Universities need to build partnerships to close SDG gaps

Universities have an important role to play in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, but with major gaps in progress, institutions need to build partnerships, including in research, regionally, with industry and with the community, a regional Asian policy dialogue on higher education and the SDGs has heard.

The policy dialogue on the contribution of higher education partnerships towards achieving the SDGs, held from 29-31 March in Bangkok, Thailand, was organised by the European Union’s Support to Higher Education in the ASEAN Region (EU-SHARE) programme.

It included the ASEAN Secretariat, Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization Regional Centre for Higher Education and Development (SEAMEO RIHED), the ASEAN University Network, the European Union, British Council and other stakeholders including the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and the Netherlands agency Nuffic.

The discussion on how best to promote partnership between higher education, the private sector and civil society in the region will feed into the UNESCO World Higher Education Conference – a once-in-a-decade event to be held in May in Barcelona, Spain, as part of the Southeast Asian regional contribution.

“The role of higher education in partnering with society at large in achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals is timely with just under eight years remaining to achieve the 2030 SDGs agenda,” Darren McDermott, SHARE team leader, told the regional conference.

“The recent UN reports on the SDGs assert that progress remains uneven. We are not on track to meet the goals by 2030.”

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