Statement by University Leaders in Support of The Summit of the Future – UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network

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We university leaders from around the world are united in support of the Sustainable Development Goals and pledge to support governments, businesses, and civil society to achieve these goals. As members of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), we issue this statement to support the UN member states as they prepare for The Summit of the Future (SOTF).

SDSN was created in 2012 under the auspices of the UN Secretary-General to help governments promulgate the SDGs, and then achieve them, through the education of young people, scholarly research, incubation of technical and institutional innovations, outreach to society, and active work with government, business, and other stakeholders. SDSN has around 2,000 member institutions in more than 140 nations. Its SDG Academy offers free online university courses and other educational materials across the range of sustainable development fields and topics. The SDSN is committed to supporting the UN in its vital efforts for peace, human rights, sustainable development.

The SDGs provide a unique and compelling framework to achieve sustainable development in all parts of the world and to leave no one behind. We take heart that governments around the world are striving to achieve the SDGs, as evidenced by the 188 of 193 UN member states that have presented Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs) to the High-Level Political Forum.

Nonetheless, accelerated actions are needed at the local, national, regional, and global levels to achieve the SDGs. To this date, progress is far too slow. This is the result of serious shocks to the world economy in recent years, including the pandemic, wars, and geopolitical tensions, and to the inadequacies of the Global Financial Architecture (GFA), which directs insufficient high-quality finance to the emerging and developing economies. Nonetheless, the SDG framework is proving invaluable to governments, business, and civil society. For this reason, we believe that at the Summit of the Future, the world’s governments should extend the mandate of the SDG framework to 2050, with updated high-ambition milestones and quantified objectives.

We also underscore the many specific observations on the SOTF agenda raised in the SDSN Statement on the Summit of the Future in the 2024 Sustainable Development Report.

On our part as university leaders, we pledge the continued best efforts of our universities to support the SDGs, the Paris Climate Agreement, the Kunming-Montreal Framework for Biodiversity, and the other globally agreed goals for sustainable development. We firmly believe that universities have a unique responsibility and key role in helping our societies to move to sustainable development in the coming years.

We underscore the pivotal role of universities.

First, in today’s global knowledge economy, higher education is indispensable for economic success. Successful economies that are able to support high living standards and to be at the forefront of rapidly advancing technologies, must ensure that a significant proportion of young people achieve a tertiary education. Moreover, the qualified teachers for primary and secondary schools are also the product of the universities, and are vital in instilling a sustainable development ethos and the skill-sets for future leaders of our societies.

Second, the universities uniquely bring together the expertise spanning the natural sciences, engineering, social science, behavioral sciences, and the humanities, in order to address the sustainable development challenges, including the end of extreme poverty, social justice for all, and the successful fight for a safe climate and protection of biodiversity. This interdisciplinary strength supports innovative and cutting-edge solutions to complex SDG challenges.

Third, the universities undertake inclusive, interdisciplinary, problem-solving research on how to achieve the economic, social and environmental objectives of sustainable development, and are able to take into account the specific national conditions regarding culture, demography, patterns of development, physical geography, geopolitics, and global change.

Fourth, the universities are important convenors of governments, businesses, and civil society for a long-term, multi-stakeholder approach to sustainable development. Few other institutions in society have such close and trusted links with all major stakeholders and have the capacity, mandate and opportunity to take a long-term perspective on societal transformation.

Fifth, universities are essential and effective incubators for private-sector and civil-sector innovations and businesses. Cutting-edge new industries, and especially start-ups around the world, are co-located with universities.

Sixth, universities are globally interconnected, with extensive collaborations of scholars, joint degree programs, and networks of students. Universities in resource-plentiful settings partner with and support universities in resource-scarce settings, and can do more.

Seventh, each nation’s universities link the nation with academia in all parts of the world, and help to keep the nation’s economy and culture interconnected as well.

Eight, universities help to keep their nations connected with cutting-edge developments in science, technology, and culture in other parts of the world, and promote open science and the access of all nations to cutting-edge knowledge and technology.

As university leaders we pledge to do our part to harness these unique roles and responsibilities of the universities on behalf of our nations and the world community. We also commit to do more to engage Indigenous people’s worldviews and knowledge systems in sustainability, and to create the space for culturally diverse ways of addressing the sustainable development challenges and opportunities of our world today.

