Education – from cradle to grave, including higher education – is the necessary solution to the most complex and intractable issues of our time, from climate change to inequality, migration to lack of access to education. None of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) identified in the UN Agenda 2030 can be achieved without the contribution of higher education and research.
The need for equitable quality higher education is arguably greater than ever, as is the need to advocate for the role of higher education in sustainable development at the highest levels, such as the United Nations. This requires a global response enabled by international cooperation.
The ACU, the Agence universitaire de la Francophonie (AUF), and the International Association of Universities (IAU) have agreed to strengthen joint collaboration in order to advance and promote the contribution of higher education to meeting our shared global challenges, with a view to signing a formal memorandum of understanding (MOU) next year.
The three associations have a complementary membership and together represent more than 2,000 higher education institutions from across all continents. Through the IAU World Higher Education Database (WHED.net), they can reach out to more than 20,000 institutions. This diverse membership covers higher education institutions, research institutes and associations internationally.
The associations share a commitment to improving higher education – including access, equity and inclusion in higher education – and a belief that international collaboration is essential to the health and vitality of the sector globally.
This partnership builds on recent collaboration between the associations, including the release of a joint statement on higher education’s essential contribution to the SDGs at the 2019 UN High-level Political Forum in New York. Jointly the associations will advocate the role of higher education in sustainable development at global forums, and develop joint events, projects and initiatives to address higher education issues and in particular to harness the sector’s contribution to the SDGs.