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SDG 17 - Partnerships for the Goals

14 November 2023

Learn how UC is committed to contributing to SDG 17 - Partnerships for the Goals, to strengthen the means of implementation and revitalise the global partnership for sustainable development.


Tītohu Tūroa Sustainability Showcase

In October 2022, UC and the Christchurch City Council proudly presented research and action towards creating a more sustainable future, called Tītohu Tūroa | Sustainability Showcase. The in-person and on-line free event was open to the general public and UC community. Ten presentations featured the latest research and local developments given by experts from UC and Council across many sustainability issues, including transport, food waste, coastal adaptation, affordable energy, and urban forest planning. The event gave people the opportunity to hear from top speakers driving sustainability outcomes locally and nationally, such as Chair of the Climate Change Commission Dr Rod Carr, Pou Whakarae Ngāi Tahu Centre Professor Te Maire Tau, and Christchurch Airport Chief Executive Malcolm Johns, including leading academics, Christchurch City Council staff, postgraduate students and business leaders.  In the lead up to the event, Council Assistant Chief Executive Lynn McClelland said, “Tītohu Tūroa | Sustainability Showcase celebrates the strong partnership between Council and the University and is an opportunity to showcase the initiatives we are driving together” and UC Pro-Vice-Chancellor Sustainability Professor Jan Evans-Freeman said, “the mix of speakers from academic, planning and business backgrounds will discuss urgent sustainability challenges such as reducing carbon emissions, equitable access to energy, te ao Māori and Pasifika perspectives and how young people can better participate in sustainability conversations.”

Adaptation of Agroecosystems to Climate Change

UC hosted a two-day scientific conference on research activities and collaborative projects between New Zealand, French research organisations and universities to answer questions for these two countries and in the Pacific territories. The aim was to present research and share the knowledge between international teams working on climate change impacts and adaptation of agroecosystems, discuss issues and adaptation strategies for agriculture and forestry, and explore future joint research projects and initiatives on adaptation of agroecosystems to climate change.

Increasing our presence and impact

We continue to deliver a wide range of experiences for the public in Ōtautahi Christchurch and Waitaha Canterbury. UC Connect, our popular free public lecture series, offers topical, educational public lectures by experts in their fields and leading thinkers. UC Connect public lectures is one of many experiences we offer to the public. Some other experiences include the BrainDate series, MBA Thought Leadership Series, memorial and sponsored lectures, art exhibitions at the Ilam Campus Gallery, recreation services in the gym, music performances, and free MOOCs.

Supporting the 2025 Special Olympics

Christchurch has secured hosting rights for the 2025 Special Olympics National Summer Games, which will be held for three days in December that year. Around 1300 athletes will compete in 11 different sports. UC is partnering with four specialist accommodation providers to operate 10 halls of residence and apartment facilities, offering over 2,700 beds on campus. Some of these halls will be utilised to accommodate athletes, volunteers, and support staff during the event.

The Ngāi Tahu Research Centre

Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu and UC announced the establishment of an Office of Treaty Partnership, Kā Waimaero the Ngāi Tahu Centre. The announcement signalled progressive new changes to the structure of UC to acknowledge mana whenua Treaty Partners – believed to be a first for Aotearoa New Zealand universities. The Ngāi Tahu Centre creates a tangible space that represents the partnership and works directly with the Vice-Chancellor to oversee the implementation of the partnership agreement and provide strong Māori academic leadership on a pan-university basis. “This is a journey the University of Canterbury began a long time ago in developing a greater understanding of cultural inclusiveness and the principles of the Te Tiriti o Waitangi in action. Building a strong relationship with Ngāi Tūāhuriri and Ngāi Tahu is fundamental to continuing our bicultural journey and engaging our Māori community. This is the practical manifestation of that,” said Vice-Chancellor Professor Cheryl de la Rey.

Partnering on researching climate change in the Pacific

Researchers and academics from UC and the University of the South Pacific in Fiji launched a new research partnership project, The Pacific Ocean Climate Crisis Assessment, that will explore the impact of climate change in the Pacific and the role Indigenous Knowledge can play to help communities to adapt. The project is co-led by Professor Steven Ratuva, who is the Director of the Macmillan Brown Centre for Pacific Studies at UC, and Professor Elisabeth Holland, Director of the Pacific Centre for Environment and Sustainable Development at the University of the South Pacific, Fiji. The project will provide a robust evidencebased assessment of climate change impact and social resilience in the Pacific to help inform the global stocktake or assessment of progress and climate change resilience over time.

