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IAU HESD Cluster

HESD: Higher Education and Research for Sustainable Development

A whole-system approach towards the SDGs

In March 2020, the UNESCO Chair took on a new role in coordinating higher education efforts towards the SDGs: We are now the Global Lead for SDG 4 Quality Education within the Global Cluster of Higher Education and Research for Sustainable Development (IAU HESD Cluster) at the International Association of Universities (IAU).

The IAU launched the IAU HESD Cluster to advocate for the key role that higher education institutions play in achieving Agenda 2030. This global research and policy network engages universities in addressing all 17 SDGs with 16 lead universities, one for each SDG. IAU leads the work on SDG 17 on global partnerships. The lead universities, which span all world regions, work with ‘satellite’ universities to advance a particular SDG, while ensuring synergies among all goals.

Taking the global leadership role in the SDG4 Subcluster, York University partners with

to primarily focus on the whole-institution approach as the most promising tool for higher education institutions in addressing ESD (SDG 4.7) as a key enabler of all SDGs.

Every year, the IAU HESD Cluster reports on their activities directly to the United Nations High-Level Political Forum with York University responsible for the reporting on SDG 4.

Find more information on the IAU HESD Cluster including the 2023 Report and a joint 2022 Statement by all Cluster Members. If you wish to learn more about individual actions of cluster members, please check out the HESD Global Portal.