The Global Universities Partnership on Environment for Sustainability (GUPES), is one of the flagship programmes of UN Environment's Environmental Education and Training Unit. GUPES was the result of a consultative forum organized by UN Environment and its partners, to deliberate on ways of escalating UN Environment’s engagement with universities. It builds on the successes of the Mainstreaming Environment and Sustainability in African Universities, the nascent Mainstreaming Environment and Sustainability in the Caribbean Universities and the Asia-Pacific Regional University Consortium (RUC). At present, over 800 universities and regional partners/focal points from five different continents are part of the growing GUPES network.
GUPES aims to promote the integration of environment and sustainability concerns into teaching, research, community engagement, the management of universities including greening of university infrastructure / facilities / operations, as well as to enhance student engagement and participation in sustainability activities both within and beyond universities. This is done in accordance to the UN Post 2015 Sustainable Development Goals, the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development 2005-14, and the outcome document of the Rio+20 Summit - The Future We Want among others.
- To provide a strategic platform for the mainstreaming of environment and sustainability concerns into university systems across the world, and to facilitate inter-university networking on sustainability issues with emphasis on South-South and North-South tertiary partnerships;
- To build, through university education systems, a professional capacity and leadership needed for the prevention of and responses to environmental issues, risks and associated sustainable development challenges;
- To contribute to revitalizing the global higher education system and enabling it to address current sustainable development challenges with emphasis on UN Environment’s seven thematic priorities;
- To contribute to the knowledge generation within UN Environment’s seven priority thematic areas and other contemporary environmental and sustainability issues, risks and challenges;
- To optimize development opportunities provided by ecosystem services in a sustainable manner in line with the principles of “Green Economy” and in the context of sustainable development;
- To help prepare the world for the projected impacts of global climate change, disasters and conflicts, harmful substances and hazardous wastes, as well as to assist in reversing and mitigating these and other negative environmental and sustainability trends.