Specifically, on the occasion of the Summit of the Future, we pledge to do our part in the following areas:

  • Develop new education programs, including degree programs and professional certification programs, to train our students in the central challenges of sustainable development, including effective climate action;
  • Promote interdisciplinary education and research to identify solutions to the central challenges of sustainable development;
  • Work closely with governments at all levels – local, sub-national, national, and regional – – in order to devise new, bold, and science-based strategies to achieve the SDGs in all of their dimensions: economic wellbeing, social inclusion, environmental sustainability, and global peace and cooperation;
  • Work closely with the business community and entrepreneurs to incubate new start-ups that can advance technological solutions for the national economy and the SDGs;
  • Work with indigenous peoples to mobilize their knowledge systems, expertise, and world views in fashioning approaches to education, research, and policy making;
  • Strive to make our own campuses fully sustainable, shifting to renewable energy, circular economy, resource efficiency, and the protection of biodiversity;
  • Utilize the new online technologies to expand our delivery of quality education and to enable greater access in the population, while also enhancing on-site education on our campuses;
  • Partner with universities across the world, through the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network and via other collaborations and networks, promoting exchanges of faculty and students, joint programs, innovative curricula, open science, and practical support as helpful for universities in resource-scarce settings.
  • Promote innovation and technology transfer, including green technologies to enhance the prospects of a successful transition to net-zero energy systems;
  • Work closely with governments and SDSN to boost research outputs in the emerging and developing economies.
  • Work closely with SDSN to develop student programs to foster peace, appreciation of cultural diversity, and enhance conflict prevention and resolution at a time of heightened geopolitical tensions.

The world today yearns for solutions – to end wars, vanquish poverty and hunger, end social exclusion, and ensure environmental sustainability. The family on nations must rise to occasion to give hope, succor, and practical pathways to the future that we want. Universities around the world pledge to do their part. The commitment to our common global home, and to the world’s youth and future generations, is at the essence of our purpose and role.

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List of University Signatories

