Our plan to address UN targets by 2030

Wed, 19 Jun 2019 11:04:00 BST

This week The University of Manchester has revealed a comprehensive report and plan to address key issues facing humanity as set-out by the UN.

The United Nations’ seventeen Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are our world’s call to action on the most pressing challenges and opportunities facing humanity and the natural world. With their unique role in creating and sharing knowledge, universities have a direct role in addressing the challenges set out in The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The University has a core goal of Social Responsibility and is committed to addressing the world’s SDGs through research, learning, public engagement and operations. Solving Global Inequality is also one of the University’s priority Research Beacons.

Dr Julian Skyrme, Director of Social Responsibility said at the launch of the new report: “As one of the world’s leading research institutions and the UK’s only university to have social responsibility as a core goal, The University of Manchester is playing a leading role in tackling the SDGs in four ways: through our research impact, learning and students, public engagement activity and responsible campus processes. The quality and scale of our impact against the SDGs has been ranked first in Europe and third in the world in the 2019 Times Higher Education University Impact Rankings. We’ve also championed sustainable development through higher education as a key signatory to the international SDG Accord which commits ourselves to transparent reporting and goal-setting to stimulate ideas, actions and collaboration opportunities.”

The seventeen SDGs came into effect in 2016 and have the support of 193 Member States of the United Nations. They are a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity. They include challenges such as; climate change, economic inequality, innovation, sustainable consumption, peace and justice, among other priorities.

The University made the announcement during the EAUC Annual Conference on sustainability, developed around the theme of ‘Influence’.

Launched in 1996, EAUC is the Alliance for Sustainability Leadership in Education. The organisation exists to lead and empower leaders, academics and other professionals to drive sustainability to the heart of their post-16 education institutions.

An influential voice within the sector, EAUC aims to ensure that its members have access to important information relating to sustainability legislation, technologies, best practice and research to inspire each university and college to improve its sustainability performance and impact.

Emma Gardner, Head of Environmental Sustainability at The University of Manchester said: “What an exciting time to work in colleges and universities. Protests, declarations of climate emergencies, commitments to zero carbon and a change of narrative, presents many opportunities - however, there are still a lot of challenges and many unknowns. We are delighted to be welcoming Influence 2019 - a conference needed now more than ever to help empower us to create the changes needed and to motivate and inspire those around us.”

Iain Patton, CEO at EAUC commented: “Students, academics and sustainability professionals are a real force within the sector, but also in the wider community. We in universities and colleges have to re-frame climate change and attract, as an exciting challenge, the most creative minds to reduce the risks and build flexible and resilient societies."

Watch this film to find out more about how the University is supporting the SDGs.