There was the virtual meeting of Presidents of universities on the vital role of academic networks in addressing global challenges at a high-level meeting convened by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network(SDSN) on 9 and 10 July, 2020.
UNESCO Chair for Sustainable development at al-Farabi KazNU Bazarbayeva Tursunkul and Almanova Bibinaz from Ban Ki-moon Institute for SD have joined the panel and discussion sessions on behalf of al-Farabi Kazakh National University.
In particular, the virtual meeting included a message from the Secretary-General of the United Nations, António Guterres, and an address from the UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed. DSG Mohammed emphasised the importance of the expertise, innovation, and values of the university sector to progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): ‘As the home of so many of the world’s brightest and best; as the space that shapes future leaders, global citizens and the global workforce; and as the source of many of humanity’s great breakthroughs, we need you to join the sustainable development revolution.’
The meeting brought together more than 200 participants from over 65 countries, including university presidents, chancellors, and vice-chancellors as well as senior UN officials. The Rockefeller Foundation and Columbia University co-hosted the meeting with the SDSN, a global initiative of the UN to promote implementation of the SDGs and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.
In 2020 WUN broke new ground in becoming a network member of SDSN, building on earlier collaborations. Professor Jeffrey Sachs, President of the SDSN, was a guest speaker at WUN’s 2017 Annual General Meeting in New York. The same AGM endorsed a strategic plan to align research programs in WUN’s four global challenges with the implementation of the SDGs.
This year WUN adopted a new strategic plan that focuses its mission on sustainable development in areas where WUN can make a decisive contribution. 2020 also marks the beginning of a UN Decade of Action to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals.