Sold-out virtual summit tackles SDGs head on

15 September 2021 | News

The final summit in the Aotearoa New Zealand Sustainable Development Goals Summit Series was a major success, with the sold-out event attracting hundreds of participants.

The summit, co-hosted by Lincoln University and the University of Canterbury on 2 September, included presentations and workshops on how the country can take real action to achieve the 17 internationally agreed SDGs. The goals cover all elements of global sustainability, from poverty to clean oceans, equitable education, and climate change. Read more about the full summit series here.

The online summit represented a pivot from a planned two-day face-to-face event and brought together business leaders, experts, students, community leaders and government organisations under the theme, ‘Collaborating for Systemic Change’.

The event was opened by Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nanaia Mahuta, the first woman to hold the Foreign Affairs portfolio.

Ms Mahuta began the summit with a keynote presentation that reinforced the Government’s commitment to achieving the SDGs.

Lincoln University Professor Bruce McKenzie also spoke at the beginning of the event, emphasising how proud Lincoln was to co-host the summit with the University of Canterbury.

"The sustainability development goals are really important to Lincoln University," he said. 

We are adopting sustainable practices in our organisation and helping our community to make a difference through our teaching, research and the many demonstration activities that we take part in. 

We commit to taking collaborative action to work together for this greater good.

Following initial speeches, participants took part in a range of interactive workshop sessions, which gave them the opportunity to contribute to the conversation.

The summit also included 10-minute presentations on topics of SDG interest, with Lincoln University Senior Lecturer Dr Hafsa Ahmed presenting on the topic, ‘Uncomplicating the integration of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals into management education programmes’.

A key outcome of the series, and a highlight of the day, was the Aotearoa SDG Declaration, a statement of commitments that signatories agree to abide by to advance the SDGs in New Zealand.

Lincoln University and the University of Canterbury, followed by the Ara Institute of Technology, led the way in signing this declaration, and nearly 200 individuals and organisations had signed by the end of the day.

The entire summit was recorded, and the 39 individual sessions are now available on the 2021 Aotearoa Virtual SDG Summit YouTube channel. 

The event was the culmination of the 2020-2021 Aotearoa/Sustainable Development Goals Summit Series, co-hosted in its entirety by Lincoln University and the University of Canterbury.

In addition to the most recent event, the series included three online hui. These can also be viewed on YouTube:

  • Hui 1: See the Change – held on 19 November 2020, Hui 1 aimed to facilitate an understanding of the SDGs.
  • Hui 2: Be the Change – held on Thursday 25 March 2021, Hui 2 offered a reality check about Aotearoa New Zealand’s performance against the SDGs, as well as exploring how individuals can play a part in achieving the goals.
  • Hui 3: Working Together for Change – held on 24 June 2021, Hui 3 focused on taking collective action to achieve the SDGs.

The Summit Series fits perfectly with Lincoln’s Sustainability Policy, which outlines the university’s commitment to international leadership in promoting and achieving sustainable practices.

Lincoln made a massive leap in the 2020 GreenMetric World University Rankings, achieving a near perfect score in the Education indicator, reflecting the fact that sustainability issues underpin many of the institution’s courses, research and publications.

The university also gained significant increases in Energy and Climate Change, as well as Waste and Transportation, with its bold objective to be carbon neutral by 2030 and cease the combustion of coal by 2024 receiving a $4.6m investment from the Government’s Clean Powered Public Service Fund last year.

Read more about Sustainability at Lincoln.

The Lincoln Community Sustainability Experience

In conjunction with the SDG Virtual Summit and on a date still to be determined, Lincoln University will invite participants and other members of the public to visit the campus for the Lincoln Community Sustainability Experience.

The event will show how the university and other experts and scientists in the district are working to implement the SDGs.

Information will be shared via presentations and display booths run by Lincoln academics, as well as experts from AgResearch, Plant & Food, Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research, Lincoln Envirotown and the Selwyn District Council.

There will also be opportunities to tour the campus and learn about the university’s journey from coal to renewable energy. 

Watch this space for more information on the Lincoln Community Sustainability Experience.