Sustainable Development Solutions Network Thu, 05 Jan 2017 02:27:53 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Sustainable Development Solutions Network 32 32 Launch of the SDG Index & Dashboard in Spain Fri, 23 Dec 2016 14:13:20 +0000 SDSN Spain (REDS) launched the Spanish edition of the SDG Index & Dashboard in Madrid on December 12. The event had two main objectives: to present the SDG Index, a global report and country ranking prepared by SDSN and the Bertelsmann Foundation in July 2016; and to assess where Spain is situated in this ranking and why. In addition, REDS wanted to give an opportunity to the different representatives of the state, regional and local administrations, as well as the business sector, to present how they are addressing the implementation and monitoring of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs.

The event reached maximum capacity, and was attended by more than 200 people with an additional audience of 500 watching live online. It opened with a warm welcome from the General Director of Fundación Telefónica, José María Sanz-Magallón, and with a few words from Miguel Ángel Moratinos, Chair of SDSN Spain, who proposed to launch debates in the Spanish Congress and Senate on the SDGs and their implementation. 

For the past year, Spain has had a provisional government and has undergone two rounds of national elections. These concluded with the selection of Mr. Mariano Rajoy for a second term starting in early November. This recent confirmation of a new government will finally allow an SDG implementation strategy to be developed at the national level. Mr. Moratinos proposed that such a strategy be complemented by a “Sustainability Pact,” and signed by all parties, to ensure the required political support for effective implementation of Agenda 2030.

Round table participants: María Cortés Puch, Head of the Networks Program, SDSN; Alberto Fabra, President of the Senate Cooperation Committee; Luis Tejada, Director of the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation for Development; Federico Buyolo, General Director of Cooperation and Solidarity of the Valencian Regional Government; Juan Espadas, Mayor of Seville and president of the Spanish Network of Cities for the Climate; Germán Granda, CEO of Forética (WBCSD in Spain).

The event also featured a roundtable moderated by Montserrat Domínguez, Director of the Huffington Post Spain. The roundtable began with the presentation of María Cortés Puch, Head of the Networks Program at SDSN, who presented the SDG Index report and offered an analysis of the results and a description of the methodology. Ms. Cortés stated that “the objective is to provide accessible and understandable data for all audiences to make the SDGs a shared tool for action.” Spain, who ranked 30th out of 149 countries on the SDG Index, is facing several challenges ahead especially within SDGs 13 (climate action), 14 (terrestrial ecosystems), and 15 (marine ecosystems). The panel also discussed how Spain could improve in the areas of  SDG 8 (decent work) and SDG 4 (quality education). Finally, Ms. Cortés called on all stakeholders to collaborate on improving current indicators for the second edition of the SDG Index, which is set to launch in 2017.  

Luis Tejada gave the official position of the national government. In his opinion, the coordination of all actions should fall directly under the President’s office. Coincidentally, after the lively discussion and that very same afternoon, it was publically announced that it would indeed be the President’s office that will coordinate the implementation of the SDGs. 

Alberto Fabra, as a representative of the Senate, insisted on the importance of making a legislative change that can ensure the success of this great project. He added a positive note reminding participants that this agenda is the result of a successful and inclusive negotiation, and that further work must involve all citizens.

Federico Buyolo presented a fantastic example of a multilevel implementation approach, laying out the achievements of the Valencia Community in terms of getting started with the SDGs. This community has begun working on localizing the SDGs, focusing on raising awareness and engaging with 4 different groups: cities, NGOs, companies, and citizens, who have the duty to participate and hold their politicians accountable. 

Juan Espadas, Mayor of Seville, offered his local perspective, explaining the importance of defining concrete projects that help advance the SDGs and make them a reality for all citizens. 
German Granda gave a very clear presentation on the business case for Sustainable Development and for aligning the business core objectives to the SDGs. In his words, there is not only a moral argument but also one of gaining competitiveness.

Finally, five representatives from different sectors (private, public, civil society, academic and international) contributed their vision of how to implement and carry out Agenda 2030 following the report’s presentation, painting a bright future ahead for the SDGs in Spain.

The PDF of the Spanish report is available online:

The video of the event can be viewed on the SDSN Spain Facebook page (in Spanish)


SDSN Newsletter – November 2016 Fri, 16 Dec 2016 17:19:22 +0000 Welcome to SDSN’s November 2016 Newsletter!

Solutions at the Heart of COP22
The first Low-Emissions Solutions Conference was launched on November 14-16 at COP22 in Marrakech, Morocco. The event successfully brought together over 100 speakers to present solutions for a decarbonized world.

Sustainable Cities Course is Launched!
The SDG Academy launched its 10th course, Sustainable Cities, this month. It is a massive open online course (MOOC) that brings together 27 global thought leaders in the field of urban sustainable development to discuss policy and practice around SDG 11. The course runs until February 27. Enroll today to be part of the global conversation!

New MOOC on Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems Completes Filming
This course examines how to feed a growing world population without increasing harm to soils, vulnerable ecosystems, and the climate. The course includes faculty from the SDSN’s Thematic Network on sustainable agriculture and food systems, including Co-Chairs Achim Dobermann (Rothamsted Research) and Rebecca Nelson (Cornell), as well as Jessica Fanzo (Johns Hopkins), William Masters (Tufts), and Kenneth Giller (Wageningen).

