University committed to embedding sustainability in post-16 education

The University of Plymouth has committed to a new global initiative that will help embed Sustainable Development Goals across post-16 education.

Announced at the World Congress on Environmental Education (WEEC) held in Vancouver in September, ‘The SDG Accord’ is the higher education sector’s collective response to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) established by the United Nations. 

The University has signed the Accord, recognising and advancing the critical role that education has in delivering the SDGs and the value this brings to governments, business and wider society. 

The SDG Accord reflects the key role educators have in creating a new generation that can and will balance people, planet and prosperity. 

The Accord is also a commitment from one institution to another that they will share the learning they accrue on the topic with each other both nationally and internationally, and annually report on their progress. A sector overview of progress will then be presented annually at the global progress review by the UN High Level Political Forum. 

The SDG Accord is facilitated by the Environmental Association for Universities and Colleges (EAUC), and is endorsed by 30 supporting organisations already from across the world. 

Samantha Davies, Sustainability Manager at the University of Plymouth, said: 

“There is a great opportunity for the higher education sector to actively contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals, as we have the ability to inform and educate the leaders of tomorrow through our teaching programmes, and equip students with the skills to deliver a low carbon economy, develop sustainable solutions and drive change. Here at the University of Plymouth, research activity contributes to tackling some of the major global challenges that the SDGs target, including water quality, ocean conservation and clean energy, while providing high-quality education and contributing to the local economy.” 

Iain Patton, Chief Executive of the Environmental Association for Universities and Colleges (EAUC), said: 

“This is a huge step in the right direction to better show the world the value of universities, colleges and students. The education institutes responsible for moulding the minds of the next generation of leaders and change agents are accepting a central role in ending some of the most critical global challenges. We are collectively saying we will do everything in our power to address issues like gender inequality, poverty, hunger, lack of education, affordable energy, climate change, peace and resilience.
“These are the most pressing issues of our time and we are all responsible, and nobody must be left behind. The premise of the Goals is simple: there must be economic, social and environmental balance. Delivery has never been straightforward – but this SDG Accord will now help pave the way for holistic change. Institutions that sign up to the accord will embed the goals in every department and collaborate across cities, regions, countries and continents. This is the beginning of a total global transformation.”

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