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How Higher Education Initiatives Contribute to the 2030 Agenda

Higher education institutions are one of the key actors that contribute to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Established in 2012 in the lead up to the Rio+20 Conference, the Higher Education Sustainability Initiative (HESI), offers higher education institutions an opportunity to share their innovative work towards the realization of the SDGs with the support of several prominent UN agencies. On 11 July, during this year’s High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, HESI partners will be showcasing how the SDGs are being integrated into sustainability strategies, research, teaching, pedagogy and campus practices.

Through its strong association with the United Nations, HESI provides higher education institutions with a unique interface between higher education, science, and policy making. It amplifies the voices and outreach efforts of higher education institutions, as well as incorporates their contribution to the goals. It also offers one of the most comprehensive and concrete opportunities to connect young people to the 2030 Agenda, ensuring that the future generation has the knowledge and capacity to achieve the SDGs. Through education of new knowledge and technology of sustainable development, higher education institutions will bring up future leaders and citizens with full awareness of the SDGs, building more sustainable societies.

All the higher education institutions part of HESI have committed to teach sustainable development across all disciplines of study; encourage research and dissemination of sustainable development knowledge; green campuses and support local sustainability efforts; and engage and share information with international networks. Their commitment ranges from building sustainable campuses, include the SDGs in their curricula, engage in local sustainable development projects to report and share their best practices.

During the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, the HESI partners will be organizing an event for higher education institutions to showcase how the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, is being integrated into sustainability strategies, research, teaching, pedagogy, and campus practices, and to position higher education institutions as key drivers for achieving the SDGs. Participants of the HESI event will include government officials, academia, university administrators, UN representatives, sustainability professionals, major groups and other relevant stakeholders.

The event, held on 11 July, will feature workshops on ‘Leveraging innovative partnerships with higher education institutions towards sustainable and resilient societies and ‘Student engagement towards realizing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’. The event’s plenary segment will be held in the afternoon and will include sessions on ‘Highlighting innovative collaborations between Higher Education Institutions and the United Nations’ and ‘How are Higher Education Institutions mainstreaming the Sustainable Development Goals into curricula, research and programmes.’

HESI is a partnership between UN DESA, UNESCO, UN Environment, UN Global Compact’s Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME) Initiative, United Nations University, UN-HABITAT, UNCTAD and UNITAR.


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