New report shows post-16 education must shift up a gear in bid to tackle Global Goals

10th July 2018

The Global Alliance – a partnership of the world’s universities, colleges and sustainability networks are today (Wednesday, 11th July) launching a new report at the UN’s High Level Political Forum (HLPF) in New York, exploring the global contribution of Further and Higher Education to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
This research was borne from the SDG Accord, which has attracted some 600 signatories from over 60 countries since its launch in September 2017. This includes 64 institutions representing c. 1.28 million students and nearly 100 global education sector networks representing c. 6000 institutions.
The report, ‘Global universities, colleges and students leading delivery of the UN Sustainable Development Goals’ calls on the UN to better promote the role of higher and further education in all of the SDGs rather than only Goal 4 and on senior management in universities and colleges to look for innovative ways to increase staff and student capacity to address the SDGs.
Other recommendations to the UN include mandating the embedding of Education for Sustainable Development in higher and further education curriculum and the need for a mechanism to fund international collaborative interdisciplinary research opportunities in and between universities and colleges on the SDGs. Additionally institutions are called on to incorporate the SDGs holistically, particularly in any new processes, and students are asked to be the change they want to see.
The findings highlight the opportunities and challenges for institutions in embedding the SDGs and their commitment to increase their contributions to the SDGs next year. They also show the aspiration of students to learn more about the SDGs in their institutions and the changing focus of young people as they start to prioritise social justice and environmental ethics.
Iain Patton, Founding Partner of the Global Alliance and Chief Executive at the Environmental Association for Universities and Colleges (EAUC), said: “This research identifies the critical first steps that pioneering universities and colleges are taking to play their part in realising the Sustainable Development Goals. It highlights the optimism and commitment within the sector, and the role institutions have in inspiring and showing the world’s 200 million higher and further education students why the Global Goals are so relevant and important to their lives and careers.”

Zamzam Ibrahim, NUS Vice President (Society & Citizenship), said: “NUS welcomes this report on the progress of institutions signed up to the SDG Accord and its ethos of embedding the SDGs across every level of their organisation. Research we’ve conducted shows that the students we represent in the UK - and those represented by our partner students’ unions around the world - agree that this is an area for their universities and colleges to address with 91% telling us they want to see sustainable development actively incorporated and promoted within their education. We’re excited to see the developments amongst signatories over the next year, as students and their institutions work together towards addressing the biggest challenges facing the world today.”

To sign the SDG Accord, visit
Note to Editors
1) List of Endorsing Partners:

Youth Research and Development Forum
Learning for Sustainability Scotland
European Students' Union
European Association for International Education
United Nations Regional Centre of Expertise on Education for Sustainable Development, Georgetown, South Carolina, USA
ICMA NSU Student Chapter
Advanced Procurement for Universities & Colleges
Sustainable University Network (SUN) of Thailand
One Planet Education Networks
Center for a Sustainable University (KNU), Universitat Hamburg
Institute of Environmental Engineering
Kent State University College of Business Administration
IT Schools Africa
Nordic Sustainable Campus Network
WHO Collaborating Centre for Healthy Urban Environments, UWE, Bristol
IEMA - Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment
GIESD (Global Internode for Education and Sustainable Development)
Alianza de Redes Iberoamericanas de Universidades por la Sustentabilidad y el Ambiente
Association of University Directors of Estates
University Educators for Sustainable Development (UE4SD)
SEEd, Sustainability and Environmental Education
Institute for Sustainable Entrepreneurship
English Learning and Sustainability Alliance
The Hope Spring Water Charity Foundation
ARIUSA - Alianza de Redes Iberoamericanas de Universidades por la Sustentabilidad y el Ambiente
Strategic Development Worldwide
Swedish International Centre of Education for Sustainable Development (SWEDESD)
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AIM2Flourish at the Fowler Center for Business as an Agent of World Benefit, Weatherhead School of Management - Case Western Reserve University
PRME Chapter UK & Ireland
PSS.Educational Development Society
Youth Foundation of Bangladesh
Environmental Association for Universities and Colleges
International Sustainable Campus Network
International Association of Universities (IAU)
Istituto per l'Ambiente e l'Educazione - WEEC Network
Conference des grandes Ecoles
Society for the Environment
RCE Brittany, France
Intentional Endowments Network
China Green University Network
Sustainability Education Research Institute
The Sustainability and Education Policy Network
Entrepreneurship Educators' Association of the Philippines
Institution Of Environmental Sciences
National Union of Students
Australasian Campuses Towards Sustainability
Campus Responsables
Globally Responsible Leadership Initiative
US Partnership for Education for Sustainable Development
Disciplinary Associations Network for Sustainability
Greater Portland Sustainability Education Network
Foundation for Environmental Education

2) The Environmental Association for Universities and Colleges (EAUC), ‘Global universities, colleges and students leading delivery of the UN Sustainable Development Goals’, 11th July 2018.

3) More information can be found on the SDG Accord website –

4) The EAUC is the founding partner of the SDG Accord and the Global Alliance. It is a not-for-profit, member based charity, run by members for members and empowers its’ members creativity and dynamism to lead the sustainability agenda within Further and Higher Education in the UK and Ireland.  From starting out as a voluntary organisation in 1996, the EAUC has grown to represent over 2 million students and nearly 400,000 faculty and staff with a spending budget of over £25 billion. The EAUC helps leaders, academics and other professionals to drive sustainability to the heart of their post-16 education institutions.
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