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Implementation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) at the International University of Sarajevo (IUS) 2018-2022

Quality Assurance Office

Implementation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) at the International University of Sarajevo (IUS) 2018-2022

Since its founding in 2003, the International University of Sarajevo (IUS), through its Mission and Vision, has committed itself to being a socially responsible institution and a leading higher education institution in the Balkans.

Therefore, IUS management took the Agenda 2030 as an ideal opportunity to implement its strategic plans, and to use its role in educating young people in the best possible way, and thus contribute to positive changes in the society.

Intensive efforts on implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at IUS began five years ago. IUS submitted an application to the prestigious world ranking organization - Times Higher Education Impact Ranking. In 2018, IUS was the only university from Bosnia and Herzegovina and the region to appear on this renowned list.

In the years that followed, IUS was ready to take the implementation of UN goals to an even higher level. Thus, SDG delivery was gradually incorporated into various segments of university activities, starting with: networking with local and international partners, designing interdisciplinary study programs and incorporating SDG into the curriculum, creating texts and innovative ideas for the promotion of SDG at social networks and websites, education of employees and students, forming a group of volunteers, participation in projects, research and various types of socially useful actions, involving the local and wider community, all the way to the application of SDG in management structures and operational policies and decisions of the University.

At the beginning of the implementation of the SDG at IUS, in 2018, only 4-5 sustainable development goals were covered by university activities, such as: Quality EducationClimate ActionPartnership for the Goals and Reduced Inequalities.

Over the following years, the SDG actions at IUS gradually expanded, so that at the end of 2021, we can freely say that most of the 17 goals of sustainable development are incorporated in many spheres of the University operations.

In the implementation of the sustainable development goals, through various actions, more or less all academic units of the University were involved, as follows:

  • Faculty of Engineering and Natural Sciences (FENS),
  • Faculty of Business and Administration (FBA),
  • Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS),
  • Faculty of Law (FLW) and
  • Faculty of Education (FEDU).

Administrative units also, according to their nature and scope of work, took part in various actions, and the IUS Quality Assurance Office coordinated, monitored and promoted implementation of SDG activities.


Implemented SDG Activities at IUS

For the fifth year in a row, IUS has been submitting its application for the Times Higher Education Impact Ranking (THE), a prestigious world ranking list of universities from London. Universities are ranked based on already established criteria for the success of achieving and implementing UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). Each year, the application for ranking in THE is preceded by an extensive and comprehensive internal self-evaluation and control of the implementation of the SDG by the IUS Quality Assurance Office. On the list of THE Impact Ranking 2020, among many world universities, which implement the goals of sustainable development through their university activities, IUS is ranked in 9th category. In this regard, numerous promotions and internal communications have been conducted in recent years, which has resulted in many IUS professors, as well as students, becoming aware of the importance of these - very ambitious, 17 goals of sustainable development. In this way, IUS not only took ownership of the UN SDG but it also successfully incorporated them into its teaching, research and knowledge transfer activities.

In order to further strengthen its international cooperation and research in the SDG delivery, IUS officially signed an agreement of cooperation with the following institutions, networks, platforms and/or initiatives:

In 2018, within the SDG framework and the implementation of joint initiatives with a particular focus on World Social Capital Monitoring, IUS has signed a 5-year cooperation agreement with the Basel Institute of Commons and Economics. The World Social Capital Monitor is an instrument for measuring social goods and social capital created by the United Nations Sustainable Development Group in partnership with civil society actors. Based on this agreement, IUS contributes to conducting a half-yearly monitoring of BiH's social capital together with the Basel Institute of Commons and Economics. All data entries are collected in an online database through the World Social Monitoring Portal.

In 2020, IUS joined the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), the Inter-University Sustainable Development Research Program (IUSDRP) and the European School of Sustainability Science and Research (ESSSR). The goal of joining these networks is to connect with global scientific and technological trends and expertise related to practical solutions for sustainable development, including the implementation of the Agenda 2030 and the Paris Climate Agreement (2015).

In early 2023, the International University of Sarajevo (IUS) filled out the application for membership in the SDG Accord initiative, met the required international standards, and became the only signatory of this international accord in the field of sustainable development from the countries of the Western Balkans. The IUS name was officially listed in the Annual Report on the SDG Acord 2023, dated July 17, 2023.

The SDG Accord is a high-profile international initiative for higher education institutions, implemented by the EAUC - The Alliance for Sustainability Leadership in Education. This initiative is supported by the United Nations (UN), as well as many other global partners, and was launched in 2017.

Although many university activities were limited during the pandemic of the COVID-19 (2020-2021), we can say that this period was fruitful in terms of the participation of academic staff in online workshops, seminars and projects on the SDG topic. The topics related to COVID-19 were especially interesting, where its impact on people's lives was discussed, from various aspects.

