Already in 2016, the International Association of Universities (IAU) published the report of its survey among universities about the role that the UN Sustainable Development Goals play in research, teaching as well as the Campus operation. This IAU GLOBAL SURVEY ON HESD 2016 was the first of its kind, with a modest 120 responses – 40 from Europe. The report shows that – among the respondents – attention for the SDGs is generally more significant in research than in teaching, and even less in the operations and Campus management. Most respondents associate the SDGs first and foremost with “environment”, followed by Societal and Cultural considerations and Climate change. About one-third of the responding universities have a specific sustainability strategy, but well over 50% offer professional development programmes on sustainable development.
In this context, we may also point to the report Mapping Awareness of the Global Goals on the results of the Suites, the Sustainability Literacy test or Higher Education students. The test was developed in the Higher Education Sustainability Initiative (HESI), in which a large number of UN organisations cooperate. The report shows that more than 16 000 students have taken the test between September ’16 and July ’17. The test shows which of the 17 SDGs are best known among students, and also shows that awareness of specific individual SDGs is larger than awareness of the global framework, interlinkages and processes.