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United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Driving collective action for the SDGs: The role of further education - Building a sustainable and resilient recovery

Wed 07 Jul 2021, 9.00 am




The Higher Education Sustainability (HESI) Special Event takes place annually during the High Level Political Forum (HLPF) in order to highlight the critical role of higher education in achieving sustainable development by forming the current and future generation of leaders, driving the research and policy agenda for both the public and private sectors, as well as facilitating multi-stakeholder collaboration at the local and global level. This forum is also meant to bring together key actors in the space to highlight the challenges, the opportunities and lessons learned to advance the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

This year’s HLPF focused on “Sustainable and resilient recovery from COVID-19 pandemic that promotes the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development: building and inclusive and effective path for the achievement of the 2030 Agenda in the context of the decade of action and delivery of sustainable development”. The 2021 HLPF discussed specifically SDGs 1 (on poverty reduction), 2 (on zero hunger), 3 (on good health and well-being), 8 (on decent work and economic growth), 10 (on reduced inequalities), 12 (on responsible consumption and production), 13 (on climate action), 16 (on peace, justice and strong institutions) and 17 (on partnerships), considering the integrated, indivisible and interlinked nature of the SDGs. In that sense, while SDG 4 was not the distinct focus of this year, this SDG constituted a critical enabler of a sustainable and resilient recovery from COVID-19 pandemic and the progress on all of the SDGs.

The event was organized by the Higher Education Sustainability Initiative.



As HLPF participants explored various aspects of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, from international cooperation to controlling the pandemic and its impact to put the world back on track to achieve the SDGs by 2030, this event:

  • Provided a deeper understanding of the challenges and opportunities faced by the Higher Education sector, as well as the lessons learned, to support a sustainable and resilient recovery from COVID-19 pandemic that promotes the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development.
  • Highlighted key stakeholder initiatives that drive innovative efforts in support of the recovery and achievement of the SDGs, through education, teaching and learning, decarbonization of campuses, and other crucial endeavors.
  • Convened an evolving and action-oriented conversation on how to bring about the collective systemic change needed to realize the decade of action and achieve the Agenda 2030.

Webcast recording

HESI in Numbers

HESI infographics gif



Related Goals