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Source: University of Canterbury

10 August 2021

What would it take to achieve the United Nation’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) In Ōtautahi Christchurch and across the country? Is it individual action, community advocacy, more robust legislation, or broader systemic social and economic change?

Organisers of a two-day national summit in Ōtautahi Christchurch on 2-3 September say it’s all of the above. They have gathered business leaders, experts, students, community leaders and government organisations to connect and collaborate on taking real action to achieve the SDGs, starting locally.  

Co-hosts University of Canterbury (UC) and Lincoln University (LU), with mana whenua Ngāi Tuahuriri, have created a summit with a difference.

Under the theme ‘Collaborating for Systemic Change’ the participant-led summit features concurrent sessions of workshopping, activations and kōrero, and field trips to see the SDGs in action In Lincoln, Lyttelton and around the central city.

Highlights include:

  • Distinguished Professor and award-winning environmentalist Dame Anne Salmond (Auckland University), in conversation with UC’s Head of Aotahi | School of Māori Studies and the Māori Futures Academy, Sacha McMeeking, on the special place of the SDGs in Aotearoa New Zealand.
  • A panel session with Climate Change Commissioner Dr Rod Carr.
  • A city centre community feast that is open to the public.
  • A diverse gathering of organisations including Enable, Tonkin and Taylor, Statistics NZ, Lyttelton Port of Christchurch, Christchurch International Airport, Orion, World Vision, West Papua Action Aotearoa, Ōtautahi Futures Collective, Massey University and others.

SDG summit chair and UC Sustainability Advisor Dr Matt Morris says the SDGs, which have been agreed by 193 countries through the United Nations (UN), are the best roadmap we have for the UN’s decade of action (2020 – 2030) to reset the planet on a path to sustainable systems and create a more equitable world.

“To create meaningful change and to do it in the timeframe required, we’ve got to work across sectors, share our knowledge, roll our sleeves up and together tackle the targets of the SDGs,” he SAYS.

The SDGs are 17 internationally agreed goals that will lead to a more equitable and sustainable planet. They cover all elements of global sustainability from eradicating poverty to clean oceans and equitable education to climate change action.

Mayor of Christchurch Lianne Dalziel will officially open the summit. The summit was created in partnership with the Christchurch City Council and Ara Institute of Canterbury, supported by Tourism New Zealand, Te Pokai Tara | Universities New Zealand, ChristchurchNZ, and New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO. 

The Aotearoa SDG summit and a series of three online hui were launched in September 2020. Sessions from Hui 1# – See the Change, Hui 2# – Be the Change and Hui 3# – Working together for change are available on You Tube here.

Early Bird tickets for the summit are available until August 16. All Summit tickets include the full two-day conference experience (including Field Trips and the Community Feast). See ticketing here. More programme details are here.