University of Alberta joins 56 global universities in pursuit of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

UAlberta International - 22 April 2021

In a major step towards worldwide collaboration on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs), the University of Alberta has signed a joint statement, along with other 56 global universities, in favour of taking active steps to address the SDGs as a collective. This is the first time that so many leading universities -- representing 30 countries and regions over six continents -- have come together to jointly commit to the achievement of the UN SDGs.

“With their unique advantages in generating knowledge, uniting stakeholders and enabling transformation, leading universities around the world should play an active and essential role in forging a sustainable future through dialogue, solidarity and collaboration,” said the statement.

"Universities, through their research, teaching, partnerships, and advocacy, are at the heart of what is needed to lead positive changes in the world today," says President Flanagan. "The SDGs are an important call to action for all of us, and by coming together we can leverage a diversity of perspectives to achieve a more sustainable future for all."
Signed at the Zheijiang University Virtual Forum: “Roles of Universities in the 2030 Agenda”, on March 24, the joint statement recognizes the challenges faced when pursuing the SDGs during this time of COVID-19 and outlines five elements of shared vision:

  • Embedding sustainability across our activities, operations, monitoring and evaluation. Through unwavering examples, we will foster and promote sustainable development on and off-campus.
  • Enhancing competencies in SDGs by empowering our students, faculty and staff with the knowledge, skills, and motivation to understand and address the SDGs.
  • Supporting a wider spectrum of research work needed to address global challenges, including blue-sky discovery and transdisciplinary research, and to better inform policy-making.
  • Fostering innovative solutions for sustainable development by engaging multiple stakeholders, including government, civil society and the private sector.
  • Leveraging technology and upholding open science where appropriate to facilitate sustainable partnerships and context-specific, problem-solving collaborations across borders.

“These major global goals, the SDGs, face many real threats and challenges and are growing in urgency,” says Dr Cen Huang, Vice-Provost and Associate Vice-President (International). “Universities play key roles in sustainability and it is our responsibility to work together and with government and industry partners to provide global solutions. Shaping our future in a sustainable way is a key part of delivering research excellence, both globally and locally.”

Learn more about how the University of Alberta is engaging with the SDGs.