York shows meaningful progress towards UN’s Sustainable Development Goals

(Riddhi Jani)

As of January 22, York has launched a report on progress towards reaching the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

According to the UN, the SDGs are the “blueprint for achieving a better and more sustainable future for all.” Climate action, poverty, justice, quality education, and life on land and below water are just a few of the 17 global issues addressed by these goals.

However, the UN’s targets have been countered due to COVID-19’s impacts on rising poverty and unemployment, further interrupting SDG initiatives and affecting the world’s most vulnerable.

“As we continue to face a convergence of unprecedented trials — climate change, racism, political polarization, poverty, and inequality — which are all being affected and exacerbated by the pandemic, it is clear that the need to leverage our collective capacity, resources, expertise, and knowledge to solve these issues has never been more urgent,” states Rhonda Lenton, president and vice-chancellor of York in a Universities Canada article, underlining the importance of pooling our collective ability to address these pressing concerns. 

By sharing stories of sustainability actions and innovations through the recent UN Sustainable Development Goals Report and accompanying website, York stays committed to being a positive force of change through global leadership. 

“Canada’s universities are stepping up to the challenge, acting as hubs where ideas and actions converge to make meaningful progress on the SDGs,” Lenton continued.

Based on the report, progress has been made in all 17 SDGs such as recent innovations towards preventing poverty and homelessness, expanding access to quality and equitable education, as well as ensuring equitable access to sustainable and renewable energy. 

If York continues to follow their global leadership strategies for positive change, the result will be a prosperous and sustainable future for everyone. Many agree that York’s commitment to positive local and global change will set the stage for innovative generations to come.

“As a student, you want your university to be representative of your values, and I think that having a school that cares about sustainability and reaching these goals is really important,” says Brandon Morrison, first-year political science student. 

Morrison highlights the importance of York’s progress in shaping future generations who will reflect our current actions. “We really should be paying attention to the world around us, not just in our own communities, but in a global context — the next generation is going to be tasked with doing a lot of heavy lifting when it comes to climate change, income equality, and a host of other issues.” 

Nevertheless, with York’s framework of actions and innovations directed towards contributing towards the UN’s SDGs, students can help the development of local and global change within their communities. 

Morrison shares various ways students can support York’s initiatives, such as joining associations oriented toward global change or volunteering, stating that while “not everyone has that kind of time, the simplest thing you can do is be informed, because information is key to making sure we’re all working towards the same goal.” 

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By Aleksija Milovanovic


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