Third SDG Summit Series

The third SDG Summit Series in Aotearoa event (2020-2021) was successfully co-hosted by UC and Lincoln University. The Summit supporters included the Christchurch City Council and Ara Institute of Canterbury, and partners were ChristchurchNZ, Tourism NZ, NZ National Commission (UNESCO), Universities NZ, UC Centre for Entrepreneurship and Seeds podcast. Under the theme Collaboration for Systemic Change, the Summit attracted 440 participants after moving online due to Level 3 and 4 Covid-19 restrictions. “Our scientists have pointed out that time is short and urgent change is needed if we are to achieve the SDGs, so let us set aside our narrow institutional and sectoral interests, let us work together and secure a future for our people and our planet,” Vice-Chancellor Professor Cheryl de la Rey said in her opening address.

Kiwi sustainability declaration

UC’s co-hosting of the third SDG Summit Series in Aotearoa led the way in committing to action the United Nations 17 Sustainability Development Goals with over 190 participants and organisations signing the Aotearoa SDG Declaration.

The Declaration was created by a nationwide team after originally planning for the summit. The Declaration commits Signatories to abide by fundamentals such as Te Tiriti o Waitangi | The Treaty of Waitangi underpinning their actions, collaboration, urgent transformation of our economic and social systems, and ensuring no-one is left behind.

Start-up support

People who lost their job because of COVID-19 were offered the chance to kick-start their new business idea as part of an innovative new programme, Start Me Up. The programme guided potential business owners or those interested in learning about the process of testing out their concept to see if it has what it takes to be successful. The programme culminated in a graduation event celebrating participants’ successful completion and showing their concepts to an audience of local business, investors, entrepreneurs. Partnership for the new innovative programme includes ChristchurchNZ, Ministry of Social Development, Ara Institute of Canterbury, and UC’s Business School.

Digital tech supporting diversity

Academics at UC participated in a virtual, biennial conference, Ka Renarena Te Taukaea Creating Communities, which ran in late 2021. UC’s Business School Professor Paul Millar said contributors were asked to think carefully and courageously about the role digital humanities might play in creating communities capable of leading and contributing meaningfully to global conversations about a safe, equitable and sustainable future. The conference opened with a distinguished all-women panel discussing Indigenous Data Sovereignty. UC’s Executive Director Māori, Pacific and Equity, Associate Professor Sacha McMeeking was one of the panellists, reflecting on working to ensure Indigenous Data Sovereignty is recognised and protected, and what full and fair implementation of an Indigenous Data Sovereignty agenda might mean for Indigenous communities in the 21st century.

Partnerships for sustainability: UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network

The UN’s Sustainable Development Solutions Network is a unique network of problem solvers from academia, civil society, NGOs and the private sector. The network aim to support:

  • Global Discussions on Sustainable Development
  • Local, National, and Regional Problem Solving for Sustainable Development
  • Educational Initiatives for Sustainable Development
  • Applied Research and Communication for Sustainable Development

UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network website

Partnerships for sustainability: Principles for Responsible Management Education partnership

UC’s Business School is a signatory to the United Nations' Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME) initiative. The PRME bills itself as A global movement transforming business and management education through research and leadership.

Principles for Responsible Management Education website

Partnerships for sustainability: Australasian Campuses Towards Sustainability

ACTS aims to inspire, promote and support change towards best practice sustainability across all types of campuses.

