Sustainable development has been defined as development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Like Victoria University’s own Planetary Health mission, it calls for concerted efforts towards building an inclusive, sustainable and resilient future for people and planet. And so, at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro in 2012, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were born. The objective was to produce a set of universal goals that meet the urgent environmental, political and economic challenges facing our world. 17 Goals (pictured below) were then developed, and they were officially adopted by all UN Member states in 2015, as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development which set out a 15-year plan to achieve the Goals.
As a response to the UN SDGs and the Paris Agreement of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (in 2016), the Planetary Health Alliance (PHA) was formed (of which VU is a member). Planetary health is a field focused on characterising the human health impacts of human-caused disruptions of Earth's natural systems. Just as SDG Goal #17 emphasises the need for strong global partnerships and cooperation, the Alliance represents a bringing together of universities, research institutes and aligned organisations. Furthermore, as a member of the PHA, Victoria University established VU Planetary Health, and with it a whole-of-university approach via the four interconnected pillars of Research, Learning and Teaching, Community and University Sustainability.
This Guide has been developed as a response by the VU Library to the call from the UN SDGs and Planetary Health Alliance that all organizations cooperate and contribute in any way they can to the common goal of a more sustainable future for all.
 United Nations. The Sustainable Development Agenda. NY: United Nations, n.d. https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/development-agenda/.
 United Nations Development Programme. Sustainable Development Goals. NY: United Nations, 2021. https://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/sustainable-development-goals/background.html
 Planetary Health Alliance. Planetary Health. Boston, MA: Planetary Health Alliance, 2021. https://www.planetaryhealthalliance.org/planetary-health.