Two RMIT alumni based in the United Kingdom are contributing to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through their work.

Atish Gonsalves, who has a Master of Applied Sciences from RMIT, is the global innovation director at the Humanitarian Leadership Academy in London.

Kieran Power, who is the practice lead - sustainability and resilience at AECOM in London, studied for a Bachelor of Environmental Science/ Bachelor of Environment and Society at RMIT. 

His work is focused on the democratisation and accessibility of education, linking into SDG #4 – quality education.

“It's about protecting those most vulnerable in emergencies by developing and delivering educational programs on topics such as climate change disaster risk reduction and management.

“We believe that learning should not just be disseminated and that it should be empowering and creative – something that is fostered when people on the ground are engaged. Through learning, we can help people to feel more equipped to prepare for and respond to crises.”

He adds that the academy’s work also connected with the goals of SDG #1 – no poverty, and SDG #2 – zero hunger.

According to Power, the SDGs highlight the need for organisations to step up their level of collaboration, given that one cannot do it alone when it comes to solving problems being faced by cities. This, he says, connects with SDG #17 that encourages partnerships between industry and civil society organisations to help deliver better outcomes as well as enable better management of project challenges.

“In that sense, the SDGs encourage a more active degree of participation and consultation, with genuine community involvement in solutions development," says Power. 

“When we look at the future for cities in the context of the SDGs, rapid digitalisation must be a factor.

“An organisation like AECOM looks to understand and play a role in how these potentially disruptive technological shifts will change the development trajectories of cities.”