UVic opens first UN leadership training centre on North America’s West Coast

Libraries, Social Sciences

CIFAL Victoria is one of 24 UN training centres for government authorities. Credit: iStock

The University of Victoria and the United Nations Institute of Training and Research (UNITAR) announced today the establishment of the first accredited CIFAL—International Training Centre for Authorities and Leaders—on North America’s West Coast. CIFAL Victoria, based at UVic, is only the second such UN training centre in Canada.

CIFAL Victoria is connected to a global network of UN hubs that provide innovative training and promote the exchange of knowledge amongst government officials, the private sector and civil society.

“This CIFAL is not just for the university but for the region, and we are immensely proud and honoured to be its host,” says UVic President Kevin Hall. “CIFAL Victoria will be a vehicle for driving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) forward through multi-disciplinary training and through partnerships in our region and across the CIFAL global network. At UVic, we care deeply about the UN SDGs and their calls to action to create an equitable planet, and a sustainable and inclusive economy.”

CIFAL Victoria will deliver training activities and research for students, staff, faculty and the community that builds on UVic's deep commitments to the UN SDGs and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. It will connect the region with the global community and support international knowledge-sharing and partnerships, with a focus on four key themes:

  • Oceans, climate and sustainability
  • Innovation and entrepreneurship
  • Decolonization and Indigenous knowledge
  • Global health and well-being

“While we have four areas of focus, we will be supporting work toward all 17 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and empowering individuals, communities, businesses and organizations to effectively address global challenges and improve well-being,” says Catherine Krull, director, CIFAL Victoria. “The centre will jointly offer training programs and research with our partners that will build capacity, facilitate the transfer of knowledge, experience and best practices, and encourage partnerships and networking opportunities.”

CIFAL Victoria is one of 24 UN training centres for government authorities across Asia, Oceania, Africa, Europe, the Americas and the Caribbean, all coordinated by UNITAR’s social development programme. The central purpose of CIFAL training programs is to develop and strengthen human capacities to better respond to development challenges and to facilitate City-to-City (C2C) partnerships.

UNITAR is the UN training arm with a strategy focused on achieving the SDGs and supporting governments to implement the 2030 agenda.

“The CIFAL Global Network meets a crucial need to strengthen capacities to better address development challenges and exchange good practices amongst local authorities, academia, the private sector and the United Nations,” says Estrella Merlos, associate director of UNITAR’s CIFAL Global Network.

“Through knowledge exchange, CIFAL centres provide networking opportunities that lead to partnerships and collaboration. The launch of a new CIFAL centre at the University of Victoria will provide a platform that builds regional and global capacity and leadership to advance the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. CIFAL Victoria will serve as a catalyst and connector for North America’s West Coast.”

Merlos will present UVic with a United Nations flag during the launch ceremony at First Peoples House on March 22.

Learn more about CIFAL Victoria.

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Media contacts

Jennifer Kwan (University Communications + Marketing) at 250-721-7641 or researchcomm@theresabane.com

In this story

Keywords: community, sustainability, arts, sustainability, administrative, international, Indigenous, health, climate, industry partnerships, research, government

People: Kevin Hall, Catherine Krull, Lisa Kalynchuk, Mina Hoorfar, Ry Moran, Matty Cervantes, Crystal Tremblay, Robina Thomas, Katelynne Herchak


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