First report published on UCL and the UN Sustainable Development Goals

An image of the front cover of the UCL SDGs report

An image of the front cover of the UCL SDGs report

UCL has published its first report setting out how the university is addressing the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Developed by the UCL Sustainable Development Goals Initiative (SDGI), the report showcases a selection of the hundreds of ways UCL’s staff and student communities are supporting the SDGs across their research, teaching and extra-curricular activities, as well as how the university operates.

It also includes a range of graphs illustrating the extent of SDG-related teaching and research activity in each of UCL’s 11 faculties, measured by content in taught modules and published research papers.

The 17 SDGs are the core of the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Adopted by all Member States in 2015, they provide a framework for the world’s ongoing economic growth, while protecting the environment and addressing social inequalities.

The Goals cover topics ranging from ’Decent Work and Economic Growth’ and ’Good Health and Well-being’ to ’Climate Action’ and ’Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure’ - and are broken down into 169 individual Targets.

Currently, the world is not on track to achieve the Goals by 2030, with more action needed across the global community and in all sectors of society, particularly in light of the coronavirus pandemic and its unprecedented impact on sustainable development.

UCL President & Provost, Dr Michael Spence, said: " Addressing the challenges facing society was at the heart of UCL’s founding mission in 1826, and we continue to bring together the brightest minds across different disciplines to tackle the pressing issues of the 21st century.

"However, we are acutely aware that we cannot address global problems and deliver true impact on our own. We can only achieve this, firstly by listening to others who may know more than us, and, more broadly, by providing opportunities for more and deeper local and global partnerships - with other universities, governments, policymakers, the third sector, industry and communities."

Simon Knowles, UCL’s Head of Coordination (SDGs) - who manages the SDGI - said: "This report demonstrates how our staff and students are continuing UCL’s long tradition of addressing global challenges. The spread of activity in all our faculties across the 17 Goals is testament to the university’s multidisciplinary strength and commitment to solving some of the biggest problems of our time."

The UCL SDGI was established in academic year 2020-21 and aims to maximise the university’s impact on the SDGs.


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