Within the SDSN global network, several IUS professors were engaged in research on gender, public health, and migration. Their research focus was on emphasizing the importance of public health strategies, as part of a universal approach to public health services, in pursuit of SDG. In order to have access to information from around the world regarding the situation with COVID-19, IUS professors participated in an e-conference Economics of Coronavirus. This virtual conference aimed at examination of the impact of COVID-19 on public health and as a result of discussions the recommendations of world scientists were published. The event was a great opportunity for IUS professors to make remarkable contribution to global implementation of SDG goals.

Also, one of the IUS professors has been appointed a senior research associate on a 5-year project titled "Sustainable Development Goals Education and Global Citizenship in Qatar". The project worth is $ 4.4 million and it is funded by the Qatar National Research Fund. The project focuses on educational challenges in Qatar, with the aim of providing evidence-based designs and innovative educational modules, all with the aim of further supporting, studying and implementing SDG educational practice, as a long-term strategy, in Qatar.

In addition to providing students with basic knowledge complemented by various types of practice, the University wanted to offer practical guidelines and examples that will encourage students to further act in society, both in their private and professional environment. Thus, the application of SDG in the curriculum has become only a natural continuation of the previously established IUS educational and strategical plans. We can freely say that, on this issue, IUS has placed itself on a par with the world's universities, because for several years now it has started to systematically apply and support SDG in the teaching process.

Through its curricula, several IUS study programs included Sustainability Topics in their offered courses. For example, some of the courses which already offer topics on sustainability, are as follows: HUM100 Social Responsibility and Sustainable DevelopmentIR476 Global Environmental Issues and IR467 Energy SecurityIR474 Gender in International Relations, offered by the International Relations Program (Faculty of Business and Administration); BIO410 Ecology and Environmental Engineering and ARCH352 Bioclimatic Architecture, offered by the programs of Genetics and Bioengineering and Architecture (Faculty of Engineering and Natural Sciences). Currently, SDG related content is a part of the Psychology Program curriculum of three courses: Psychotherapy and Counseling (PSY336), Clinical Psychology (PSY312) and Child Psychopathology (PSY409). In addition, SDG implementation is in process in the following courses: Health Psychology (PSY210), Adolescent Psychology (PSY215), Positive Psychology (PSY406), Psychology of Religion (PSY421), and Psychology of Adulthood and Aging (PSY414).


We will list some of the aims of these courses, the benefits for students, and the learning outcomes that arise from these courses.

  1. HUM100 Social Responsibility and Sustainable Development. The aim of this course is to introduce students to the concept of sustainable development, in order to develop awareness of modern trends and developments in society through various projects. Within this course, students are equipped with knowledge on topics and goals of sustainability, through presentations or through seminars or lectures by experts from practice. In case studies, students are provided with practical knowledge in the target area, and students are expected to present some project ideas and plans for its implementation.
  2. In the Bioclimatic Architecture class, which has been offered at IUS for many years, students are expected to analyze, make records and propose solutions to improve air quality and reduce pollution in Sarajevo, the capital of BiH. During the semester, students study the application of several techniques for controlling the movement of air using bioclimatic devices. Students work in teams and go out to assigned locations to understand the built environment, then how buildings affect the climate through urban heat parts, absorption and reflection of solar heat, as well as evaporation cooling itself. In addition to the focus on sustainable development, within the subject of Bioclimatic Architecture, students are also required to design buildings that are sustainable and respect the natural environment.
  3. Energy security is a very complex and current topic today. The aim of the course Energy Security is to explain to students of international relations why energy security is such a significant challenge for countries, both developed and developing, as well as to explain to them what opportunities are available to individual countries and the limitations in obtaining energy sources. The classes also examine how developing countries, with and without natural resources, have been struggling for many years with research in the field of energy security, to achieve energy security. The course is cross-cutting and it covers the areas of politics, environmental protection, development, economics and energy.
  4. The aim of introducing the course Gender in International Relations into the curriculum of the International Relations Program at IUS is to enable students to get acquainted with the basic principles of gender equality in international relations and gender analysis of global politics, and to enable them to understand international relations from gender perspectives. The course is designed to provide an analytical demonstration of the following issues: how gender shapes international relations, how gender is important in international relations, how ideas of "masculinity" and "femininity" influence foreign policy, nationalism, war and peace, and how feminist perspectives and studies contribute to the study of international relations.

These subjects are purposefully and strategically introduced into the curriculum of IUS. Thus, in addition to raising awareness on the topic of SDG throughout the university, the process and learning outcomes of these subjects support and strengthen the overall process of SDG implementation at IUS. The purpose is that students can identify, analyze and implement the goals of sustainable development, and apply the acquired knowledge for the development of specific projects in their environment, private and business environment.

