By Jack Parker
Durham University and its Students’ Union have signed the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Accord, committing them to actively supporting its 17 objectives.
The Accord is designed “to inspire, celebrate and advance the critical role that education has in delivering the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the value it brings to governments, business and wider society.”
A motion requesting that the Students’ Union sign the Accord was tabled to its Assembly in February 2020 by outgoing Opportunities Officer Jess Dunning.
Writing on her official Students’ Union Facebook page, Dunning said: “I have done a lot of work this year promoting the goals and changing things in order for Durham to do its bit towards the goals.
“The fact that this has been signed by both the SU and the [U]niversity is a big step forward for sustainability development within Durham and shows that we do care and plan to work towards helping the goals be reached.”
According to the ‘SDG Events Wheel’ on the Students’ Union website, the SU claims to have held events supporting 12 of the 17 Goals in the first half of this year. The Wheel can be accessed here.
The signing was announced in Dunning’s final days as Students’ Union Opportunities Officer. Her replacement, Anna Marshall, takes up the post on Monday (3rd August).
The 17 Goals are central to the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, agreed by all Member States in New York in 2015.
According to the United Nations website, the 2030 Agenda is “a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future.
“The 17 Goals are all interconnected, and in order to leave no one behind, it is important that we achieve them all by 2030.”
The scope of the Goals is wide-ranging, aiming to eradicate poverty, hunger, and gender inequality, as well as looking to guarantee clean water and sanitation, and affordable clean energy.
The decision to sign the Accord comes two months after the University was identified by the Times Higher Education Impact Rankings as a world-leading institution for contributing to a number of the Sustainable Development Goals.
Durham was ranked among the world’s top 50 universities for four SDGs: Sustainable Cities and Communities, Responsible Consumption and Production, Life on Land, and Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions.
The University featured in the top 100 for another seven Goals, including No Poverty, and Climate Action.
Durham University has a track record of supporting the 2030 Agenda in its research. In 2017, Professor Carol Adams, Professor of Accounting at Durham’s Business School, published a report on how companies can help to achieve the 17 Goals.
Professor Adams’s research explored how companies can align their corporate strategies to better meet the Goals, and provides a five-step approach for companies to follow.
On Thursday morning (30th), Professor Adams delivered a talk about the importance of the recommendations in her report, and how they can still be implemented in spite of COVID-19 disruption.
Image: Tim Packer via Wikimedia Commons