The Global Goals – What Do They Mean?

Sustainable development – what started as a vision for the world in the 1980s is a paradigm that is well underway. While current threats to the planet, our societies and public health dominate our daily news, we do experience a time of tremendous opportunity to make a difference and to change our ways of life to ensure a better world for all. The adoption of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)  is a proof of the international community, willingly coming together and agreeing upon a holistic framework for nations to collectively find ways to a more sustainable and equitable future.

This publication highlights the manifold initiatives that Canadian colleges and institutes have already undertaken; designed to encourage more higher education institutions in Canada and beyond in moving towards the SDGs. It also aims at a better understanding of the potential of the SDGs as a driver of transformation when localized and implemented on campus while enhancing services to students, employers and the community at large.

Colleges and institutes in Canada were founded to meet the need for highly skilled employees to respond to the demand of business and industry. In their design, it was intended to educate future generations of specialists in existing and emerging fields of the Canadian economy and at the same time to be socially inclusive. Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan) has been serving its members for many years in promoting their voice for policy making and in discussions about the country’s future. In addressing today’s new normal (and every future next normal), CICan actively supports colleges and institutes seeking the necessary innovation through education and research as well as sharing members expertise. Embedding sustainability into all learning and throughout the institution can unlock the potential for addressing the sustainability issues of our time, educating future specialists and leaders, providing crucial practical knowledge and research and lastly, showing how to collaborate both as a network and with local communities to enhance the chances for a more sustainable future and the well-being of all.

Charles A. Hopkins,
UNESCO Chair in Reorienting Education towards Sustainability,
York University

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