Member forum: COVID-19 – What does it mean for SDGs and universities?

1 June, 2020  |  Events - Past  ,  Universities & SDGs   

The 5th Accelerating SDGs Practice discussion forum for SDSN AusNZPac and ACTS members, on 28 April 2020, discussed how our work on advancing the SDGs at our institutions is being affected by the COVID-19 crisis, and how we can respond proactively.

Download forum summary.

How is the COVID-19 crisis affecting our community, which has been working to help the institutions we work for (and institutions in other sectors) deepen their contributions to sustainability, sustainable development, and the SDGs? How should we respond?

On one hand, given the immense impact that the COVID-19 crisis is having on every aspect of our lives, it is not surprising that our institutions, and society more broadly, have little bandwidth at the moment for continuing engagement on the SDGs.

On the other hand, we know that the principles and ways of thinking the SDGs encourage are essential for dealing with the current crisis, the recovery, and other current or future sustainable development challenges. And we know that our sector will continue to have a critical role in supporting society to address these through our research, teaching, operations, and community leadership.

The aim of this forum is to provide a comfortable space for the community to share how our work is being affected by the crisis, and to discuss how we can respond proactively.

Some potential topics for the discussion are:

  • Identifying challenges facing the SDGs in the Higher Education community in the immediate, medium and longer term as a result of this crisis, and brainstorming ways we can mitigate them.
  • Identifying opportunities for our community to support our institutions, and society more broadly, in responding to, recovering from, and transforming in ways more aligned with the SDGs as a result of the crisis.
  • Capturing lessons surfacing from the crisis on the value of the SDGs for our institutions and the role they have in advancing the SDGs now and in the future, and considering how these might change the focus of our work.
  • Identifying collaboration opportunities among participants to reinforce the crucial role our institutions play in helping society to recover from crisis and advancing the SDGs.

However, we invite participants to tell us through the EOI process what topics interest them or would be helpful to them most, and we will try to design the discussion around these requests.


Accelerating SDG Practice series is a joint initiative of SDSN AusNZPac and the Australasian Campuses Towards Sustainability (ACTS), which aims to help our member institutions accelerate and scale up action on the SDGs. If you have any questions, please contact Tahl Kestin at SDSN AusNZPac ( or Rhiannon Boyd at ACTS (