A New Year’s Resolution: Education for the UN Sustainable Development Goals

Professor John Sandars

Everyone is aware of the local, national and global challenges that face our lives and our planet.  These challenges do not only include the ravages of climate and environmental change but also the need for social justice and universal health coverage.  

The recent COP 26 summit highlighted that we may have only the next 10 years to make a long-lasting difference to climate change; and the other challenges have a similar urgency. However, it will also be essential to have a continuing future commitment that ensures that any changes that are made cannot be reversed. 

Responding to these challenges requires educating our citizens of the future about not only the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs) but also how these goals can be achieved. This requires all educators to also increase their own awareness of the 17 UNSDGs and to develop their approaches for supporting how our future citizens can be equipped with the knowledge and skills to make positive change to all of our lives and our planet.

An important first step in making any journey of change is to have more information about what needs to change and how the change can be implemented. The SustainNET website provides some recently published resources of interest to all educators at Edge Hill University.

There is also a link to the Advance HE site which has its own links on how to practically embed teaching and learning about the 17 UNSDGs across a programme and module curricula at any university.

It is now the time for setting New Year resolutions and what better than to make a commitment to make a change to teaching and learning across Edge Hill University so that all programmes and modules integrate education about the 17 SDGs. Our academic community’s challenge is to ensure that our future citizens are educated as if our lives and our planet matter. We all know it makes sense!

Professor John Sandars is Professor of Medical Education at Edge Hill University, and Co-Leader of SustainNET.

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