IUS, as a university - a leader - in the field of sustainable development and as a socially responsible institution that wants to contribute to positive changes in society through the implementation of SDG, launched a new strategic campaign IUS in SDG Action in 2021

The campaign consists of several strategic goals, and one of them is the concretization of plans in the field of recycling, all with the aim of raising awareness about the protection of the environment. As part of the recycling action, a new policy of disposal and recycling of plastic bottles and aluminum cans (soda) was established at IUS. On each floor of the A building of the University, there are special bins for storing such bottles and cans. The staff is responsible for disposing of bottles and cans in real bins, which are clearly marked with different colors. Also, IUS encourages all staff who wish to dispose of such items from their homes in an environmentally responsible manner, to use buckets at IUS. One of the next stages will be the installation of paper boxes and special rooms, where everyone will be able to dispose of their paper for recycling. The regulation of plastic and other waste was the seal of all previous efforts and efforts in the field of SDG implementation at IUS, and the opening to new horizons for the new IUS GREEN CAMPUS campaign.

The IUS GREEN CAMPUS campaign has just started and new perspectives on its implementation are currently being considered. One of them is the participation in afforestation and landscaping in the local community (urban or rural area).

Each of the targeted campaigns were covered by the media, and posters and creative material were designed for that purpose. Attached to this document are some of the copies.

Recognizing the importance of the United Nations Agenda 2030 on Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) as a guide for the well-being of all people, respecting all legal and strategic measures adopted in BiH in the field of sustainable development, and taking into account the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals at the International University in Sarajevo (IUS), and in accordance with the mission and vision of the University, the IUS management adopted by the End of 2021 the SDG Policy.

The IUS SDG Policy expresses the commitment of the IUS management to continually raise awareness, build capacity and undertake concrete measures that contribute to the realisation of the SDG. The framework for the implementation of the SDG Policy (activities, persons in charge, deadlines, etc.) is established in the IUS Strategy for the period 2022-2026, where the SDG is set as one of the 10 main strategic goals of the University in the next period.

Recognizing the importance of the United Nations Agenda 2030 on Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) as a guide for the well-being of all people, respecting all legal and strategic measures adopted in BiH in the field of sustainable development, and taking into account the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals at the International University in Sarajevo (IUS), and in accordance with the mission and vision of the University, the IUS management adopted by the end of 2021 the SDG Policy. The IUS SDG Policy expresses the commitment of the IUS management to continually raise awareness, build capacity and undertake concrete measures that contribute to the realisation of the SDG. The framework for the implementation of the SDG Policy (activities, persons in charge, deadlines, etc.) is established in the IUS Strategy plan for 2022-2026, where the SDG is set as one of the 10 main strategic goals of the University in the next period.

In December 2022, the annual Strategic Plan for SDG implementation at IUS was adopted, and in the same month a decision was made to establish the SDG Executive Committee at IUS.

Students, employees, business partners and other target groups were regularly informed (via e-mail, website or social networks) about the activities carried out at IUS, which are related to SDG. The most active period in designing the promotion of SDG at the University was 2021. At that time, a special promotional website SDG at IUS was created, various posters and promotional materials, which were purposefully designed, in accordance with the opportunities and planned activities at the University.

News on the topic of SDG implementation at IUS, which were published in the period from 2019 to 2021, can be viewed via the following links:

Promotional video from the IUS HUM100 Social Responsibility and Sustainable Development course.

Even some media and portals carried news about SDG activities of IUS. More information HERE.

As part of the implementation of the IUS in SDG Action, from the beginning of 2021 the planned organization of lectures has begun, which focus on certain topics of importance for human life. In this regard, in November 2021, in order to mark World Food Day, the Faculty of Engineering and Natural Sciences (FENS), with the support of the IUS Quality Assurance Office, organized an informative lecture on the toxicological aspects of food packaging. The lecture was given by an expert in the field of food technology. Packaging is important for food maintenance, it serves to protect against chemical and physical damage, while providing important information to consumers and traders. However, if the packaging process does not meet specific standards, it can pose a major threat to consumers. During the lecture, the special importance of the laws adopted with the aim of protecting consumers from contamination of packaged food caused by the migration of chemicals, was emphasized. Targeted lectures will continue in accordance with the plans that will be determined in the IUS Strategy 2021-2026.

Legal procedures and regulations in BiH ensure that there is no discrimination against women participating in higher education. IUS systematically adheres to these principles. In addition to implementing these procedures and regulations in practice, IUS has taken a step further in ensuring greater gender equality in the management of the University. Proof of this is that more than half of the managerial positions at IUS are women, as follows:


• from the existing 5 faculties, 3 faculties are run by female deans

• Director (and deputy) of the English Language School at IUS is a woman

• Director (and deputy) of the Center for Lifelong Learning at IUS is a woman

• Director of the Distance Learning Center is a woman

• Out of a total of 16 heads of IUS administrative services, 10 are women.


