SLU news

Global Challenges University Alliance commits to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

Published: 17 December 2018

Global Challenges University Alliance (GCUA) – a global network of ten agricultural and life science universities has agreed on how to contribute to reach the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Four fields of action are identified, namely societal engagement, education, research, and transformation of universities and the higher education system. Dedicated international co-operation and translating knowledge into relevant action are identified key to address the global challenges.

The University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, Austria, has invited members of GCUA to discuss the UN Sustainable Development Goals as challenge to Life Science Universities. A position paper (see below) spells out what the members of GCUA shall contribute with, in support of the 2030 targets.

Seventeen points describe in more detail the member universities’ endeavors to contribute to reaching the SDGs.

”This has been the first GCUA workshop having the SDGs as a lead motif”, says Marnie Hancke, coordinator for GCUA at SLU, “and there will be more. We need to incorporate the SDGs into our daily life, way of thinking, to safeguard a sustainable global development for the sake of future generations. “

Read the position paper here

The 17 points

  1. GCUA acknowledges the severity and multitude of global challenges identified by the UN Agenda 2030 and the need for catalysing and driving fundamental transformations of societies in order to safeguard a sustainable global development, securing the survival of future generations.
  2. GCUA recognizes that the multifaceted and integrated nature of the global challenges requires an approach as broad and encompassing as the SDGs and identifies the need for integrative and systemic approaches in implementing the Agenda 2030.
  3. GCUA acknowledges that all goals and targets are to be reached and emphasizes the need for considering the entirety of goals and targets as well as their interaction when proposing action.
  4. GCUA acknowledges that universities must conceptualize their role in society, their research proposals, their teaching activities and their evaluation criteria for contributing to the UN Agenda 2030.
  5. GCUA and its member universities will provide leadership in implementing activities to fulfil the SDGs.
  6. GCUA critically analyses existing development strategies, including the Agenda 2030, and their coherence.
  7. GCUA commits to communicating the Agenda 2030 to the public and, where necessary develop the Agenda 2030 as a narrative which is tangible and useful for local communities.
  8. GCUA member universities strive to be active at the science policy and science society interface.
  9. GCUA will develop and integrate education for sustainable development curricula.
  10. GCUA commits to build professional, personal, social, and systemic competencies for agency in the sustainability agenda.
  11. GCUA identifies the crucial role of scientific research and discourse to reach the SDGs in their manifold dimensions.
  12. GCUA will foster inter and transdisciplinary research.
  13. GCUA and its member universities seek and foster new funding opportunities for research on the SDGs.
  14. GCUA will encourage scientists to reflect on the impact of their own research on the SDGs.
  15. GCUA will create an interdisciplinary culture of cooperation within and between member Universities.
  16. GCUA will foster a culture of cooperation, systems thinking and societal responsibility at Universities.
  17. GCUA will foster integration of teaching and education, science and research with the societal engagement to contribute to transformation of society towards sustainability.


Marnie Hancke
Research Officer
Faculty of Natural Resources and Agricultural Sciences, SLU, +46 18 671181, +46 73 4155215