December’s ‘Meet our Leaders’ with Dr. Maria Freire
Join Dr. Maria Freire, President and Executive Director of the Foundation for National Institutes of Health, for our third ‘Meet our Leaders’ live webinar. In this live Q&A, viewers can ask Dr. Freire about topics pertaining to her professional journey in the fields of biomedicine and sustainable development. This event will take place on Wednesday, December 7, at 12:00pm EST. Join here with this password: Leaders2030. Submit questions beforehand at

Conference Report: Climate Change and Sustainable Investment in Natural Resources: From Consensus to Action. Columbia Center on Sustanable Investing – Nov 2016

Jeffrey Sachs: Big innovations require big investment. Boston Globe – Nov 27, 2016

Jeffrey Sachs: Four nations map course to carbon-free economies. – Nov 18, 2016

Jeffrey Sachs: ‘US among six G20 countries yet to act in line with Paris pledges’. The Hindu – Nov 18, 2016

Jeffrey Sachs: Praise for the U.S. Youth Activists Suing the U.S. Government and Fossil Fuel Industry. Democracy Now – Nov 17, 2016

Pavel Kabat et al.: Impacts of climate change and water resources development on the declining inflow into Iran’s Urmia Lake, Journal of Great Lakes Research – November 9, 2016.

Jeffrey Sachs: Prosperity in sustainability. The Boston Globe – Nov 7, 2016

Cynthia Rosenzweig et al.: Towards a new generation of agricultural system data, models and knowledge products: Design and improvement, Agricultural Systems – November 3, 2016.

Upmanu Lall et al.: Can Electricity Pricing Save India’s Groundwater? Field Evidence from a Novel Policy Mechanism in Gujarat, Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists – November 3, 2016.

Jeffrey Sachs: Investment for Sustainable Growth. Project Syndicate – Oct 31, 2016

Celia J. Gomez and Hirokazu Yoshikawa: Earthquake effects: Estimating the relationship between exposure to the 2010 Chilean earthquake and preschool children’s early cognitive and executive function skills, Early Childhood Research Quarterly – October 28, 2016.

Upmanu Lall, Cynthia Rosenzweig et al.: Extreme Weather and Climate: Workshop Report, J Extreme Events – October 25. 2016.

Pavel Kabat et al.: Labor market and migration across the Eurasian continent, Workshop Report – October 2016.

Pavel Kabat et al.: Trade policy regimes, Workshop Report – October 2016.

Paul Collier: Afrika kann sich nur selbst retten – An Interview with Paul Collier (in German), Die Zeit – October 23, 2016.

José Miguel Insulza: José Miguel Insulza renunciará como agente de La Haya para asumir carrera presidencial (in Spanish), ATB Digital – November 22, 2016.

Upcoming SDSN Events

View full list of Events

World AIDS Day
December 1

Human Rights Day
December 10

SDG Index in Spanish launch in Madrid
December 12
The event is organized by SDSN and the Spanish network in collaboration with Fundación Telefónica

Other News and Events

SDSN Partnership with New York Society for Ethical Culture Mon, 12 Dec 2016 00:29:43 +0000 The New York Society for Ethical Culture, in conjunction with the Sustainable Development Solutions Network and Religions for Peace, will convene Ethics in Action NYC in order to help build a shared vision of the common good for NYC and to help guide problem solving in NYC and in the US. Ethics in Action NYC will convene a sequence of nine meetings over the course of the next year. Each meeting will include an evening public event at the Society for Ethical Culture.

Ethics in Action NYC Series: Police-community relations in NYC
Dates: December 6 to December 27, 2016
Location: United Nations Visitors Center Lobby
Description: A photo exhibition on four Millennium Villages Project (MVP) sites in Ethiopia, Ghana, Rwanda, and Senegal is on display at the United Nations’ Visitors Centre Lobby. Led by Professor Jeffrey Sachs, Director of the Center for Sustainable Development, the MVP contributed to eliminating extreme poverty in 10 sub-Saharan African countries over ten years using an integrated approach to rural development. The exhibition is organized by the Earth Institute at Columbia University and VII Agency and sponsored by The Blue Chip Foundation. More information is available here:

Ethics in Action NYC Series: Police-community relations in NYC
Date: Wednesday, Jan 4, 2017
Location: Society for Ethical Culture
Description: The second session will examine the highly charged issues surrounding policing and community relations. The mutual trust of the citizenry and the police force constitute a vital underpinning of social stability, safety, and the well-being of the citizenry. We will invite leaders of the police force and the NYC community to share their perspectives and ideas on the path ahead.

Register here

Ethics in Action NYC Series: Ethics and Wall Street
Date: February 9, 2017
Location: Society for Ethical Culture
Description: The 2008 financial crisis and subsequent investigations and regulatory actions have exposed an underside to the financial industry. We will invite leaders of Wall Street, academia, and the public to engage in an intensive dialogue on what is right, wrong, moral, and immoral in the current environment of the financial markets.