  • Prof. Taofik Adewale, Director of Centre for Research and Development, Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Nigeria
  • Ilesanmi Adesida, Acting President and Provost, Nazarbayev University, Kazakhstan
  • Prof. Johnson Adesodun, Rector, Ekiti State Polytechnic,Isan-Ekiti, Nigeria
  • Santiago Acosta Aide, Rector, Universidad Técnica Particular de Loja, Ecuador
  • Dr. Adenike A. Akinsemolu, The Green Institute, Nigeria
  • José Luján Alcaraz, President, University of Murcia, Spain
  • Nana Aba Appiah Amfo, Vice Chancellor, University of Ghana, Ghana
  • Prof. Dr. Biljana Angelova, Rector, Ss Cyril and Methodius University, North Macedonia
  • Norah Aziamin Asongu, Doctor, University of Yaounde, Cameroon
  • Raiane Patrícia Severino Assumpção, Reitora, Universidade Federal de São Paulo – UNIFESP, Brazil
  • Dr. Benoit- Antoine Bacon, President and Vice-Chancellor, University of British Columbia, Canada
  • Miguel Sopas de Melo Bandeira, Pro-Rector, University of Minho, Portugal
  • Dr. Fana Hagos Berhane, President, Mekelle University, Ethiopia
  • Raquel Bernal, Rector, Universidad de los Andes, Colombia
  • Professor Rufus Black, Vice-Chancellor, University of Tasmania, Australia
  • Dr. José Manuel Saniger Blesa, Secretary of Research and Development and Chair of SDSN Mexico, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Mexico
  • Professor Freddy Boey, President, City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
  • Dr. Baribeshya Jean Bosco, Vice Chancellor, Institut d’Enseignement Supérieur de Ruhengeri (INES- Ruhengeri), Rwanda
  • Tim Brailsford, Vice Chancellor, Bond University, Australia
  • Roque Brandão, Vice-president of Intituto Superior de Engenharia do Porto (ISEP), School of Engineering of Polytechnic of Porto, Portugal
  • Dr. Kevin Brown, President, University of Technology Jamaica, Jamaica
  • Pueyo Campos, Vice-President for Planning, Sustainability and Infrastructure, University Zaragoza, Spain
  • Graham Carr, President and Vice-Chancellor, Concordia University, Canada
  • Francesco Castelli, Deputy Rector, University of Brescia, Italy
  • John Jairo Arboleda Céspedes, Rector, Universidad de Antioquia, Colombia
  • Cheat Chealy, Rector, Royal University, Cambodia
  • Prof. Tan Eng Chye, President, National University of Singapore, Singapore
  • Prof. Philip Cotton, Vice Chancellor, University of Global Health Equity, Rwanda
  • Prof. Tasman Crowe, Vice-President for Sustainability, University College Dublin, Ireland
  • Sophie D’Amours, Rectrice, Université Laval, Canada
  • Lusine Danielyan, Director of External Affairs, Armenian State University of Economics, Armenia
  • Patricia M. Davidson, Vice Chancellor and President, University of Wollongong, Australia
  • Principal Patrick Deane, Principal and Vice-Chancellor, Queen’s University, Canada
  • Professor Andrew Deeks, Vice Chancellor and President, Murdoch University, Australia
  • Prof. Rosa Devés, Rectora, Universidad de Chile, Chile
  • Dr. Raman Dhaliwal, Associate Vice-President, University of Manitoba, Canada
  • Ignacio Sanchez Diaz, President, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Chile
  • Prof. (Mrs.) Rita Akosua Dickson, Vice-Chancellor, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Kumasi, Ghana
  • Dimitar Dimitrov Professor, University of National and World Economy, Bulgaria
  • Prof. Ir. Ts. Dr., Mohd Fadhil Bin Md, Universiti Teknologi, Malaysia
  • President KIM Dong-One, President, Korea University, South Korea
  • Professor Doran, Interim President, Technological University Dublin, Ireland
  • Prof. Wahab Egbewole, SAN, University of Ilorin, Nigeria
  • Enrique Etchevarren, Academic Secretary and Interim Rector, Universidad de Montevideo, Uruguay
  • Hong Tat Ewe, President, Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman, Malaysia
  • Professor Lawrence Ikechukwu Ezemonye, Igbinedion University Okada, Nigeria
  • Dato’ Prof. Dr. Ahmad Farhan bin Mohd Sadullah, Vice Chancellor, Universiti Putra Malaysia, Malaysia
  • Luis Ferreira, Rector, Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal
  • Profa. Dra. Karen Spadari Ferreira, PhD, Diretora da Secretaria de Relações Internacionais, Universidade Federal de São Paulo, Brazil
  • Professor Ian Findlay, President and Vice-Chancellor, University of Puthisastra, Cambodia
  • Dr. Orla Flynn, Atlantic Technological University, Ireland
  • Natassa Frederickou, President of the Council, Frederick University, Cyprus
  • Carla Fresquez, Director of Sustainability, UC Davis, USA
  • Francisco Javier García Rodríguez, Rector, University of La Laguna, Spain
  • Luis Garcia-Ghezzi, General Secretary, Universidad Austral, Argentina
  • Owunari Abraham Georgewill, Vice-Chancellor, University of Port Harcourt, Nigeria
  • Kevin Hall, President and Vice-Chancellor, University of Victoria, Canada
  • Dr. David Halliwell, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Partnerships, University of Victoria, Canada
  • Dr. José Antonio De los Reyes Heredia, General Rector, Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana, Mexico
  • Maria Augusta Hermida, President, Universidad de Cuenca, Spain
  • Simon S.M. Ho, President, The Hang Seng University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
