Our Sustainability Report, Whaioranga Taiao, Whaioranga Tangata, showcases the progress we made towards the 17 United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the 2021 calendar year. The name reflects our aspiration for both a healthy and connected environment and fair and inclusive communities, acknowledging that neither can exist without each other.
2021 will be remembered as another unique year that continued to test our resilience in the face of massive disruption and uncertainty.
Against this backdrop, it gives me great pride to see the many ways we advanced the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals through research, campus operations, teaching, and external engagement.
Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, the University of Waikato has remained committed to providing a high-quality teaching and learning experience, removing barriers and fostering a strong sense of community in an online environment. This has challenged us to be resourceful, collaborative and agile like never before, attributes that stand us in good stead for the path ahead.
As we grapple with our new, post-pandemic reality, the Sustainable Development Goals provide a vital framework for action, prompting us to pause and adjust our focus. The uncomfortable reality we face is a world that has seen the first increase in global poverty in 20 years, women leave the workforce in droves, rates of anxiety and depression soar and trust and confidence in institutions diminish, causing significant unrest.
It is imperative our choices from this point on reflect this new reality because universities have a critical role to play in the pursuit of a better, fairer future.
We look forward to taking further bold steps to embed the Sustainable Development Goals into the fabric of our institution in 2022 and beyond.
Professor Neil Quigley