Ethics in Action NYC Series: Climate Change and NYC
Date: Thursday, March 2, 2017
Location: Society for Ethical Culture
Description: As a low-lying coastal city, NYC is highly vulnerable to human-induced climate change, and the sea-level rise and intensive storms that can result. NYC must also be a leader in the effort to decarbonize the energy system, a challenge encapsulated in the City’s 80×50 plan (to reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions by 80 percent as of 2050). This session will engage city officials, scientists, real estate developers, technologists, and others on the moral dimensions of the fight against Climate Change.

Ethics in Action NYC Series: Poverty in NYC
Date: Thursday, April 13, 2017
Location: Society for Ethical Culture
Description: As Mayor De Blasio has famously noted, NYC is a tale of two cities, one rich and another poor. This session will discuss the ethical aspects of fighting poverty and inequality, and will discuss the practical challenges of boosting low incomes, reducing poverty, and fighting the high inequality of income and its pernicious influences.

Ethics in Action NYC Series: Immigration Reform in NYC
Date: Thursday, May 4, 2017
Location: Society for Ethical Culture
Description: Immigration is one of the most important and contentious social issues facing the world, the nation, and NYC as one of the greatest global homes of migration. We will review the moral and practical challenges of migration policies and national choices, in an era when more people are moving globally as refugees and migrants.

Ethics in Action NYC Series: Corruption in NYC
Date: Thursday, June 1, 2017
Location: Society for Ethical Culture
Description: We have experienced pervasive corruption in our public and private institutions in recent years. Public and private officials are marched off to prison for bribery, insider trading, and other crimes. Money in politics seems to cause a race to the bottom of public morality. This session will explore how we might restore honesty and ethics to public and private governance.

Ethics in Action NYC Series: Education Reform in NYC
Date: Thursday, June 29, 2017
Location: Society for Ethical Culture
Description: A high quality of education is critical for every child to achieve his or her potential. Yet we also know of the deep challenges of ensuring quality education for all in NYC, especially in the context of great inequalities of income and opportunity. We will explore the options for creating a system of high-quality education that is available to all, both rich and poor.

Ethics in Action NYC Series: Health Policy and Reform in NYC
Date: September 2017, TBD
Location: Society for Ethical Culture
Description: New York City is home to one of the world’s largest and most complex healthcare delivery systems, with some of the world’s greatest healthcare institutions. At the same time, NYC is a microcosm of national and global healthcare challenges, with the health of New Yorkers reflecting massive inequalities of income and social status, with healthcare costs soaring and beyond the reach of many citizens, and with public budgets threatened by rapidly raising healthcare costs. This session will explore the right to health for all, and the ways to achieve it through actions within and beyond the healthcare system.


Ethics in Action NYC Series: Sustainable Development Goals
Date: Tuesday, Nov 29, 2016
Location: Society for Ethical Culture
Description: All 193 member-states of the United Nations adopted the 17 Sustainable Development Goals on September 25, 2015, to guide global cooperation and national policies through 2030. The first meeting of Ethics in Action NYC celebrated the leadership of UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon in guiding the world to adopt the SDGs and the Paris Climate Agreement, and engaged the SG in a dialogue on the future of the UN and sustainable development.

2016 International Conference on Sustainable Development
Date: Wednesday, Sep 21 through Thursday, Sep 22, 2016, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm
Location: Columbia University, Morningside Campus, Alfred Lerner Hall
Description: The Global Association of Master’s in Development Practice and the Sustainable Development Solutions Network presented the 2016 International Conference on Sustainable Development (ICSD). Featured Speakers included: Amina Mohammed, Minister of Environment, Nigeria; Femi Oke, Internationally Renowned Journalist, Writer and Moderator; Jeffrey D. Sachs, Director, Center for Sustainable Development.

Date: August 20, 2016
Location: Mumbai, India
Description: Nirupam Bajpai delivered a Guest Lecture at Elphinstone college, University of Mumbai on “Millennium Development of Goals: Successes and Failures Globally”

Date: August 3, 2016
Location: Mumbai, India
Description: Nirupam Bajpai delivered a Guest Lecture at Jai Hind college, University of Mumbai on “Millennium Development of Goals: India’s Successes and Failures”

Date: July 27, 2016
Location: Guwahati, India
Description: Nirupam Bajpai signed an MOU at an event in Guwahati with the Department of Education, Government of Assam to enlarge the scope of CSD’s Education Project in Assam in the presence of the Education, Health and Finance minister of Assam

Date: July 26, 2016
Location: Shillong, India
Description: Nirupam Bajpai delivered a Guest Lecture at the Indian Institute of Management, Shillong on “Challenges of, and Solutions for, Sustainable Growth and Development in India”

Date: July 25, 2016
Location: Shillong, India
Description: Nirupam Bajpai jointly launched CSD’s Education Project – Model Districts Education Project along with the Deputy Chief Minister and Education Minister of Meghalaya in Shillong

Date: July 25, 2016
Location: Guwahati, India
Description: Nirupam Bajpai delivered a Guest Lecture to the Engineering and Management students and faculty of the Royal Group of Institutions, Guwahati.

