JULY 2017 : Sulitest at the High Level Political Forum
The core mission of the Sulitest Association is “to provide and develop a tool to make sure that current and future decision makers have sufficient awareness on sustainability challenges to take informed and effective decisions and to collectively build a sustainable future.”
Developed as a tangible implementation of HESI (Higher Education Sustainability Initiative) launched at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development in 2012 (Rio+20), Sulitest presented its first activity report as a founding act during the UNESCO World Conference on Education for Sustainable Development celebrating the end of the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (DESD) and setting-up the post-2015 agenda in November 2014 in Nagoya.
Sulitest provides an online training and assessment tool called The Sustainability Literacy Test. This tool is available for higher education institutions and other organizations beyond academia to raise awareness on sustainability and assess sustainability literacy for their students, staff and other stakeholders.
After a pilot phase (2014-2016), Sulitest has reached an important milestone with the launch of its new platform in September 2016. Built on the feedback of its community, this new version is more user-friendly, equipped with a learning mode, a new matrix to ensure a systemic vision and has been deployed beyond academia to business and organizations... But the most important change is the alignment of the tool to the SDGs framework. Thus, Sulitest has become an active contributor to the 2030 agenda on Sustainable Development.
This report highlights Sulitest’s contribution for the first academic years (2016-2017) of integration of the SDGs framework in the initiative. Two main contributions are highlighted: Firstly, as each question is linked to one or several SDGs, the Sulitest results are used to map the current awareness on the challenges addressed by the SDGs; secondly, a partnership with UN DESA has been signed to launch a specialized module to train citizens on the SDGs global framework and to improve their ability to contribute to the global agenda.
As the Sulitest is taken by a diversity of candidates in different contexts, it can be mined for data to map the current level of sustainability literacy and monitor progress overtime. Since its very beginning (pilot version), 61,667 candidates from 612 universities in 57 countries have taken the Sulitest as of July 2017. The matrix of topics and the format have changed in September 2016 to align the tool with the SDGs framework, the statistical consolidation between the pilot phase and the current version is thus not possible.
The mapping on global awareness on the SDGs conducted in this report is thus based on a sample of 16,575 candidates from 170 universities in 31 countries who took the Sulitest between September 2016 and July 2017, with an average score of 55% of expected answers. This sample will grow as more universities and organizations use the Sulitest in the future and contribute to fine-tune this first international survey on SDGs’ awareness.
Four main groups are identified:
  • A first group with a higher level of awareness (average scores > 60%) : SDG2 Zero Hunger; SDG 8 Decent Work and Economic Growth; SDG11 Sustainable Cities and Communities; SDG14 Life below water; SDG15 Life on Land and SDG16 Peace and Justice, Strong Institutions.
  • A second group with average scores of 58 and 57% on SDG4 Quality Education and SDG17 Partnerships for the Goal.
  • A third group with a medium level of awareness (between 46 and 53%): SDG1 No Poverty; SDG5 Gender Equality; SDG6 Clean Water and Sanitation; SDG7 Affordable and Clean energy; SDG9 Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure; SDG10 Reduced Inequalities; SDG12 Responsible Consumption and Production and SDG13 Climate Action.
  • Finally, SDG3 Good Health and Well-Being is clearly associated with a lower level of awareness in our sample with an average score of 34%, which calls for more urgent initiatives in terms of education and awareness for this goal.
The trends are then used to map the agenda of the upcoming edition of the High Level Political Forum (HLPF): the main platform in charge follow-up and review of the SDGs. The results show a steady increase of awareness regarding topics identified for the 2017 to the 2019 agenda, supporting the fact that the HLPF first reviews the more urgent SDGs in terms of average awareness. Finally, a focus is made on the specific SDGs reviewed during the 2017 HLPF and regional trends are displayed on the level of awareness on the challenges covered by the SDGs and the means by which these are connected to local contexts (using local questions) are explored. The results of this mapping call for the development of initiatives to raise awareness on each challenge covered by the SDGs to achieve an equally high level of awareness across the entire scope.
The second main contribution of Sulitest highlighted in this report is the launch of a specialized module on the SDGs framework and process. This module has been created by UN DESA to empower citizens to contribute to the global agenda by improving their knowledge on how the SDGs work, the scope covered, who is in charge of their implementation, etc. The results of the first sessions are presented at the end of this report.
They show that average scores are higher for specific SDGs than for the global framework, interlinkages and processes. This calls for using this module to train citizens on these dimensions. A dynamic is launched with this first edition that will be continuously improved to empower people towards the 2030 agenda.
We wish you a good reading of this report, and we hope it provides insights on how to contribute to the global agenda and achieve the goals!
The report can be found at:

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