What is Higher Education and Research for Sustainable Development (HESD)?

"Sustainable development is a development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs." - Our common future, 1987.

The International Association of Universities (IAU) embraces Gro Harlem Brundtland’s definition and works on Higher Education and Research for Sustainable Development (HESD) since it drafted and adopted the IAU Kyoto Declaration in 1993.

Higher education (HE) plays a key role in achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (SD) and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which aim to end poverty, protect the planet, foster gender equality, defend and promote cultures and cultural understanding, and ensure prosperity for all. HE offers disciplinary and transdisciplinary teaching and research, generates and contributes to the development of new and innovative approaches to global, regional and local issues. It calls for strong national and international teaching and research cooperation in order to give rise to unformulated solutions to new and older problems.

As stressed by UNESCO, Education for Sustainable Development is to provide everyone with the opportunity to acquire the knowledge, skills, attitudes and values necessary to shape a sustainable future. Our joint aim is also brought to the point by the following quote:

"(Higher) Education is no longer preparation for an assumed stable future but a nurturing of individual and collective potential to live well and skillfully in an already complex and volatile world, towards human and planetary betterment.Stephen Sterling, IAU Senior Fellow, Emeritus Professor of Sustainability Education at the Centre for Sustainable Futures, University of Plymouth, UK, Special Advisor on ESD and IAU Senior Fellow.

IAU HESD is one of the association's key priorities. To learn more about the IAU initiatives, projects and publications, have a look at the IAU HESD Flyer.

Navigate freely on this website and explore the work of HE institutions and organisations all over the world for SD and SDGs!

If you would like to register and submit your HESD actions to the portal, please read the instructions here

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