ICT in Health Conference
Date: June 28 – 29, 2016
Location: Accra International Conference Centre
Description: Following up on the successful implementation of a CHW programme in Ghana, CSD’s CHW Campaign organized a conference on ICT in Ghana’s healthcare system.  The conference brought together ICT and sustainable development experts from the USA and Ghana to brainstorm and develop a strategic roadmap for an integrated national-scale ICT platform for the country’s health system, including the potential for unique health ID’s.

UNAIDS High Level Meeting on HIV/AIDS
Date: June 8 – 10, 2016
Location: UN Headquarter, New York City
Description: After forming a strategic partnership with UNAIDS in February 2016 to support their 90-90-90 targets, CSD’s CHW Campaign was invited to speak at a side event on ‘Human Resources and Health’ at the June 2016 High Level Meeting.  Professor Jeffrey Sachs spoke on behalf of the Campaign.

Big Data and Sustainable Development
Date:  April 14, 2016
Location:  NYU Stern Kaufman Management Center
Moderator: Vasant Dhar, Professor, NYU Center for Data Science and NYU Stern; Editor-in-Chief, Big Data Journal
Panelists:  Justine Dowden, Data Analyst, Center for Sustainable Development, Columbia University; Nicole Barberis, Senior Data Scientist, Bloomberg LLP; Kirk Borne, Principal Data Scientist, Booz Allen Hamilton, PhD Astrophysicist; Louis Coppola, Co-Founder, Executive Vice President, Governance & Accountability Institute
Description: As the world decides upon the indicators to measure progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals, there is an urgent need to mobilize data to hold governments and decision-makers accountable. What kinds of data and analytical tools will be relevant to the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda?

Official Launch of the Jeffrey Sachs Center on Sustainable Development Fri, 09 Dec 2016 15:00:52 +0000 Malaysia Takes Leading Role on Sustainable Development

Malaysia established itself as a leader in the global effort to promote sustainable development with the official launch of the Jeffrey Sachs Center on Sustainable Development at Sunway University. The Center is the first of its kind in Asia.

The Prime Minister of Malaysia, Yang Amat Berhormat Dato’ Sri Mohd. Najib bin Tun Haji Abdul Razak, officially launched the Center at the university, located in Sunway City — a suburb of Kuala Lumpur. The township is built on what was once barren mining land, but is now home to a vibrant community of 200,000 people living, working, studying and playing in Malaysia’s first Green Building Index-certified township.

In his speech, the Prime Minister hailed the establishment of Jeffrey Sachs Center that it reinforces the government’s commitment to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and commended the Center for taking a leading role in supporting the government in advancing these goals.

The Center is a catalytic move to mobilise comprehensive collaboration, particularly amongst Southeast Asian nations, to move towards achieving the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The Jeffrey Sachs Center on Sustainable Development at Sunway University is the result of a gift of USD 10 million from the Jeffrey Cheah Foundation, Malaysia’s largest education-focused social enterprise. To date, the gift is the largest financial commitment focused on SDG education and implementation following the adoption of the 17 goals by 193 members of the UN in September 2015.

The SDGs continue the work of the Millennium Development Goals, which focused on ending extreme poverty, hunger, and preventable disease. The SDGs will continue the fight against extreme poverty, but will add the challenges of ensuring more equitable development and environmental sustainability, especially the key goal of mitigating the dangers of human-induced climate change.

Professor Jeffrey Sachs, Chairman of the Center, said that the launch of the Center will be an important part of the world’s drive towards achieving the SDGs.

Founding Trustee of the Jeffrey Cheah Foundation and Founding Chancellor of Sunway University, Tan Sri Dr Jeffrey Cheah, AO, said, “The realisation of these goals is not the sole responsibility of governments. It requires the commitment of all sectors of society- the private sector, academia, civil society groups and, of course, every single individual.”

The establishment of the Jeffrey Sachs Center enhances the global expertise needed to move Malaysia and Asia forward in the area of sustainable development. The Malaysia-based center will develop linkages with leading universities and think tanks around the world and in Malaysia. In addition, the Center will curate the world’s best curriculum, academic, and executive programmes on sustainable development.

In conjunction with the launch, there was an inaugural conference featuring five keynote speakers in the area of sustainability. The event was held at Sunway University in Malaysia on 9 December 2016, titled ‘Moving Decisively Forward on Sustainable Development Now!’ The five experts were:

Professor Jeffrey Sachs, Director, Center for Sustainable Development, Columbia University; Director, UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network; and Chairman, Jeffrey Sachs Center on Sustainable Development;
Professor Tan Sri Zakri Abdul Hamid, Science Advisor to the Prime Minister of Malaysia;
Professor Daniel Schrag, Sturgis Hooper Professor of Geology, Professor of Environmental Science and Engineering, Director of the University Center for the Environment, and Director of the Laboratory for Geochemical Oceanography, Harvard University, USA;
Professor Angelo Riccaboni, Chair of SDSN Assembly; and Rector of the University of Siena, Italy;
Professor Xue Lan, Member of United Nations University Council; and Dean, School of Public Policy and Management, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China

Professor Jeffrey Sachs’ talk was on “What Does Sustainable Development Really Mean?”, Prof. Tan Sri Zakri Abdul Hamid spoke on “Walking the Talk on Implementing the SDGs: A Case for Malaysia and South-East Asia,” Professor Daniel Schrag covered “Climate Change and Sustainable Development: Opportunities for the Developing World”, Professor Angelo Riccaboni focused on “Food Systems for Sustainable Development: Innovations are Needed” while Professor Xue Lan discussed “Policy Challenges in Implementing Sustainable Development Goals.”


