Goal 17: Partnerships for the Goals

Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalise the global partnership for sustainable development

The University of Wollongong is committed to working towards the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through its governance, teaching and learning, community engagement, partnerships and research. The following initiatives are by UOW staff and students working towards SDG 17: Partnerships for the Goals.

Commitment to the goals

The University of Wollongong signed a university-wide commitment to meet and address the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals on 25 September 2019. This marked the fourth anniversary of the 193 supporting member countries signing the Sustainable Development Goals. While UOW had already been working toward the SDGs through its research priorities and operations, the signing reaffirmed UOW’s commitment to support, advocate for and continue to work toward this important global agenda.

Alliances and networks

The University Global Partnerships Network (UGPN) is a network of universities aiming to develop sustainable, world-class research, education and knowledge transfer through collaboration. UGPN sets out to create a foundation for international collaboration enabling academics and students from some of the world’s top universities to work together on issues of global importance. UOW hosted the 2021 conference focused on the SDGs.

In 2017, the University of Wollongong, University of Newcastle, and University of NSW founded the NUW Alliance. Western Sydney University joined in November 2020. The Alliance represents a step change in industry, education, research and training collaboration to deliver real impacts and job-ready graduates for the future.

United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network

UOW is a member of the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), a global initiative to implement the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change through education, research, policy analysis, and global cooperation. Membership of the SDSN aligns with UOW’s longstanding commitment to research that tackles the world’s most pressing challenges, both locally and globally.


“When diverse organisations work together collaboratively with a common goal, we can tackle and overcome large and complex social, environmental and economic problems. The SDSN offers the opportunity to work with like-minded partners to create greater levels of innovation and deliver positive impact, locally, nationally and globally.” 

Professor Jennifer L. Martin AC FAA, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research & Innovation)

Integrating the goals, globally

Dr Belinda Gibbons is building greater awareness of the SDGs in industry and business education. Dr Gibbons is the sole academic representative for Australia and New Zealand on the United Nations Principles of Responsible Management Education Advisory Committee. She represents business higher education institutions in Southern Asia and the Pacific, and collaborates with other country committee members to direct responsible management education internationally. The Advisory Committee’s strategy for integrating the UN’s principles for responsible and sustainable business practices has been rolled out in more than 650 business education institutions across 85 countries. 

Global goals, local level

‘Global Goals, Local Level’, is a case study of cross-sectoral engagement involving multi-stakeholder partnerships. The project has presented SDG partnership framework findings at the CR3+ Conference for corporate responsibility, titled ‘Using dialogue to build partnerships for sustainability’. Dr Belinda Gibbons also works closely with local councils and Healthy Cities Illawarra on mapping the SDGs to local council frameworks. Her current research involves the design and development of a mapping process that would enable the understanding of how effectively the SDGs targets and indicators could be mapped at a local level. Connecting participants from various sectors has provided a rich opportunity to learn, engage with the community, and align specific organisation’s initiatives to the SDGs.

Networking and advocacy

  • UOW ran the panel on Multi-Stakeholder Partnerships for Sustainability and organised the conference stream on
  • ‘Partnerships for Sustainable Development’
  • Unpacking the Sustainable Development Goals’, a forum held at the Novotel Wollongong in and convened by Healthy Cities Illawarra, La Trobe University and UOW.
  • UOW academics have participated in ‘We’re all in
  • this together: Pursuing the SDGs in Wollongong and Shellharbour’ with Healthy Cities Illawarra
  • UOW Centre for Critical Human Rights Research held a national workshop on the United Nations SDG in the Asia-Pacific Region.
  • UOW in 2018 and 2019 partnered with the SDG Action Network to hold a #ACT4SDG event celebrating the 4th anniversary of the SDGs.
  • Hosted ‘National workshop on the United Nations SDG in the Asia-Pacific Region’ hosted by UOW Centre for Critical Human Rights Research 

Sustainable education

UOW provides interdisciplinary subjects that are built upon the theoretical foundation of the UN Global Compact and map Principles for Responsible Management Education and SDG education research across disciplines. The United Nations Association of Australia Sustainable Development Goals Scholarship is available for undergraduates who are actively working on or promoting the UN SDGs. The SDG Subject Portfolio committee is ensuring that UOW has a portfolio of undergraduate subjects that will develop knowledge and skills relevant to  the UN SDGs. The initiative will ensure subjects will develop interdisciplinary approaches where students are working on real world, project-based coursework. 

Research, publications and partnerships

  • UOW published 8010 journal articles on the SDGs in the last decade (2009-2019).
  • 33% of all UOW publications addressed an SDG between 2009 and 2019.
  • 4400 organisations currently collaborating with UOW from community, university, government and industry.

Figure: Percentage of UOW published journal articles on the SDGs in the last decade (2009-2019). Colour = SDG 1-16.

UOW Global Challenges Program

UOW’s Global Challenges Program is a strategic research initiative designed to harness the diverse expertise of researchers to address real-world problems. Global Challenges has over a hundred projects actively working toward the SDGs with one third of those in partnership with industry and the community.

visit the global challenges website

The University of Wollongong's Global Challenges Program is a strategic research initiative addressing real-world problems. The program harnesses the expertise of world-class researchers to solve problems beyond the scope of a single discipline. Interdisciplinary research is fundamental to ensuring that every project and problem is investigated from a variety of perspectives to find a holistic solution the magic happens. When unlikely collaborators find a focus and work toward a shared challenge the Global Challenges Program supports research projects under four challenge areas including Building Resilient Communities - targeting inequality vulnerable populations and disaster resilience, Living Well Longer - with a focus on aging and dementia mental illness and therapeutic and personal recovery, Making Future Industries - 
investigating emerging technologies new product development and the future of work, and Sustaining Coastal and Marine Zones investigating climate change protecting coastal and marine habitats and resource security. Global Challenges funds unconventional projects with teams who work across different fields of research with a focus on diversity and gender equality and to the development of early career researchers the program invests in the next generation of research leaders global challenges supports research project teams to grow into self-reliant and sustainable initiatives through brokering connections with industry government and communities as a result research has produced both scholarly outcomes and make real world impact transforming lives and regions.

If you know of a UOW project or initiative that's working toward this SDG please let us know. For more information email sdgs-uow@uow.edu.au.

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Four men are silhouetted against the ocean in Vanuatu. Photo: Paul Jones
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