Global registry of voluntary commitments & multi-stakeholder partnerships
Higher Education and Research for Sustainable Development (HESD)
Description/achievement of initiative

The IAU portal on HESD is an interactive web-based platform which showcases a growing number of HEIs and research bodies and their actions and initiatives for sustainable development. It lists news, events and resources on Sustainable Development in relation to Higher Education and Research. It provides tools for decision-makers, academia, staff and students as well as for other HE stakeholders. The aim is for it to become a global reference portal, increasing, connecting and showcasing actions and institutions, giving them global visibility and, ultimately, creating a global network of actors raising awareness and fostering north-south, south-south and south-north cooperation. Online assistance is provided to help the user in order for the tools listed to be used to the full, fostering networking, sharing, scaling up initiatives, and giving the opportunity to create the space for out of the box cooperation between stakeholders.

Implementation methodologies

1. Desk top research: 1.a. Systematically monitor and search the internet for sustainable development networks, HEI, resources, conferences, actions and initiatives of member institutions and organisations involved with SD in order to regroup and connect them through this common platform;1.b. To collect HESD news, assessment tools, research, declarations, reports and initiatives worldwide in order to showcase them, link them and facilitate exchange and partnership. 2. Member surveys. Curate, edit and upload information received;3. Maintain a global calendar of events for the 2030 agenda for sustainable development.4. Advocate for the need to strengthen the whole institution approach in order to integrate Education for Sustainable Development fully and to engage beyond boundaries and disciplines in higher education.

Arrangements for Capacity-Building and Technology Transfer

To organise targeted events to support the global agenda. Next : the IAU 15th General Conference on Higher Education: A catalyst for innovative and sustainable societies

Coordination mechanisms/governance structure

1. IAU HESD team works under the leadership of the IAU President, Professor Pam Fredman, Former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Gothenburg, and IAU Working Group of experts mostly composed of eminent Members of the IAU administrative Board. With one Director working half time and one Programme Officer working full time. 2. The IAU HESD Portal was used by UNESCO during the UN Decade on Education for Sustainable Development; information provided was used to inform the final Decade Report. The portal now is to showcase HE & R work in support of the 2030 agenda for sustainable development and associated SDGs. IAU adopts Higher Education and Research for Sustainable Development as an overall conceptual frame, involving its 650 institutional and organisational Members and reaching out to the higher education community and HE stakeholders globally.3. There are three main mechanisms for impact evaluation: 3.a. measuring and monitoring the number of HEIs, events, actions and resources listed on the portal (the growing of numbers) registered. The HESD Portal is the only forum of its kind. 3.b. Hits and contact messages received.3.c. Review by IAU board members as part of the sustainable development action of IAU 4. The HESD Portal provides information on resources produced by scholars and researchers and other practitioners from around the world and includes references and direct access to statements, surveys and reports, publications.


UNESCO, Copernicus Alliance, the Ubuntu Committee of peers, UNEP, GUPES, HESI Members, PRME, among others.
Updates to initiatives
Goal 4
4.7 - By 2030, ensure that all learners acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development, including, among others, through education for sustainable development and sustainable lifestyles, human rights, gender equality, promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence, global citizenship and appreciation of cultural diversity and of culture’s contribution to sustainable development
Goal 13
Goal 16
Goal 17
17.6 - Enhance North-South, South-South and triangular regional and international cooperation on and access to science, technology and innovation and enhance knowledge sharing on mutually agreed terms, including through improved coordination among existing mechanisms, in particular at the United Nations level, and through a global technology facilitation mechanism
17.16 - Enhance the global partnership for sustainable development, complemented by multi-stakeholder partnerships that mobilize and share knowledge, expertise, technology and financial resources, to support the achievement of the sustainable development goals in all countries, in particular developing countries
17.17 - Encourage and promote effective public, public-private and civil society partnerships, building on the experience and resourcing strategies of partnerships

Data, monitoring and accountability
grow database of experts in difference academic and research fields relating to sustainable development
Contribute to fostering whole of Institution approach and GAP goal 2
Grow number of HEIs and actions and initiatives on the portal each year (ongoing)
Financing (in USD)
12,500 USD
Staff / Technical expertise
Part time of one Director and one full time programme officer (1 year)
Other, please specify
SIDA support over the last 5 years

This initiative fulfils the SMART criteria.
Basic information
Time-frame: 01/2013 - 01/2030
UNESCO, Copernicus Alliance, the Ubuntu Committee of peers, UNEP, GUPES, HESI Members, PRME, among others.
Contact information
Hilligje van 't land, Secretary General,
United Nations