The University of Oxford and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) announced a new global initiative during the UN Biodiversity Conference (COP15) in Montreal on 8 December 2022. The University of Turku is one of the founding universities of the Alliance.
The global network of universities works towards promoting biodiversity research and education in higher education institutions, supporting nature restoration in higher education sector, and deepening dialogue and flow of information between higher education institutions. The network is a part of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration.
The Alliance believes in higher education institutions as drivers of positive change in bringing broader attention to climate and environmental crises in society. By committing to the network’s operations, the universities pledge to set targets for nature positivity, monitor the realisation of their goals and report on the progress to the network annually.
“Being a founding member of the Alliance strengthens the profile of the University of Turku as an advocate of biodiversity and deepens the collaboration between international pioneering universities,” says Vice Rector Mika Hannula.
“The Alliance promotes biodiversity research and the practical measures. For example, we have already mapped out the species diversity of the campus area in the BioBlitz event, and together with the University of Jyväskylä, we will undertake calculating our environmental footprint for the first time. We are very excited to participate in this global network. As a university, we aim to protect life in all of its forms,” says Director of the Biodiversity Unit of the University of Turku, Professor Ilari Sääksjärvi.
The Alliance has 111 founding members from 48 different countries. The network has been joined by 408 universities. Moreover, the network will also be launching a student ambassador programme.