As an initiative established by the United Nations, PRME provides a range of opportunities for signatories to engage with a range of programmes throughout the UN system. This includes the wider “UN family” made up of the UN and its many affiliated programmes (e.g. UNDP, UNEP), funds (e.g. UNICEF), and specialised agencies (e.g. ILO, IMF, World Bank) each working on a different subset of sustainability issues globally and locally.
For example, signatories are invited and encouraged to engage in cross-programme projects relating to education and sustainable development including:
Sustainable Development Goals (SDG)
On 26 September 2015, all 193 Member States of the United Nations adopted a plan for achieving a better future for all—laying out a path over the next 15 years to end extreme poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and protect our planet. At the heart of “Agenda 2030” are 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 related targets that address the most important economic, social, environmental, and governance challenges of our time. These goals will help guide national government priorities, however it is the private sector that will be key to the success of each goal—through responsible business operations, new business models, investment, innovation and technology, and collaboration. For companies, successful implementation of the SDGs will strengthen the enabling environment for doing business and building markets around the world. Overall, the SDGs represent an unprecedented opportunity for business and academic institutions to align their own sustainability goals with goals for the broader society. Although the SDGs don’t officially begin until January 2016, now is the time to start exploring how to align curricula, projects, research, and partnerships and raising awareness about the goals on campus. For business updates on the SDGs, click here, for updates from PRME, click here, and stay tuned to PRiMEtime.
Higher Education Sustainability Initiative (HESI)
HESI was created by a consortium of UN entities (UNESCO, UNDESA, UNEP, Global Compact, PRME, and UNU) in the run up to the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20). Through HESI, higher education institutions commit to teach sustainable development concepts in their core curricula, conduct research on sustainable development issues, green their campuses and support sustainability efforts in the communities in which they are embedded. Although not specifically focused on management education, many PRME signatories are engaged.
The HESI network comes together regularly, most recently in October 2015 in Paris to discuss Higher Education for Climate Change Action. The event provided an opportunity to:
- take stock of progress made since Rio+20 by sharing best practices and lessons learnt,
- discuss the roles and responsibilities of higher education institutions in contributing to business and technological innovation around climate change adaptation and mitigation, and
- encourage new or enhanced commitments, particularly around the facilitation of academic and scientific inputs into the formulation of climate policies.
The meeting resulted in the formulation of a message and a set of policy recommendations to be presented to the UNFCC Secretariat at COP21 in December 2015 in Paris.
UNESCO Global Action Plan on Education for Sustainable Development
Building on the momentum and increasing importance of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) beyond the International Decade for Sustainable Development (2005-2015), the Global Action Plan (GAP) seeks to generate and scale-up concrete actions arou
nd ESD in all levels and areas of education and learning
to accelerate progress towards sustainable development. In order to do this five priority action areas have been identified; mainstreaming ESD into educational and sustainable development policies, integrating sustainability principles into education and training settings, building capacities of educators and trainers, empowering and mobilising youth, and accelerating sustainable solutions at the local level. For more on the GAP, click here.
UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) coordinates a wide range of local, regional, and global projects around education for all, at all levels, and in all areas. For more, visit en.unesco.org. One of these projects is the Global Business Coalition for Education, which brings the business community together to accelerate progress in delivering quality education for all of the world’s children and youth.
For more on UN-related educational programmes and opportunities to engage, keep an eye out for notices in the PRME Newsletter.