The SDG Advisory Group of the University of Warwick is pleased to launch its second report on Warwick's contribution to the SDGs.
As we underlined in our first report on Warwick’s contributions towards meeting the SDGs (2018-19), we see universities as central to the SDG agenda through research and teaching. Universities can ‘trigger discussion, engage different generations in dialogue, and produce critical analysis vital for SDG monitoring, evaluation and impact’. Universities also have a vital role to play in transferring thought leadership into practical action for the SDGs through their own operations across campus and facilities.
In this report we cover a challenging period of history. The continuing global pandemic has resulted in significant human fatalities, including in the UK, and in all the geographical areas from where our communities of students and staff are drawn. There is clear evidence that the pandemic has revealed and exacerbates deep seated historical, social and economic inequalities at a local, national as well as at a global scale. To meet the challenges that these inequalities have thrown up, at Warwick, we prioritise open, critical discussion of the sustainable development discourse and the SDGs framework.
Our report highlights that there is already a lot of excellent research at Warwick which addresses specific individual SDGs. At the same time, we found it harder to identify research projects that explicitly targeted multiple, interconnected goals. Our report is thus an attempt to provide some inspiring examples of work which we feel broadly adopts a nexus thinking approach. Moreover, we invite the Warwick community to reflect on how best to develop and pursue research, teaching and engagement in a way that contributes to achieving all 17 UN SDGs.
Given our critically reasoned work, we desire to drive intellectual and practical transformation, as opposed to report our progress against established thinking. Therefore, while this report does outline how individual research projects, pedagogical interventions and operational innovations promote clusters of SDGs, we have aspired to a more agenda setting summary of our work.
To ensure that everyone has the opportunity to discuss some of the key issues we have outlined in our next steps, we have organised a discussion forum to share ideas about Warwick's contribution to the UN SDGs. You can sign up to that discussion below.
University of Warwick SDG Advisory Group
This second report was an attempt to build on our first report from 2018/2019 and to move away from treating the reporting process as a routine “tick-box exercise”. Seeking to develop innovative, interdisciplinary, nexus-thinking, however, raised several new issues and challenges for the university community, which we share here for wider engagement and debate:
- How can or should the University of Warwick move beyond “business as usual” to develop a genuinely aspirational as well as a pragmatic “vision”, towards a more sustainable world?
- To what extent should various connections with and through the UN SDGs shape the development of the University’s evolving strategy?
- How can we increase wider recognition of and critical engagement with SDGs from faculty and students?
- How do we best consult with and engage faculties and departments to develop strategies in response to issues raised by the SDGs?
- How do we ensure that we consider accessibility and reducing inequality in all its forms in our offerings across campus and the University?
- For researchers, how can we encourage greater awareness and working with an interconnected approach to SDGs?
- What resources in terms of staff and time do we need to improve how and what we do at Warwick regarding the SDGs?
- And finally, what should be the future of SDG reporting at Warwick?
We strongly welcome any feedback from the University members and the general public reading this report to ensure we continue developing our reporting and practice in line with our ambitions for a sustainable future.
SDG Discussion Forum: 2pm, 7th December 2021
All University of Warwick Staff are invited to join members of the SDG Advisory Group for a discussion around the next steps for Warwick and the SDGs.