Global Hub Status for SDG 16 is a massive honour

Heather-McLaughlinThe Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were established by the United Nations in 2015 and the mission was a massive one – to improve the lives of millions by the year 2030. 

De Montfort University is the global academic hub for one of those goals, SDG 16 to promote peace, justice and strong institutions. 

As DMU is the only university in Britain to be granted the accolade, it is a huge honour but it is also a massive responsibility, not least because SDG 16 is the goal that affectively allows all the other goals to flourish. 

If there is no peace, justice and strong institutions then there is little chance of eliminating poverty, having good health, decent economic prosperity, reducing inequalities and tackling climate change. 

DMU’s work as global hub officially began on New Year’s Day 2019 with the launch of three major projects as part of SDG 16. That work is concentrated on combatting the scourge of modern slavery across the world that we know affects more than 40 million people; research into ways of improving the dangerously low voting rates among the 18-30 age group; and building a global network of higher education institutions to highlight the plight of forced migration. 

The work as a global hub is about more than just these three projects, it is also about sharing research, examples of good practice and information through the university’s network and the United Nations Academic Impact. 

It is also about exposing students, university staff and the general public to work on all the SDGs and, with a student population of more than 25,000 young people, raising awareness of the goals and helping to mobilise action and opinions. 

This is why the university is a big supporter of UN75, a project by the United Nations to mark its 75th anniversary by helping to shape the future, bring about change and start a massive conversation. 

The UN realises that tackling issues such as the climate crisis, inequality, new patterns of violence and the major changes we are seeing in population and technology in order to achieve the SDGs will require co-operation across borders, sectors and generations. 

But just when we need collective action more than ever, support for global co-operation is flagging. In many countries, public trust in traditional institutions is in decline and relations between countries are under strain. 

Dialogue and action on global issues could not be more urgent. Through these conversations, the UN aims to build a global vision of 2045 (its centenary), to increase understanding of the threats to that future and support enhanced international co-operation to realise that vision. 

The aims of the SDGs and the work needed can all seem so daunting for the individual, but we can all make a difference. While one person’s efforts may not seem much if one million individuals are all doing things, then things start to happen. 

In this brochure, we are including the Good Life Goals – actions that individuals can take to make a difference and support the SDGs to improve lives. 

Together we can all make a difference.

Heather McLaughlin, 

Pro Vice-Chancellor Community and Civic Engagement