impact. Signatories of the SDG Accord commit to embedding the SDGs into their education, research, leadership, operations, administration and engagement activities.
«The SDG Accord brings institutions together, giving them a platform to share best practice and empowers them to be more aspirational on this agenda – says Sam Barratt Chief, Education and Youth for UN Environment and Chair of the Higher Education Sustainability Initiative – . The report shows that acting on climate change and education are the stand-out priorities, but positive action is being taken on all of the SDGs with real change taking place, just one year on since the last report. As ever, there is always more to do and certainly the UN and partners in the Higher Education Sustainability Initiative will look at the recommendations outlined in this report which will inform our thinking for the months ahead. We look forward to seeing institutions tackle these global challenges with the fierce determination and smart innovation of which they are so capable, with our door wide open to help in any way that we can».
The Accord can be signed on four levels.
- Leaders of institutions sign to make a corporate commitment – this must be the highest authority such as Vice Chancellor, Principal, President etc.
- Leaders of related university and college support organisations sign to make a corporate commitment to supporting the sector
- Leaders of student associations ie Students’ Unions or Student Guilds – this must be the president.
- Individual students, researchers, academics and operational staff can sign to make a personal and professional commitment to playing their part in advancing sector performance