About the Jeffrey Sachs Center on Sustainable Development

Jeffrey Sachs Center on Sustainable Development at Sunway University (JSC) is the Southeast Asian regional hub to deepen technical knowledge and to systematically integrate knowledge to create world-class programs that train students, practitioners and policy leaders in the area of sustainable development. JSC is established in collaboration with the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) through a gift of USD 10 million from the Jeffrey Cheah Foundation to carry out comprehensive collaboration on sustainable development as the global community under the leadership of the United Nations begins the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. 193 members of the UN have adopted the 17 SDGs since September 2015.

About the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network

The United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) operates under the auspices of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to mobilize leaders from academia, business, civil society, and other development organizations to promote problem solving and practical solutions for the pressing challenges of sustainable development. Following the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals, the SDSN is committed to supporting the implementation of the SDGs at local, national, and global scales. The SDSN aims to accelerate joint learning and help to overcome the compartmentalization of technical and policy work by promoting integrated approaches to the interconnected economic, social, and environmental challenges confronting the world.

About the Jeffrey Cheah Foundation

Jeffrey Cheah Foundation is a unique, first-of-its-kind structure in Malaysia within the field of private higher education, modelled along the lines of some of the oldest and most eminent universities in the world, such as Harvard University. To date, the Foundation retains ownership and equity of 16 learning institutions, including Sunway University, Monash University Malaysia*, Jeffrey Cheah School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Sunway Colleges, Sunway TES Centre for Accountancy Excellence and Sunway International School, valued at more than RM720 million (now in excess of RM1 billion), making it the largest education-focused social enterprise in Malaysia.

Governed by a distinguished board of eleven trustees, the Foundation aims to
safeguard the institutions in perpetuity by ensuring that the  assets and operating surpluses are used to perpetuate the cause of providing and sustaining quality  education for present and future generations of students. It continues the mandate of the Sunway Education Trust Fund established in March 1997, and both entities have disbursed scholarships amounting to RM270 million to thousands of deserving students to-date.

Jeffrey Cheah Foundation was launched on 18 March 2010 by the Prime Minister of Malaysia, Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib Tun Abdul Razak, in the presence of its Royal Patron, H.R.H. The Sultan of Selangor, Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah Alhaj Ibni Almarhum Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah Alhaj. For more information on Jeffrey Cheah Foundation, please log on to

*Monash University Malaysia is jointly-owned by Monash Australia and Jeffrey Cheah Foundation

For media inquiries, please contact:

Michael Shank, Head of Communications, UN SDSN, 1.646.574.8903,

Jane Poh, Administrator, Jeffrey Cheah Foundation +603 5639 8948,

SDSN Nigeria holds Private Sector Engagement Forum in Abuja Wed, 07 Dec 2016 15:26:28 +0000 On November 29, SDSN Nigeria, in partnership with a number of private sector representatives led by First Planet Consultant Ltd, hosted its first workshop on deepening cooperation with the private sector towards SDG implementation in Nigeria.


The first high-level strategic forum with main stakeholders themed “Making the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) the Business of the Private Sector in Nigeria” and had the objective of seeking buy-in, inclusive participation and strategic engagement of the private sector concerning the SDG implementation process in Nigeria.
Over 80 members of the private sector attended the event, including the media, distinguished scholars and notable philanthropists. The keynote addresses were delivered by Professor Jeffrey Sachs, Director of the SDSN, Dr. Tony Marinho, Director of the EDUCARE TRUST, Mr. Hilary Ogbonna, Regional Coordinator of the UN SDG Action Campaign. Patrons of the network, among who are His Eminence, Professor Anele U. Nwokoma, Her Excellency Dame Pauline K. Tallen, Hajiya Maryam S. Ibrahim, as well as Zonal Coordinators, the Chair of Committees and some participants engaged in discussions on the presented topics.
The following roundtable welcomed critical thoughts on the over 25 concept notes and ideas received and mapped out a mid to long-term strategic action plan on the sustainable development programs for the country. The specific outcomes are as follows:

