Representatives from Durham University have committed to a joint effort by 56 world-leading universities in meeting sustainable development goals set by the UN, at a conference hosted by Zhejiang University in China.
In response to the slowed progress on climate issues due to the pandemic, the 30 global universities that took part in the forum on 30 March 2021 have signed the Joint Statement of Global University Leaders on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in order to accelerate action against climate change.
The sustainable development goals (SDGs) include five key aspects which were signed by the universities, among them the implementation of the concept of sustainable development, improvement of sustainable development competence, support for scientific research in response to global challenges, and international cooperation with global partners for new solutions.
The forum, which was also joined by UN officials, allowed representatives from leading universities to exchange knowledge and strategies for the implementation of the SDGs. Among them were Peter Savoley, President of Yale University, Eric Labaye, President of the École Polytechnique, and Zhaohui Wu, President of Zhejiang University.
The Assistant Director-General for Education at UNESCO, Stefania Giannini, who was also present at the forum, said: “The organisation of the forum is timely, especially given the increasingly pivotal role of universities not only in fostering understanding and knowledge but also in contributing to the building of knowledge-based societies and for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).”
The timing of the forum is seen as crucial, as there are only nine years left to take action in order to reach the goals set by the UN.
Among the universities that have signed the agreement are institutions from six continents, notably Harvard University, University College London, Peter the Great St. Petersburg Polytechnic University, the University of Sydney, the University of Vienna and Tel Aviv University.
Image: Zhejiang University, China