Example University Support to Decade of Action

Example University Support to Decade of Action

Written by Lauren Barredo
July 21st 2020

United Nations





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On July 9 and 10, over 100 universities from about 65 countries gathered to explore how academia as a sector can support the Decade of Action on the SDGs, particularly in the new era of COVID-19. This is part of the core mission of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), launched in 2012 to bring universities together in support of the SDGs. The pandemic is making it harder to achieve the SDGs globally, but universities have always been leaders in problem solving and addressing the world’s greatest challenges, and can help countries ‘build back better.’

In his remarks, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres noted that we are at a critical juncture, where new thinking is needed more than ever; there is an important role for universities to play, and he is grateful for their continued support to the SDGs. He also said that global networks of universities can support multilateralism, which is needed now more than ever (link to video).

Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed said that the SDSN has made a valuable contribution towards raising awareness of and promoting the SDGs, and called for accelerated action to achieve them. She also noted that crises can present opportunities, and the pandemic gives us a chance to address pre-existing inequalities through evidence-based policy. She also called on universities to support 3 key levers for change, (i) improving policy makers’ knowledge, (ii) leapfrogging old technology and innovations, and (iii) building public trust and social cohesion (link to video).

Over the course of the two-day event, participants discussed how Universities can respond to the COVID-19 crisis and fulfill their missions to teach, leveraging new technologies for online education and helping bridge the digital divide to ensure all students have access; ensuring that research work supports the immediate response to the health crisis and a long-term green recovery; and putting the SDGs into practice in their own communities and on their own campuses.

This is written by the SDSN Secretariat.