  1. Major ideas identified include educational development, infrastructural development, waste recycling, renewable energy, sustainable cities, water for consumption and irrigation, improved farming and post-harvest value addition, inclusive participation with social responsibilities, conflict prevention, and peace.
  2. Major action points for urgent attention include working and transforming these priority ideas into feasible and achievable pilot projects in various suitable localities, communities, and sectors.
    Discussed projects include:
    a) the development of an SDG curriculum and instructional materials for students and teachers, overhauling educational infrastructure focusing on ICT, laboratories, water and sanitation, communication and knowledge delivery, security of lives and properties, structural management and administration;b) embarking on massive awareness creation through product branding, communication media, and awards for business performance, social and moral impacts;c) water harvesting for consumption and irrigation through rainwater harvesting and abstraction from streams, rivers or underground aquifers, transmission and distribution management;d) a comprehensive survey of crop-specific production and post-harvest handling problems, collecting information on available local and foreign technology for scaling up productivity, shelf-life, value addition and dissemination of adequate and effective information to the farmers and relevant stakeholders, creating incentives for collating new innovations and solutions, teaching values of right consumption and conservation;

    e) waste management for employment generation, renewable energy, siting of wastes recycle plants at strategic locations, designing aids and self-teaching slogans on commercial products, construction of green areas, building pro-green infrastructure, housing, parks and city models;

    f) strategic engagement and reorientation of businesses and entrepreneurs on Corporate Social Responsibility actions that promote human well-being and sustainability in production, consumption, and profitability;

    g) promoting people, technology-driven and research-based innovation development policies, strategies and partnership among stakeholders on the core values of trust, competence, capability, mutual respect, and benefits.

  3. From the above ideas and action points, some clearly stated projects from the schemes include
    a) water harvesting for consumption and irrigation for different communities and regions of the country;b) SDG curriculum for easy dissemination of SDG-related content for all institutions and SDGs self-teaching guide for all categories of people in diverse languages and via media (television and radio programs, social media, music concerts, film series etc.);c) creation, modeling and branding awards for corporate entities and scholarships for active volunteers;d) continued capacity building for stakeholders in form of seminars, workshops, training of trainers, advocates, and volunteers across schools, regions, communities, professions and government sections;

    e) creation of “SDG Innovation Challenges” driving concrete solutions;

    f) open access and technology-driven database for development planning, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation;

    g) equipping institutions with ICT facilities for knowledge creation, information sharing, communication, administration, and security;

    h) construction of waste recycle plants and production of biofuel for clean energy;

    i) tree planting and green area initiative;

    j) company advertisement with SDG messages and product branding.

  4. The forum foresees these projects and programs to attract funding from businesses and corporate bodies including donor agencies, philanthropists, government, community members, organized groups, development institutions, alumni associations, local networks, and voluntary donations, under the condition that they are properly transformed into pilot projects in strategic locations and afterwards scaled up to multi-location projects.Participants expressed that they were better informed, equipped, and inspired to participate and contribute to the cause of SDG implementation. They agreed that the challenges of sustainable development have to be met by viable collaborations, adequate information sharing, especially in the data sector, and multi-stakeholder partnerships.
Solutions at the Heart of COP22 Mon, 05 Dec 2016 22:01:48 +0000 The 22nd United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) session of the Conference of the Parties (COP22) successfully brought together climate experts, NGOs, and high-level government delegates to operationalize the Paris Agreement, which entered into force on November 4, 2016.

This COP was unique for a variety of reasons, not least of all for introducing the first Low-Emissions Solutions Conference (LESC) hosted by the Government of Morocco and co-organized by SDSN, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and ICLEI- Local governments for Sustainability (ICLEI). The conference stretched over three days and was located in the Blue Zone where the official UNFCCC negotiations took place, which allowed for high-level delegates to attend.

For the first time at a COP, experts explored technical solutions to lower global emissions, offered by academic, private business, government, and industry stakeholders. Solutions ranged from long-term planning using mid-century modeling tools such as the Deep Decarbonization Pathways Projects (DDPP), to exploring cutting-edge, wave technology to harness the power of our oceans.

LESC successfully hosted 18 unique panels featuring solutions for a wide range of geographic and temporal applications. The themes for the solutions covered the gamut: low-carbon strategies; the role of information and communication technologies; sustainable cities and built environments; low-carbon transport; sustainable power systems; and low-carbon fuels and policies. The conference proceedings can be found at

The diverse array of technologies showcased at LESC illustrated the need for an equally diverse set of solutions to decarbonize our growing global economy. As stated by SDSN Director Jeffrey Sachs, “A decarbonized economy spends money on technology instead of fossil fuels,” and LESC provided the forum to feature the technologies available today.

Conference participants agreed that we can decouple economic growth from emissions growth and achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement, but that the world will need to scale-up innovative technologies in order to do so. This marked the first of many LESC events to be held around the world. This partnership has created a space to nurture, share, and accelerate progress toward a decarbonized world.

Ethics in Action: “The UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals” Mon, 14 Nov 2016 19:59:21 +0000 A Dialogue with Prof. Jeffrey Sachs and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

Join the Ethics in Action Initiative for an interview with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon by Professor Jeffrey Sachs. They will discuss the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals, adopted last September by 193 countries — goals to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all by 2030. Each goal has specific targets to be achieved over the next 15 years, and for that to happen, everyone needs to do their part: governments, the private sector, civil society and… us New Yorkers.

Collaborating with the Sustainable Development Solutions Network and Religions for Peace, Ethical Culture will convene a series of meetings over the next few months, bringing together a select group of community leaders to dialogue with Jeffrey Sachs about some of the great social, economic, political, and environmental challenges facing the world today — and specifically facing New York City.

