Following the launch of a world-first Bachelor of Climate Change degree, the University of Waikato has taken up the mantle of hosting the 4th Aotearoa New Zealand Sustainable Development Goals Summit in 2023.
This two-day event will be held in Hamilton and Tauranga and will bring together academics, policy experts, iwi, Government officials and community leaders to accelerate work being done to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.
Adopted by the United Nations in 2015, the 17 goals are a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity. Universities have a vital role to play in achieving the goals through both their teaching and research.
The Summit event, with the first one held in 2018, is all about collaboration and driving meaningful change for New Zealand. The 2020 / 2021 Summit, co-hosted by Canterbury and Lincoln universities, was forced to shift to a virtual event last week, attracting 440 participants.
The University of Waikato has made a strong and swift commitment to the challenge set down and was the first New Zealand university to sign a declaration, signalling its intention to work collaboratively to achieve the goals.
The University also recently appointed Professor Lynda Johnston to a new role of Assistant Vice-Chancellor Sustainability to provide strategic leadership in the pursuit of the Sustainable Development Goals.
“We’re delighted to be hosting the 4th Summit. While the details are still to be decided, mātauranga Māori and Pacific knowledge will almost certainly be at the heart of the event and add vital perspectives to our Summit kōrero,” says Professor Johnston.
“The Sustainable Development Goals guide and shape our actions as a university and the way in which we work with our communities. In large part, they reflect the challenges that have inspired the teaching and research that has been happening in our academic community for some time. The difference now is there is real momentum for positive and systematic change, doing more of what matters most, and being collaborative and transparent as we go out about it.”
Harvey Brookes, Executive Director of the Waikato Wellbeing Project and a Summit event co-host, was encouraged to hear that the next Summit event will be within our rohe. He will be involved in its planning alongside Professor Johnston and other partners. “This is an opportunity for us to really keep the Waikato region at the forefront of wellbeing and SDGs in Aotearoa New Zealand,” says Mr Brookes.
“At the Waikato Wellness Project, we live and breathe the Sustainable Development Goals every day - they form the framework for our mahi. The Summit event is a great way of keeping the momentum and inspiring new ways of thinking and living.”