MAKING THE GLOBAL SUSTAINABILITY VISION A UNIQUELY AFRICA-CENTRIC REALITY AT MANDELA UNIVERSITY
The United Nations’ proposed development goals outlined in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development have been described as a blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, for this and future generations. This blueprint is made up of 17 aspirational and practical Sustainable Development Goals [SDGs] that map out a way forward that is essential if our planet and our species is to thrive now and in the future. Aligned with this global vision, the African continent has developed more Africa-centric goals through the African Agenda 2063 aspirations for the Africa We Want.
Mandela University is committed to working toward making this combined global and continental vision of sustainability a reality and has adopted the maxim “think global and act local.” This approach means that Mandela University is contributing to this vision in a unique and forward-thinking way. A way that is looking beyond the 2030 SDGs, a way that is ensuring long-term sustainability and short-term impact at community, regional, national, continental and international levels. In practice this is borne out through Mandela University’s long-standing focus on partnerships and engagement across community, regional, national, continental and international boundaries.
In essence, Nelson Mandela University is applying a bi-directional model – a top-down and ground up approach to this vision of sustainability. What this means is that while high-level strategic planning is focused and pro-active, the practicalities of the local community needs are simultaneously being addressed. In short, by applying the goals to local projects, Mandela University’s ground up approach to change is ensuring that the needs of local communities are prioritised while the university simultaneously contributes to the global movement toward sustainability. This means that while Mandela University is supporting a global vision, the practicalities of that vision begin to manifest in our local communities where there are immediate, and urgent needs.