SDSN Canada, Waterloo Global Science Initiative, TakingITGlobal, and Youth Climate Lab, with the support of the Government of Canada’s SDG Unit, recently teamed up to engage university and college students across Canada on their perceptions of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and how they should be implemented on campus, in their communities, and across the country.
We heard that participating students are confident that achieving the SDGs will lead to a better future for their generation. In order to get there, they see climate action as a critical priority, one that must be supported by creating a just and equitable transition that ensures no Canadian is left behind. Time is of the essence and the need to embrace this transition cannot wait any longer.
For the SDGs to be a successful driver of change, four key areas need immediate attention to enable and accelerate national implementation of the SDGs in Canada:
- Fostering robust intergenerational relationships and justice to ensure that we can equitably meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
- Taking action to combat climate change and transitioning Canada to low carbon energy systems.
- Improving decision-making systems to overcome disengagement and growing distrust of political systems.
- Developing a new understanding of prosperity that aligns with evolving social and cultural expectations around wellbeing and generational equity.
The results of the engagement will directly inform the creation of the Government of Canada’s forthcoming National Strategy on SDG Implementation, and will kick-start a robust approach to youth-led initiatives across the SDSN Canada membership.
SDSN Canada’s membership includes 30+ universities and colleges who have committed to pushing the SDG mandate forward. Students at these institutions provide a crucial anchor point for SDG discussions on campus and this report provides valuable insight into the type of youth-led initiatives that can be seeded across the SDSN Canada membership. In order for these initiatives to succeed, we must acknowledge youth capacity to lead, engage youth in meaningful intergenerational partnerships and give youth direct access to power.
This project was funded in part by the Government of Canada’s Sustainable Development Goals Program.