SDG Engagement in Local Governments, Cities, and Universities – Who is doing it? Why are they doing it? How are they doing it?

Thursday 30 June 2022 – 14:00 – 15:30 AEST
Moderator: Dominique Coy
Presenters: Dianty Ningrum, Jarrod Grainger-Brown, Andrea Cuesta Claros

As a global sustainability agenda, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) require action from all areas of society, from nation states to communities. However, the process of engaging and working towards the goals changes across contexts. Actors in these diverse contexts have different interpretations of the SDGs, motivations driving them to engage with the goals, ways of engaging with them, and challenges in their implementations. In this session, we will explore how engaging with the SDGs looks in three distinct contexts: local communities, cities, and universities. We will also discuss both unique and shared challenges across these contexts. In the context of local communities, we will specifically discuss how SDGs are being used by local governments in Australia to shape local sustainability actions. In the context of cities, we will explore how city governments worldwide are trialling various approaches to engaging with the SDGs, from creating new monitoring systems to modifying long-term strategies and budgets. We will also discuss how these engagements function in practice and their transformative potential. Finally, in the context of higher education, we will discuss the types of changes that the SDGs are bringing about (i.e. steering effects) and the extent to which the goals are embedded in specific universities in Australia and Mexico. Each of the speakers is a member of an SDG-specific PhD Research Program hosted by the Monash Sustainable Development Institute. This program responds to the need to deeply investigate the SDG framework and critically explore the factors driving its localisation and implementation. Through this session, we aim to open up a space to share experiences and lessons learnt of engaging with the SDGs in different contexts. We hope to give our colleagues an insight into the work which is occurring on-the-ground to make SDG-led change a reality.

Moderator: Dominique Coy – Senior Program Coordinator, Monash Sustainable Development Institute
Dominique works across the research and policy and impact teams, with a primary focus on engaging with the Australian and Pacific regions to explore the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.
Prior to starting this role, Dominique undertook a PhD with MSDI. Her thesis explored community empowerment in energy transformations and involved significant engagement with Communities, Governments, NGOs and Industry. In her thesis, Dominique also showcased an innovative method for complex decision-making, Multicriteria Mapping.
Previously, Dominique has worked in environmental and community advocacy where she sought to elevate community voices in planning and decision-making to obtain meaningful outcomes. Using her Master of Environment (Policy and Economics) and Bachelor of Psychology and Neuroscience, Dominique seeks to understand how to facilitate different stakeholders to engage in inclusive and sustainable change.


Dianty Ningrum – Doctoral Researcher, Monash Sustainable Development Institute

Jarrod Grainger-Brown – Doctoral Candidate, Monash Sustainable Development Institute

Andrea Cuesta Claros – Doctoral Researcher, Monash Sustainable Development Institute
Andrea is a doctoral researcher at the Monash Sustainable Development Institute. Through her research, she is interested in understanding how the SDGs influence the roles of universities in creating more just and sustainable futures. Her PhD project ultimately aims to build upon the potential of the SDGs as a strategic framework and influence whole-institution change in universities.