  • Professor Holenu Mangenda Holy, Rector, Simon Kimbangu University, Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Dr. Nida Hussain, President, Ziauddin University, Pakistan
  • Prof. Yahaya Zayyana Ibrahim, Professor (Associate) in Global Environmental Change and Geospatial Analysis and Director Academic Planning, African Aviation and Aerospace University, Abuja, Nigeria
  • Professor Patrícia Iglecias, Head of Environment, University of São Paulo, Brazil
  • Prof. Dr. Mehmet Naci İnci, Chair of SDSN Türkiye – Rector of Boğaziçi University, SDSN Türkiye – Boğaziçi University, Türkiye
  • Sothy Khieng, Professor, CamTech University, Cambodia
  • Tim Killeen, President, University of Illinois System, USA
  • Prof. Koffi Kouakou, President, Université Alassane Ouattara, Côte d’Ivoire
  • Kanat Kozhakhmet, President, Narxoz University, Kazakhstan
  • Phouphet Kyophilavong, Vice President, National University of Laos, Laos
  • Assoc. Prof. Dr. Dukagjin Leka, Public University “Kadri Zeka”, Serbia
  • Rongyu Li, Vice-President (Global Engagement), The University of Queensland, Australia
  • Jacky Lumarque, Rector, Université Quisqueya, Haiti
  • Ali MAHAMANE, Former Rector of the University of Diffa, Currently Prof. Dr. Ir. at the University Abdou Moumouni of Niamey, University Abdou Moumouni, Niger
  • Gregor Majdič, Rector, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia
  • Yasutomo Nasu, President, Okayama University, Japan
  • Prof. Stavros Malas, President, The Cyprus Institute, Cyprus
  • Fr Stephen Mavely, Vice-Chancellor, Assam Don Bosco University, India
  • Adolfo Meisel, President, Universidad del Norte, Colombia
  • Essam Shaban Bersy Mohamed, Assistant Professor, American University in Cairo, Egypt
  • Pornchai Mongkhonvanit, President, Siam University, Thailand
  • Professor J A Ian Montgomery, Ulster University, Northern Ireland
  • Professor MT Mosia, Interim Vice Chancellor and Principal, University of Pretoria, South Africa
  • Lauren Müller de Pacheco, Rectora, Universidad Privada de Santa Cruz de la Sierra – UPSA, Bolivia
  • Dr. Erold Naomab, Vice-Chancellor, Namibia University of Science and Technology, Namibia
  • Atsufumi Yokoi, Vice President, Okayama University, Japan
  • Valeriy Naumyk, Vice-Rector, National University “Zaporizhzhia Polytechnic”, Ukraine
  • Prof. Dr. Nelus Niemandt, Rector, Hugenote Kollege, South Africa
  • Professor Johnson Nyarko Boampong, Vice-Chancellor, University of Cape Coast, Ghana
  • Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, President, The President of University of Galway, Ireland
  • John O’Halloran, President, University College Cork, Ireland
  • Br. Bernard S. Oca FSC, President, De La Salle University, Philippines
  • Professor Temi E. Ologunorisa, Vice Chancellor, Olusegun Agagu University of Science and Technology, Nigeria
  • Hor Peng, Rector, National University of Management, Cambodia
  • Manuel Perez-Mateos, Rector, University of Burgos, Spain
  • Marilen Gabriel Pirtea, Rector, West University of Timișoara, Romania
  • Prof. Irene Polycarpou, Rector of UCLan Cyprus & President of the Cyprus Rectors’ Conference, UCLan Cyprus, Cyprus
  • Prof. Sibrandes Poppema, President, Sunway University, Malaysia
  • Philippos Pouyioutas, Rector, University of Nicosia, Cyprus
  • Pr. Mamy Ravelomanana, President, University of Antananarivo, Madagascar
  • Professor Daya Reddy, Vice-Chancellor, University of Cape Town, South Africa
  • Robert G. Ridley, Vice-Chancellor, Unicaf University, Malawi
  • JULIÁN ESTEBAN RODRÍGUEZ, Rector, Universidad Austral, Argentina
  • Elisabeth Rukmini, Vice Rector, Universitas Pembangunan Jaya, Indonesia
  • Honglim Ryu, President, Seoul National University, Korea
  • João Sàágua, Rector, Nova University, Portugal
  • Jeffrey D. Sachs, President of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), University Professor, and Director of the Center for Sustainable Development, Columbia University, USA
  • Dr. Enrique Castañeda Saldaña, President, Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, Peru
  • Jaba Samushia, Rector, Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University, Georgia
  • Prof. Isaac Sanga Kosgey, Moi University, Kenya
  • Rath Sethik, PhD, Dean of Faculty of Development Studies, Royal University of Phnom Penh, Cambodia
  • Juraj Sipko, Director at Institute of Economic Research, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Slovakia
  • Professor SK Sobhee, Vice-Chancellor, University of Mauritius, Mauritius
  • President Prof. Jin- Guang Teng, President, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong
  • Alexandra Teodosio, Vice-Rector for Internationalization and Sustainable Development, University of Algarve, Portugal
  • Suvit Sae Tia, President, King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi, Thailand
  • Rocky S. Tuan, Vice-Chancellor and President, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
  • Victor Udo, Director of Campus Sustainability, Bucknell University, USA
  • Sarah Willie-LeBreton, President, Smith College, USA
  • Professor Barry Winn, Vice-Chancellor and President, Taylor’s University, Malaysia
  • Professor Joseph Wong, Vice-Chancellor, University of Port Harcourt, Nigeria
  • Dr. Prose Ivy G. Yepes, VISAYAS STATE UNIVERSITY, Philippine