Reflections from the Member Meeting on 10 March

Martin Eriksson in front of a map where the Nordic countries are marked.

Blog post by Martin Eriksson, Network Manager of SDSN Northern Europe

On the 10th of March, the SDSN Northern Europe had its first online member meeting for this year. In addition to some news from the SDSN Northern Europe secretariat, we listened to presentations about Global platforms for sustainability monitoring, reporting, and ranking of universities by Dr. Tahl Kestin from SDSN Australia, New Zealand and Pacific, and SDSN Europe – a new collaboration opportunity at the EU level by prof. Phoebe Koundouri from SDSN Greece and SDSN Europe. We also presented the new SDSN Northern Europe Leadership Council.

Happy to see so engaged members

Approximately one year after most of us started to work from home due to the Covid-19 pandemic, I suppose we are all a bit tired of working from home and having most of our meetings online. Therefore, it was very inspiring to see that this meeting attracted more than 40 participants and that the discussions during the Q & A and in the chat were so lively and interesting. I want to thank you all for making this meeting so interesting.

Sustainability monitoring, reporting, and ranking

The presentations and discussions gave some important insights for me. Sustainability monitoring, reporting, and ranking can indeed be very useful and important for universities. As the urgency of the sustainability challenges of our time gets more attention, it becomes increasingly important for universities to Walk the Talk and communicate how they address these challenges. Although sustainability monitoring and reporting mean quite a lot of work, the process of transforming a university towards sustainable research, campus operations, and high-quality education for sustainable development is clearly stimulated by such initiatives, especially if they have broad participation over faculties and institutions. Dr. Tahl Kestin presented the wealth of platforms for university monitoring, reporting, and ranking, each with district advantages and disadvantages. It seems clear that it is essential to formulate an aim for your university’s actions in this area, i.e. what does your university want to get at the end of the process.

Together with SDSN Australia, New Zealand and Pacific, SDSN USA, and SDSN Canada, we are investigating if common reporting principles and standards can be outlined into a best practice for university monitoring and reporting.

SDSN Europe

The newly established SDSN Europe, presented by Prof. Koundouri, is a very interesting initiative. This is not a new regional network but is instead a new collaborative platform for existing national and regional networks in Europe. In the light of the ambitious European Green Deal and the massive investments into Covid-19 recovery packages, SDSN Europe aims to analyse how policies and recovery investments at the European level align with the 2030 Agenda. Since the SDSN Europe representatives are well connected to policymakers in Brussels, new opportunities open up to push for SDG-aligned EU policies. SDSN Europe also represents a platform for knowledge exchange between European networks.

I think it would be great if we can identify more Solution Initiatives among our members, link them to relevant actors within SDSN Europe and bring them closer to EU policy, as well as create more European collaboration and thereby hopefully enable our members to get more EU research funding.

New Leadership Council

Finally, it was a pleasure to present the new SDSN Northern Europe Leadership Council and listen to some of its members presenting themselves. We look forward to working with all of you – Leadership Council members as well as members of the network – to jointly transform our universities and use our knowledge to create action for the SDGs in the Nordic countries and the rest of the world.

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