The University of Antwerp attaches great importance to sustainability, in many different areas. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) play a role in various parts of life at the university, from student initiatives to research activities. But there are target groups in the outside world too, including young people and local authorities.
The University of Antwerp joined forces with the Province of Antwerp to work on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) about two years ago. The SDG Transition Chair was established at the Institute of Environment and Sustainable Development. ‘The aim is to tailor the SDGs to provinces and local authorities’, explains Vice-Rector for Valorisation and Development Silvia Lenaerts, the holder of the chair. ‘One of the things we’re working on is the hands-on development of a set of SDG indicators. Two local councils are closely involved in a pilot project. Another project is the assessment of the SDG impact that provincial policy-making has.’
The University of Antwerp has also created an SDG Youth Hub with and for Belgian higher education students, thanks to the financial support of the Federal Institute for Sustainable Development. ‘The idea is to create a network of students in Flanders, Wallonia and Brussels who are committed to raising awareness of the SDGs among their fellow students and who want to take action together on SDG-related issues. Coaching is provided to help the students transform their own university colleges or universities into institutions that will pay lasting attention to the SDGs in their teaching, research, valorisation and policy’, explains Silvia Lenaerts. The platform connects young people across regional, national and international borders to enable the exchange of innovative and practical ideas on SDGs and best practices. This project is part of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network.