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Universities lead on SDG action

26 August 2022

The 2020-21 Aotearoa SDG Summit Series, led by the University of Canterbury (UC) and Lincoln University (LU), has been recognised with a nomination for a Green Gown Awards Australasia, hosted by the Australasian Campuses Towards Sustainability (ACTS), as an exemplar of engagement across sectors.


The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set targets to achieve progress towards a more peaceful, equitable and sustainable world.

The UC and LU series evolved into three online huis leading to a full day summit, which was also held online due to Covid-19 restrictions during 2020-2021. With 83 speakers from across Aotearoa New Zealand, almost 1000 people attending online, and 1 million people reached through social media engagement, the series proved an effective way to discuss action on the 17 SDGs with students, sustainability advocates, the business sector, community and government.

SDG 17 Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 17 - Partnerships for the Goals

Some 66 videos of sessions from the three hui and the online summit are available online, comprising an invaluable free resource for ongoing engagement.

An important development of the series was a Declaration of Commitment to the SDGs, which 199 organisations and individuals signed. Participants also pledged their support for a national SDG Alliance.

The initiative was the third in a series of university summits since 2018, led by a national stakeholder group.

UC and LU partnered with Ara Institute of Canterbury, Christchurch City Council, supported by Tourism New Zealand, Te Pokai Tara | Universities New Zealand, ChristchurchNZ, Seeds podcast and New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO, to create a working group with event curator Erica Austin. Planning began with UC’s Treaty of Waitangi partner Ngāi Tūāhuriri, who helped the team to weave te ao Māori (Māori worldview) through the processes and events. There was a strong focus on youth participation, and ongoing engagement with the Pasifika community.

The Aotearoa SDG Summit Series is a finalist in the Green Gown Awards partnership category. Regional winners will be announced at a virtual awards ceremony on November 17, 2022. View the full line-up of 2022 finalists here.

SDG Summit Series
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