Australasian Campuses Towards Sustainability website

SDG Summit Series in Ōtautahi Christchurch

The third SDG Summit Series in Aotearoa was announced in 2020. UC and Lincoln University (LU) are jointly hosting the series, of three online hui and a summit workshop. Each hui builds on the previous one, says Dr Matt Morris, UC Sustainability Advisor and SDG Summit Series Chairperson. Hui 1 See the Change starts November 2020, followed by Hui 2 Be the Change in March 2021, and Hui 3 Working Together for Change in June. The two-day national summit Collaboration For Systemic Change is on 2 and 3 September. The summit is co-hosted by UC and LU, with mana whenua Ngāi Tuahuriri, and is in partnership with the Christchurch City Council and Ara Institute of Canterbury, supported by Tourism New Zealand, Te Pokai Tara | Universities New Zealand, ChristchurchNZ, and New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO. Mayor of Christchurch Lianne Dalziel will officially open the participant-led summit, which will feature concurrent sessions of workshopping, activations and kōrero, and field trips to see the SDGs in action in Lincoln, Lyttelton, and around the central city. Business leaders, experts, students, community leaders and government organisations, will connect and collaborate on taking real action to achieve the SDGs. 

UC and the Ara Institute of Canterbury Partner to Teach Nursing

A joint initiative between UC and Ara offers those interested in becoming a nurse to study in Ōtautahi for the Master of Health Sciences Professional Practice (Nursing) and Bachelor of Nursing. The joint initiative means students who already hold a degree relevant to health sciences can gain two further qualifications in just two years. On completing the programmes graduates can become eligible to gain employment as a beginning nurse in Aotearoa. Students can complete a UC Master of Health Sciences Professional Practice (Nursing) and a Bachelor of Nursing (BN). The option of completing the Master of Health Sciences with a research component is also available.

SVA Service Award

Our near decade-long partnership with the largest student club in Aotearoa, the Student Volunteer Army, expanded to help spread its culture of meaningful volunteering to secondary schools with the SVA Award. The SVA Award is designed to assist high school students to understand how their service/volunteering contributes to wider society and can advance their future career. UC’s ViceChancellor Professor Cheryl de la Rey says it’s important to the UC community to make a positive impact on the well-being and social sustainability of Christchurch, Canterbury, and nationally. “Community engagement is something that UC graduates are known for. It’s one of UC’s future-focused objectives to deliver an education that prepares our students to be enquiring and enables them to create and contribute to a better society,” says Professor Cheryl de la Rey.

Connected MBA Programme

UC is the first university globally to sign as a Research and Knowledge Partner with the Smart Cities Council. Our new Connected MBA programme will give students access to the Council’s leading Smart Cities Academy and Smart Cities Practitioner Certificate programme. UC’s former MBA Director Associate Professor Dr Chris Vas views the partnership as a major win for students. “For a long time in MBA programmes we have focused on organisations in a macro global context, taking the city and the communities in which these organisations function for granted. The UC approach to supporting leaders to understand how their organisations can create a positive impact on cities and society is needed,” says Associate Professor Vas.

Community Engagement

UC’s Community Engagement Hub is situated in the heart of our campus, and is a destination for the academic study of volunteerism and disaster related community service. With innovative spaces for research and education, and social spaces that encourage collaboration, the Hub has contributed to over 30,000 hours locally. The Hub engages with international guests and groups, including Dr Jane Goodall, and recently hosted a virtual exchange between UC and the University of Puerto Rico staff about post-disaster delivery of health care following Hurricane Maria.

UC Partners with ENZ

ENZ and New Zealand’s eight universities, including UC, announced in late 2020 a partnership with UK-based qualifications provider the University Consortium (NCUK) that will allow students from more than 30 countries to begin a New Zealand university qualification without leaving home. The pathways initiative enables international students to begin study in their home countries towards Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees at any of New Zealand’s eight universities, including UC. Students commence the pathway in 2021.

Sustainability Events and Engagement

2020 was challenging for UC student engagement in sustainability, yet it opened up opportunities to connect with our students in creative and unique ways. During lockdown, our Sustainability Office ran a series of Sustainability @ Home campaigns over social media, with challenges and weekly feedback on how students were taking action on sustainability while at home. The challenges ranged from sustainable recipes and cooking, to gardening, slow fashion and low waste living tips. Students said they really enjoyed participating in the challenges, and loved learning new skills from other participants. After lockdown, there were restrictions on the types of activities that could be undertaken. However, we successfully delivered our popular Plastic Free July, Clothes Swap and Bike Breakfast events. 2,175 students and staff engaged with our sustainability events on campus, and we reached 331,644 people across social media channels.

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