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UNESCO Chair team to join Canadian delegation to the 2023 UN High-Level Political Forum

UNESCO Chair team to join Canadian delegation to the 2023 UN High-Level Political Forum

Read the full y-file story, published on 13 July.

Canada will present their 2023 Voluntary National Review (VNR) during the United Nations High-Level Political Forum (UN HLPF) in New York on July 19, 2023. The report will outline the initiatives undertaken in Canada to make progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

During this year´s UN HLPF, York University will be represented by the team of the York´s UNESCO Chair in Reorienting Education towards Sustainability, Chairholder Charles Hopkins and Coordinator Katrin Kohl. Both have been invited to join the official Canadian Delegation to the 2023 UN HLPF among other experts from government, academia, business, industry, and civil society.

The UN HLPF is the central platform within the United Nations system to track progress on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development with the 17 SDGs. This year´s HLPF will also inform the SDG Summit in September 2023 that will serve as a mid-term review for the SDGs. More than 2,700 delegates are expected to attend, 38 countries and the European Union will present their VNRs. 12 special events, more re than 200 side events, 17 VNR labs, and 21 exhibits will take place.

Focus areas of the 2023 UN HLPF discussions will be SDG 6 on clean water and sanitation, SDG 7 on affordable and clean energy, SDG 9 on industry, innovation, and infrastructure, SDG 11 on sustainable cities and communities as well as SDG 17 on partnerships. While SDG 4 on quality education is not at the centre of discussion this year, access and retention in quality education and lifelong learning with an Education for Sustainable Development (ESD)at the core is not only a cross-cutting issue but has been recognized three times by the UN General Assembly as a key enabler of all of the SDGs.

York´s UNESCO Chair has long been engaged with ESD and works with UNESCO and other UN agencies today promoting to transform education and training systems and to raise public awareness. Hopkins and Kohl will advocate for the importance of involving higher education institutions in policymaking, for modeling sustainability in the university as whole and the transformative power of quality education.

Earlier this year, York University contributed to informing Canada´s VNR by highlighting York´s strategic commitment to elevate action for the SDGs through the University Academic Plan 2020-2025 and other strategic documents, such as the Framework on Black Inclusion, the Indigenous Framework for York University and the new Decolonization, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy 2022-2027. York also reported concrete activities that make positive change, e.g., York’s One WATER, an interdisciplinary center for research on water issues to solve water challenges faced by communities in Canada and globally, the Microlecture Series in Sustainable Living and the SDGs-in-the-Classroom Toolkit.

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