Podcast IAU-UNODC The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Higher Education

Universities (and other higher education institutions) have a crucial role to play in today’s rapidly changing global system, which is increasingly driven by knowledge, information, innovation and ideas. However, as noted by several higher education leaders, it would be short sighted to limit the scope of higher education’s role to being important only for economic development and a source for innovative ideas to resolve today’s problems. Instead, higher education institutions need to be supported and recognized as places where the next generation will be empowered to become the leaders that are needed for tomorrow. Equally important to prosperity and innovation are leaders who understand the rule of law, good governance and how organized crime, terrorism and corruption can be countered effectively. 

With the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, Member States recognized that the 17 Sustainable Development Goals are interrelated. A prime example of this interconnectedness is that peaceful, just societies and strong institutions are essential to sustainable development. Goal 16 of the Sustainable Development Agenda highlights the importance of promoting peaceful and inclusive societies, providing access to justice for all and building effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels. At the same time, SDG 4 on education is described as key to promoting sustainable development. SDGs 4 and 16 are regarded as “enablers” within the 2030 Agenda and are both essential for the other Goals to be achieved. 

Bianca Kopp, Education for Justice initiative, UNODC, is joined by Hilligje van’t Land, Secretary General of the International Association of Universities, and César Wazen, Director of the International Affairs Office of Qatar University, to discuss the role of higher education in advancing the SDGs, what different universities around the world are doing, how impact can be assessed and why the SDGs are as important for higher education as higher education is for the advancement of the SDGs. 

More Information

Listen to this episode and forthcoming episodes of the podcast here: https://www.unodc.org/e4j/en/tertiary/global-podcast-series/episode-1.html 

Latest update: 28.11.2023