McGill University has joined the University Global Compact (UGC) group as a founding member. The UGC describes itself as “a collaborative platform of globally engaged universities and higher education associations working in partnership with the United Nations and other stakeholders to create a more sustainable future for all.” The group receives support from the Rockefeller Foundation. McGill and University of Waterloo are the UGC’s only two Canadian members.
The news was announced on Sunday, Sept. 22 at a reception in New York City. Former UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon joined several higher education leaders, including Principal Fortier, for the event.
The UGC aims to advance the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Adopted unanimously by world leaders in September 2015, the goals are a global agreement about the world’s most pressing issues, and what targets should be met by 2030.
“It is a privilege for McGill University to join the University Global Compact,” says Principal Fortier. “Sustainability is a priority for McGill, both in the knowledge that we create and share through our academic mission, and in how we operate day to day. We share with our peer institutions a special obligation to guide society in its global sustainability efforts—and the University Global Compact will be an important platform for us to achieve that.”
The UGC is committed to advancing six objectives:
- Increasing students’ understanding of the most pressing challenges facing the world today, as articulated in the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, and inspiring students to play an active role in driving change and finding new solutions
- Developing the global competence and leadership skills students need to effectively collaborate across cultural and national boundaries and across disciplines and sectors in creating a more sustainable future
- Engaging in actionable research, knowledge sharing, and innovation in collaboration with local and international organizations in pursuit of novel approaches to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals
- Engaging with private and public actors in leading, guiding and supporting local, national and global responses to the Sustainable Development Goals
- Recognizing the impact that each member’s own operations have on important sustainable development issues, and acting responsibly to address them and serve as an example to others.
- Communicating publicly the group’s progress and being accountable for outcomes.
UGC member institutions will work together and in partnership with the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) and other UN organizations.