The Higher Education Sustainability Initiative (HESI) is a partnership between several United Nations entities and the higher education community, currently chaired by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA) and the Sulitest Association - a non-profit organization and online platform aimed at improving sustainability literacy for all. Other UN partners include UNESCO, UN Environment Programme, UN Global Compact’s Principles for Responsible Management Education initiative, UN University, UN-HABITAT, UNCTAD, UNITAR, UN Office for Partnerships and UN Academic Impact.
The Vision Statement by the Secretary-General on Transforming Education, “Transforming Education: an urgent political imperative for our collective future’” – the formal outcome of the Transforming Education Summit held in 2022 – notes that education is a great enabler, but today, in many cases, it is also the great divider. The Vision Statement further notes that education is in crisis and requires our immediate, mid-term and longer-term responses including a fundamental rethinking of the purpose and content of education, grounded in two principles of a new social contract for education, namely ensuring the right to quality education throughout life and strengthening education as a public endeavor and a common good.
Each year, HESI organizes a global forum as a special event to the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) – UN’s main platform for the follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development at the global level - to highlight the critical role of higher education in achieving sustainable development. In 2023, HLPF (10-19 July 2023, New York) will be held under the theme “Accelerating the recovery from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development at all levels”. It will also review in-depth Goals 6 on clean water and sanitation, 7 on affordable and clean energy, 9 on industry, innovation, and infrastructure, 11 on sustainable cities and communities, and 17 on partnerships for the Goals, and include 41 Voluntary National Reviews by member States on their implementation of the 2030 Agenda.
The HESI 2023 Global Forum, which will be held on 17 July 2023 as an in-person event at UNHQ, will place a particular focus on understanding the challenges and opportunities to accelerate the recovery from COVID-19 and the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda at all levels, in line with the theme of HLPF in 2023.
The Forum aims to:
Provide a deeper understanding of the challenges and opportunities in higher education to accelerate the recovery from COVID-19 and the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda at all levels.
Build a higher education sector that is accessible to all and leaves no one behind.
Highlight and boost key higher education initiatives that drive implementation of the 2030 Agenda through education, teaching, and learning - particularly around SDGs under review at HLPF (Goals 6 on clean water and sanitation, 7 on affordable and clean energy, 9 on industry, innovation, and infrastructure, 11 on sustainable cities and communities, and 17 on partnerships for the Goals,).
Spotlight the levers of sector transformation, including cross-institutional partnerships or evolving practices in higher education quality metrics, academic publications, or increased demand for green jobs.
Convene an evolving and action-oriented conversation on the critical role of higher education in achieving sustainable development.
International Green Gown Awards Ceremony
The International Green Gown Awards Ceremony, in association with Allianz Global Investors, took place virtually at the UN High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development on 17th July 2023 at 18:30 BST / 13:30 EST.
More information available at: https://www.greengownawards.org/international-awards-ceremony
The Forum was open to all relevant stakeholders, both in-person and virtually. It was attended by about 500 in-person and 800 virtual participants.