Sustainability Declaration!

Not everything that happens at the urban monastery revolves around sauerkraut!

Yesterday began with a zoom call with people who have been helping to craft the Declaration that will be offered up during the Sustainable Development Goals Summit in a couple of weeks. I was chairing this meeting – a little bit nervously to begin with given that we still didn’t really know what form the Summit was going to take now we are in lockdown.

The night before, my Tantra coach (yeah, I have one of those!) stepped me through a ‘heart meditation’ and I think this encouraged me to be brave and open the zoom hui with a karakia. It turned out to be an incredibly uplifting meeting. Although this doesn’t always happen, I do see that adversity can bring out the best in people, and this is what happened.

So, we know (pretty much, confirmation on Monday) that the Summit is now going to be a one-day online event on 2 September. We may still be able to do the Community Feast, but that would be at a later date still to be decided. I’m going to talk about the Community Feast later, cos it is so awesome.

And the Summit Declaration will still go ahead as well. There’s some tikanga work that’s going to be done to this still over the weekend, but as a business that tries to be as sustainable as possible, I’m really looking forward to the Urban Monk putting its name to this document.

I’m putting it here because some of you might also like this. If it resonates with you, maybe have a think about whether your organisation (school, business, council, community group etc) might like to sign up to it. If you think you might want to do that, feel free to drop a message in the comments below to let other people know you’re keen. Or direct message me.


This Declaration was made at the conclusion of the third Aotearoa New Zealand Sustainable Development Goals Summit, September 2021.

It is delivered on behalf of those organisations and individuals listed herein. 

Mō tātou, ā, mō kā uri ā muri ake nei – for us and our children after us.

We, the signatories to this declaration, declare the following:

1    We agree to abide by the following fundamentals: 

  1. Te Tiriti o Waitangi is the founding document for our nation, and it must underpin our actions.
  2. Transformation of our economic and social systems is urgent if we are to achieve the SDGs and secure a future for our people and planet. Time is short and change is needed now.
  1. No single organisation can achieve the SDGs on their own. Change requires us to work boldly within and across sectors: we will work collaboratively where possible and appropriate.
  1. The SDGs are for all people in our country; no one is to be left behind and the most vulnerable communities must be supported to contribute to the development and implementation SDG actions.

2    The 2020-2021 SDG Summit Series has enriched our collective understanding of the SDGs and signposted pathways for further work by

  • Supporting the development of the Aotearoa SDG Alliance
  • Developing discussion about the connections of tangata whenua and the SDGs
  • Bringing the voice of our Pacific neighbours to our thinking about the SDGs
  • Hearing from young people and learning from their concerns for the future and the actions they are taking
  • Learning more from the New Zealand research community (especially the Crown Research Institutes) about the work they are doing to support progress on the SDGs
  • Building strong processes for the development of the SDG summits, for example by enhancing the role of the national Stakeholder Group.

3    Noting the urgency with which change is required, we: 

3.1    Commit to align with the SDGs in adopting sustainable practices in our organisation/s and the wider community.

3.2    We celebrate the creation of a national SDG Alliance to foster collaboration and support action towards the SDGs in Aotearoa New Zealand and see this as the primary platform for collaboration. We commit to being an active member of this Alliance.

3.3    Commit to time bound and collaborative action, as set out in the Summit Action Plan, noting that this Action Plan:

  • Identifies collaborators on each action, as well as a lead who will be responsible for driving and reporting on progress
  • These actions have arisen from the collaborative workshops and sessions held during the summit
  • The Action Plan is a living document, to which may be added new actions that will emerge following the Summit

3.4    Commit to reviewing the Action Plan on an annual basis.

3.5    Commit to working with the SDG Alliance to publicly report on our progress prior to the next national SDG Summit.

For more information on what the Sustainable Development Goals are, visit