Chancellors’ Challenge: The Sustainable Development Goals

The Chancellors’ Challenge is an innovative cross-listed North American Studies and Political Science course run in cooperation with the Laurier Centre for the Study of Canada and the Laurier Library. Senior undergraduate students engaged in collaborative, student-centred learning and employed digital tools to develop online projects addressing some of the biggest issues confronting Canada today.

Chancellor Rae’s Challenge:

The Sustainable Development Goals

 

How do we integrate the Sustainable Development Goals into the budget and accountability mechanisms that in all four levels of government in Canada: federal, provincial, municipal, and indigenous? What are the challenges and, and why do the SDGs matter—or not?

THE SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS (SDGs) are a universal agreement to end poverty through United Nations initiatives and create a just and more secure world. The StoryMap project created by students Aynur Izzettin, Gabriel Quindamo, Anjali Sanderson, and Avery Wilson addresses the questions posed by former chancellor Bob Rae on the implementation of the SDGs in Canada.

This project investigates how Canada is tackling the SDGs at different government levels, emphasizing the interconnected nature of the seventeen goals. It also underscores the challenges the country faces in achieving these targets, particularly in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. The project recommends developing local, provincial, and national SDG targets and indicators or employing tools like the Community Capital Framework (CCF) to enhance sustainable development efforts, ensure the SDGs’ success, and pave the way for a more equitable and sustainable society.

The StoryMap project delves into the implementation of the SDGs, examining how these global objectives have been embraced at various levels of Canadian government: federal, provincial, municipal, and Indigenous governance. The SDGs, established by the United Nations in 2015, provide a comprehensive framework for addressing critical global issues. They are an evolved response to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that initially aimed to combat a range of global social, economic, and political challenges. While the MDGs were slated for completion by 2015, they had limitations that necessitated the creation of the SDGs, focusing on diverse areas like environmental sustainability, diversity, equity, social inclusion, and economic prosperity for nations. The current SDGs encompass seventeen goals, expanded from the original eight MDGs, to be achieved by 2030, and have garnered international collaboration, engaging various stakeholders, including civil society organizations, citizens, scientists, academics, and businesses. The primary distinction between the MDGs and SDGs lies in the holistic and collaborative approach of the latter, emphasizing a global perspective that encompasses both developed and developing nations.

The SDGs address a wide array of issues, spanning poverty, hunger, health, education, gender equality, clean water access, renewable energy utilization, economic development, sustainable urbanization, and climate change mitigation. These goals are interconnected, with progress in one domain potentially affecting others. The SDGs underscore the importance of inclusivity, advocating for the needs of marginalized groups such as women, children, people with disabilities, indigenous peoples, and refugees. Achieving these goals requires not only domestic resource mobilization but also international cooperation, private sector investments, and technological advancements. The SDGs represent a vision for a more equitable, prosperous, and sustainable future, offering a clear roadmap for policy development and investment towards a more just and sustainable world.

The StoryMap project also highlights the challenges that Canada faces in meeting the 2030 targets of the SDGs. It points to gaps between the sustainable development targets and the current reality in the country, including issues like industry diversification in Alberta and gender inequality in the workplace. The aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic has further complicated progress on the SDGs, as governments focus on economic recovery. The students argue that without significant changes and a more focused approach to the SDGs, Canada is at risk of falling behind in its sustainable development efforts.

To address this, the project suggests that Canada may need to develop local, provincial, and national targets and indicators for the SDGs, similar to the United States’ approach. Alternatively, they could adopt tools like the Community Capital Framework (CCF) planning toolkit, which considers various forms of capital to measure sustainability progress within communities. These approaches could help steer Canada’s sustainable development efforts in the right direction, emphasizing the importance of reevaluating and reinvigorating efforts to ensure the SDGs are met on schedule, to better offer a more sustainable and equitable future for people across Canada.

Click here to view the StoryMap in fullscreen at KnightLab.

 

Post written by Kyle Pritchard, Digital Content Manager at the Laurier Centre for the Study of Canada and a PhD Candidate at Wilfrid Laurier University.

StoryMap by Aynur Izzettin, Gabriel Quindamo, Anjali Sanderson, and Avery Wilson.

More from the Chancellors’ Challenge:

The Chancellors’ Challenge: An Introduction

The Chancellors’ Challenge: An Introduction

The Chancellors’ Challenge is an innovative cross-listed North American Studies and Political Science course run in cooperation with the Laurier Centre for the Study of Canada and the Laurier Library. Senior undergraduate students engaged in collaborative,...

Chancellors’ Challenge: The Green Transition

Chancellors’ Challenge: The Green Transition

The Chancellors’ Challenge is an innovative cross-listed North American Studies and Political Science course run in cooperation with the Laurier Centre for the Study of Canada and the Laurier Library. Senior undergraduate students engaged in collaborative,...

Chancellors’ Challenge: Interprovincial Trade Barriers

Chancellors’ Challenge: Interprovincial Trade Barriers

The Chancellors’ Challenge is an innovative cross-listed North American Studies and Political Science course run in cooperation with the Laurier Centre for the Study of Canada and the Laurier Library. Senior undergraduate students engaged in collaborative,...

Chancellors’ Challenge: Defence Spending

Chancellors’ Challenge: Defence Spending

The Chancellors’ Challenge is an innovative cross-listed North American Studies and Political Science course run in cooperation with the Laurier Centre for the Study of Canada and the Laurier Library. Senior undergraduate students engaged in collaborative,...