Women are in charge of important and large administrative offices of IUS, such as the Student Affairs Office, the Quality Assurance Office, the International Relations Office, the Office of Sponsored Projects, the Library, etc.

Many things regarding gender equality have improved through the Horizon2020 - SAGE project, which was implemented at IUS. Intensive work was done on structural changes and improvements in decision-making, as well as research capacities, in terms of gender representation. Gender-sensitive practices have been introduced in all segments of the University's activities and balanced representation of both women and men in institutional decision-making has been developed.

As far as the curriculum is concerned, there are 3 courses which deal with the issue of gender equality, and which are strategically introduced in the study programs of IUS. These are the following subjects: Gender StudiesGender Issues across Cultures and Gender in International Relations.

In 2021, IUS signed a contract with a recycling company Aida-Commerce d.o.o. in BiH with the aim of starting a joint waste recycling activity on the University Campus. According to the signed document, students and employees were instructed on how to recycle waste on Campus, which specifically means recycling of mixed waste, office paper, newspapers, aluminum packaging, transparent plastic bottles and other types of waste.

Also, as part of its strategic goals in the area of SDG and sustainability, IUS has launched a campaign to purchase food from local growers and sustainable use of food waste and its reuse for local partners (small farms, local food producers). The student suggestions go as far as opening a special place for vegans at the campus canteen.

In November 2021, IUS decided to respond to the public campaign launched by UNDP in BiH, in cooperation with local companies. It is a digital platform for revitalization of burned areas in Bosnia and Herzegovina, afforestation and planting of trees in urban and rural areas of the country. By purchasing tree seedlings online, which will be planted by public companies in selected locations in the country, individuals or institutions will, each in their own way, positively influence the greening of areas, thus improving air quality and positively contribute to climate change. IUS is proud to be part of this initiative, which represents one significant contribution to global efforts for climate action.

Also, IUS contributed to the CNN initiative #CallToEarth with a story about IUS Architecture students completing a project which focused on re-modeling our University and making it the most sustainable campus existing in the Balkans region. According to these plans, the campus will include greenhouses, plant nursery gardens, and anti-smog plants. See the link:

How does the most sustainable University in the Balkans look?

In addition to environmental actions, numerous humanitarian actions have been realized to help vulnerable categories of society and refugees, as well as assistance for studying through various types of scholarships (orphans, people with disabilities and other special categories in society). The University, also, participates, as far as possible, in social activities (supply of food, clothing, fuel and coal) for people in need. These activities are carried out through student and staff volunteers. These actions were also carried out for IUS employees in need. Assistance is provided without discrimination based on race, religion or gender. The IUS vision is to offer concrete solutions through the implementation of some humanitarian projects, to contribute to the elimination of poverty, the establishment of justice, and to make every action transparent. It is important to note that some classrooms and administrative offices are appropriately labelled for blind and visually impaired students. The IUS Library keeps Braille books in its collection for visually impaired students.

Under the slogan IUS Green Campus, IUS has recently taken a series of actions, aimed at promoting the health of both its students and staff, as well as other Campus visitors. A no smoking zones were established, certain places for bicycles have been provided, a large number of trees and green areas have been planted, as well as large number of benches have been installed. During the corona virus pandemic, a COVID Plan and Guidelines were issued, and work schedules were adjusted to the new pandemic situation. IUS regularly renews its contract with the Eurofarm Polyclinic in Sarajevo, which provides regular and systematic examinations at its premises at IUS, and organizes days of voluntary blood donation.

From the very beginning of the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, IUS was determined to alert all interested students, academic and administrative staff, who want to contribute to the SDG actions by their personal and collective example. At the end of 2020, an IUS SDG TEAM was formed, consisting of enthusiastic volunteers: academic and administrative staff and IUS students. The IUS SDG TEAM worked on a voluntary basis and oversaw the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals at IUS.

As activities in the SDG field became more and more complex through years, the need arose to establish a special committee that will deal more seriously with SDG issues. Thus, at the end of 2022, based on the Decision of the Rector of the University, the SDG Executive Committee was established, composed of the IUS administrative and academic staff. The Committee took over the SDG activities in December 2022. The Committee regularly reports to the IUS Strategic Management Body (SMB) on its activities, and the QA Office has a strategic and advisory role in the SDG implementation process at IUS.

This is just the beginning

This is just the beginning of IUS path to its contribution to the sustainable goals and UN Agenda 2030. IUS Quality Assurance Office initiated all activities related to the implementation of SDG at IUS.