The 21st century is characterized as a knowledge society. The global university system is the natural source of knowledge required to understand the environmental and socioeconomic conditions that enable or impede sustainable development. Academia will help define the problem, set its boundaries, and identify options for a plan of action that would lead to a sustainable path of resource utilization. Knowledge and innovation, through applied and adaptive research, are necessary for achieving the new global development agenda, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in Nigeria, for solving the problems of sustainable development at the level of our communities in order to promote human well-being, and for laying solid foundations for the future.
Paradoxically, universities in Nigeria, as centres of knowledge creation and dissemination, are not usually linked with Government’s development policies and initiatives. Implementation of the SDGs thus provides an opportunity for the universities like ours to lead the higher education sector in raising the voices of the people, especially the poor, vulnerable and downtrodden. Being at the core of societies and known worldwide for being involved in rebuilding broken societies, universities are uniquely positioned between the communities and the governments they serve to demonstrate their developmental objectives and credentials and indeed apply these credentials to achieving the SDGs in the long run.
It is in view of the foregoing that the Centre for Sustainable Development in Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka has been established to provide a trans-disciplinary platform for the University to engage in issues of sustainable development, respond to the growing demand for education, research and innovation in sustainability, and to work alongside and interchangeably with Government, business and other interested stakeholders to maximize the commercial and epistemological impact of sustainability research and knowledge transfer activities generated by the University. This is the core mission of the Centre for Sustainable Development.