Based on the premise that these are profoundly ethical challenges, they require not only technical solutions but the actualization of universal ethical principles such as human dignity, social justice, the common good, and shared well-being. Since individuals and communities at all levels have genuine capacities to respond to these challenges, they have related moral obligations to do so. The issues will be discussed in an effort identify the values and ethics needed to respond effectively to them—and hopefully to forge a shared moral consensus that can serve as an impetus for action.

Jeffrey D. Sachs is Professor of Sustainable Development and of Health Policy and Management at Columbia University and Special Advisor to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on the Sustainable Development Goals. He is co-founder and Chief Strategist of Millennium Promise Alliance, director of the Millennium Villages Project, a world-renowned professor of economics, bestselling author, and syndicated columnist.

Tue, November 29, 2016
6:30 PM – 8:00 PM EST

New York Society for Ethical Culture
2 West 64th Street
at Central Park West
New York, NY 10023

You can add a question at checkout to be considered during the Q&A.


The New York Society for Ethical Culture is a humanist community dedicated to ethical relationships, social justice, and environmental stewardship. Entry to our 100-year-old building and meeting rooms is wheelchair accessible. For events in our Auditorium and Social Hall, please call ahead (212-874-5210 x 121) and plan to arrive one hour before start time.

COP22 Low-Emissions Solutions Conference Thu, 10 Nov 2016 19:17:41 +0000 Marrakesh (Morocco) – The COP22 Low-Emissions Solutions Conference (LESC) will feature low-carbon solutions for country delegations to scale up and speed up the implementation of the Paris Agreement. The deployment of low-carbon strategies and innovation is key to the success of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). This 3-day Conference will engage a collaborative dialogue among the key stakeholders involved in climate action on the ground.

The Low-Emissions Solutions Conference brings together technical experts, world-leading scientists, engineers and innovators, from business, academia, and cities, to set common technological trajectories for a decarbonized economy as well as the transformations necessary in each sector.

Key outcomes of the Conference will be presented at the Action Agenda High-Level Event.

See a synopsis of the LESC Agenda. 500 participants are expected to join the conference.


Monday 14th of November:

  • Opening Ceremony: Speakers include Moroccan Environment Minister Hakima El Haite, Laurence Tubiana from France, Unilever CEO Paul Polman, and Columbia University Professor Jeffrey Sachs
  • Ministerial Roundtable on Innovation led by United States Secretary of Energy, Ernest Moniz, WBCSD President Peter Bakker, and 10 Ministers (EU, India, Mexico, Brazil, China-tbc) – open to press
  • Low-Carbon Strategies with key speakers from emerging economies
  • The Role of Information and Communications Technologies including Facebook VP of Sustainability Bill Weihl

Tuesday 15th of November:

  • Focus on Sustainable Cities with ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability Secretary General Gino Van Begin
  • Focus on Low Carbon Transport with Michelin Group Senior VP of Sustainable Mobility and Energy Transition Patrick Oliva and many more innovators from the transport sector

Wednesday 16th of November:

  • Focus on Energy and Power Systems with IRENA Director Adnan Amin, International Energy Agency’s Eric Masanet, Canada BC Government
  • Focus on Industry Action and Climate Smart Agriculture
  • Panel Discussion on Low-Carbon Policies with the World Bank, IISD and the Premier of Québec
  • Closing: CEO of Solvay Jean-Pierre Clamadieu, Columbia University Professor Jeffrey Sachs, WBCSD President Peter Bakker, ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability Secretary General Gino Van Begin

Thursday 17th of November:

  • Press Conference (between 9:00 and 10:00, UNFCCC media center)
  • UNFCCC Global Action Agenda High-Level event with participation from Peter Bakker (WBCSD) and selected participants of the LESC (10:00 to 13:00) – open to press

About the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network
The UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) operates under the auspices of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to mobilize leaders from academia, business, civil society, and other development organizations to promote problem solving and practical solutions for the pressing challenges of sustainable development. Following the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals, the SDSN is committed to supporting the implementation of the SDGs at local, national, and global scales. The SDSN aims to accelerate joint learning and help to overcome the compartmentalization of technical and policy work by promoting integrated approaches to the interconnected economic, social, and environmental challenges confronting the world. 

About the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD)
WBCSD is a global, CEO-led organization of over 200 leading businesses and partners working together to accelerate the transition to a sustainable world. We help make our member companies more successful and sustainable by focusing on the maximum positive impact for shareholders, the environment and societies. Our member companies come from all business sectors and all major economies, representing a combined revenue of more than $8.5 trillion and 19 million employees. Our global network of almost 70 national business councils gives our members unparalleled reach across the globe. WBCSD is uniquely positioned to work with member companies along and across value chains to deliver impactful business solutions to the most challenging sustainability issues. Together, we are the leading voice of business for sustainability, united by our vision of a world where more than 9 billion people are all living well and within the boundaries of our planet, by 2050.

About ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability
ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability is the leading global network of over 1,500 cities, towns and regions in more than 100 countries committed to building a sustainable future. By helping the ICLEI Network to become sustainable, low-carbon, ecomobile, resilient, biodiverse, resource-efficient, healthy and happy, with a green economy and smart infrastructure, ICLEI impacts over 25 percent of the global urban population. 

