DTU embraces the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals

Tuesday 10 Apr 18


Anders Overgaard Bjarklev
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The UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals are to form the basis for DTU’s research and education.

In September 2015, 193 countries—including Denmark—adopted the UN’s plan ‘Transforming our world – The 2030 agenda for sustainable development’.

The plan includes 17 Sustainable Development Goals to transform the world. A common denominator for most of these goals is that technology will play an essential role in solving the problems that must be addressed. DTU’s management has therefore decided that DTU is to embrace the Sustainable Development Goals and use them as a platform for its future work.

The Sustainable Development Goals entered into force on 1 January 2016, and they commit the governments of the world to work to eliminate poverty and hunger in the world, reduce inequalities, ensure quality education, and good health for everyone, decent jobs, sustainable economic growth, etc.—a total of 17 goals which large parts of the globe’s population can still only dream about reaching.

"We need to act now, target our priorities, and recognize that some goals are more important than others."
Anders O. Bjarklev, President of DTU

“Some of the challenges which the Sustainable Development Goals describe are fairly manageable today, but they’ll have developed into huge problems in twenty-five years. We therefore need to act now, target our priorities, and recognize that some goals are more important than others,” says DTU President Anders Bjarklev.

Already today, DTU’s study programmes provide students with competences in sustainability, innovation, and entrepreneurship. Not least because this is essential for the creation of jobs for young people, who constitute an increasing share of the world’s population. DTU’s strategy also attaches importance to the sustainability agenda.

“Working with sustainability on a large scale entails some highly complex issues, which may mean that our researchers will have to look for new collaboration partners which we have not previously considered and which work in the same direction. And when we prioritize our research programmes, we must promote projects with sustainability goals to an even greater extent. I cannot think of a single department or centre at DTU which cannot—in one way or another—contribute to accomplishing this task.”

Thousands of young people graduate from the universities each year, and some of them will hold central positions in society at some point. According to Anders Bjarklev, this gives the universities a special responsibility:

“One of the most important aspects of the universities is that through our study programmes, we shape young persons’ awareness and feeling of responsibility for coming generations. We also give them a lot of knowledge, which forms the basis for everything that they’ll do in their working life for the next fifty years.”

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