Students outside library

BCCIC Roundtable Meeting on Sustainable Development Goals

Working towards Sustainable World—BCCIC Roundtable Meeting on UN’s New Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
Time: Wednesday, October 28th, 2015, 7:00 PM—10:00 PM
Location: Building 255—Room 165, Nanaimo Campus, Vancouver Island University

On October 28th, 2015, the World Leisure Centre of Excellence at VIU was honored to be one of the 21 participants at Nanaimo Roundtable Meeting in the discussion of UN’s new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Hosted by the BC Council for International Cooperation (BCCIC), this meeting, along with other roundtable meetings that are taking place around the province, was to encourage conversations and collaborative efforts towards sustainable development among participants representing groups and organizations on the island that have been dedicated in addressing social problems locally or globally.

There are 17 SDGs, ranging from No Poverty, Zero Hunger, and Good Health & Wellbeing, to Peace, Justice & Strong Institutions, and Partnerships for the Goals. Before the emergence of SDGs, UN’s former Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) mainly reflected a top-down approach where governments and nonprofit organizations developed policies and strategies around the 8 MDGs in the efforts of helping relatively poor countries to address sustainable problems.

The new SDGs, however, require UN members to collaborate towards the SDGs which are universal in nature and are applicable to all countries. And the fulfillment of one goal requires achieving all the other 16 goals due to the inter-connections among all SDGs.

SDGs definitely bring hopes and opportunities for collaborative efforts for all UN members, however, participants at the Nanaimo Roundtable meeting showed some concerns regarding the usefulness of these 17 goals. Representing mostly those small & medium-sized nonprofit organizations, participants were more interested in searching for funding and resources to sustain themselves first so that they could carry on or expand their work on sustainable development.

There was also concern in terms of how groups and organizations on Vancouver Island positioned themselves into these overwhelming SDGs. Regarding to transform SDGs into actual action, one participant pointed out the importance of leaders in this sustainable development movement. “To create the action, we have to have someone who is going to take responsibility for that and coordinate that…To leave this room and do more than just talk requires an action statement, requires someone who is attached to that to lead that action statement: that’s how we make things happen.”

Despite all the concerns and suspicions of whether SDGs are useful, several consensuses had been reached among most of the participants. 

To begin with, using SDGs as a guideline to connect individuals and groups working towards similar goals was widely recognized. This connecting function of SDGs, as suggested by many of the participants, could be developed through an interactive website with all groups working on a certain target under certain SDG could position themselves on the website so that there was potential for collaboration and resource sharing among these similar groups.

Moreover, many of the participants called on an umbrella organization to perform on behalf of the nonprofits on the Island for collaborative funding, actions and networking resources, which is similar to what BCCIC is doing. 

Furthermore, the majority of the participants acknowledged the important roles of universities in initiating and leading sustainable actions. They encouraged student engagement and welcomed course assignments and research projects on the topic of SDGs in order to achieve comprehensive understanding of these goals.

 For more details of SDGs, please visit:

Related Posts