SDSN Newsletter — October 2016 Thu, 03 Nov 2016 21:48:49 +0000 Welcome to SDSN’s October 2016 Newsletter!

US Cities Sustainable Development Goals Indexsdg11
SDSN has launched the preliminary version of the US Cities Sustainable Development Goals Index for public consultation. We’re seeking suggestions on the metrics and methodology and invite you to participate. This index ranks the 124 most populous cities in the US (measured as Metropolitan Statistical Areas) and covers roughly 70% of the population. This SDG index synthesizes data available today across 46 indicators and is our latest work to measure progress on the SDGs.

Conference on Climate Change and Sustainable Investment in Resourcesindustry-sunrise-clouds-fog-39553-large-637x325
The 11th Annual Columbia International Investment Conference, of which SDSN is a partner, will take place on November 2-3 at Columbia University. The conference addresses the question of how natural resource investments can be made sustainable in the age of climate change.

Enroll in The SDG Academy’s Sustainable Cities Coursesustainable-cities-course
The SDG Academy is proud to launch its Sustainable Cities course on urban sustainability and SDG #11 on November 15. Dr. Aromar Revi, Director of the Indian Institute for Human Settlements and a member of SDSN’s Leadership Council, will lead the course and answer questions during a live one-hour webinar on November 7. Submit your questions beforehand to

Disaster Preparedness Survey – Contribute Todaydisaster-preparedness
The National Center for Disaster Preparedness at the Earth Institute has weighed in on the devastation left behind by Hurricane Matthew, highlighting the need to better understand the global state of disaster preparedness. As part of this process, the Center has partnered with the SDSN to launch the Global Disaster Preparedness Survey. Please take the brief survey to help us better inform disaster preparedness efforts.

SDSN Youth Symposium at the Vaticansdsn-youth-vatican-symposium
The Vatican Youth Symposium on October 30-31 brought together dozens of SDG youth advocates from around the world. These young leaders met in Vatican City to present, propose and pick winning SDG-oriented solutions. These solutions will be featured in the Youth Solutions Report and at SDSN’s Low-Emissions Solutions Conference during COP22.

SDSN in the Media

Jeffrey Sachs: India in UNSC: Quest for permanent foothold, Daily Pioneer – Oct 23, 2016

Siamak Sam Loni: Cities Of The Future: Why We Need Young People To Help Transform Their Communities, Huffington Post – Oct 20, 2016

Glenn Denning: Gene Editing Shifts Food Possibilities Forward, Popular Science – Oct 19, 2016

Jeffrey Sachs: We Need a Victory of Ideas, Says Jeffrey Sachs On Meeting the Sustainable Development Goals, The Wire – Oct 18, 2016

Jeffrey Sachs: The truth about trade, The Boston Globe – Oct 17, 2016

Jeffrey Sachs, Guido Schmidt-Traub, Jim Williams: Pathways to Zero Emissions. Nature Geoscience. Oct 17, 2016

K Srinath Reddy et al.: The next WHO Director-General’s highest priority: a Global Treaty on the Human Right to Health, The Lancet – Oct 13, 2016

K Srinath Reddy: Global Burden of Disease Study 2015 provides GPS for global health 2030, The Lancet – Oct 8, 2016

Hirokazu Yoshikawa et al.: Nurturing care: promoting early childhood development, The Lancet – Oct 4, 2016

James Hansen et al.: Young People’s Burden: Requirement of Negative CO2 Emissions, Earth System Dynamics Discussions – Oct 4, 2016

James Hansen: Climate Scientist James Hansen: We aren’t doing nearly enough to slow climate change, ThinkProgress – Oct 4, 2016

Jeffrey Sachs: New York City Accelerates Emissions Reduction Goals, Climate Central – Oct 2, 2016

Jeffrey Sachs: Facing up to income inequality, Boston Globe – Oct 2, 2016

Johan Rockström et al.: Social-ecological resilience and biosphere-based sustainability science, Ecology and Society – Oct 2016

Paul Collier and Patricia Jones: Transforming Dar es Salaam into a City that Work – Oct 2016

Achim Dobermann: Putting the Sustainable Development Goals into Practice, in: Good Nutrition: Perspectives for the 21st Century – Oct 2016

Celia J. Gomez and Hirokazo Yoshikawa: A community psychology approach to structure and culture in family interventions, American Psychological Association – Sep 26, 2016

Upcoming SDSN Events

View full list of Events

COP22 Low-Emissions Solutions Conference
14 – 16 November, Morocco
SDSN, WBCSD, ICLEI and the Governemnt of Morocco

World Science Day for Peace and Development
10 November

SDSN Greece Launch
11 November

Other News and Events

  • SDSN Youth launched their Local Pathways Fellowship at Habitat III in Quito, an initiative to empower youth globally in materializing the SDGs and the New Urban Agenda.
  • SDSN published a video on the correlation between the SDG Index and the World Happiness Report data entitled “What do the top 10 happiest countries in the world have in common?”
  • The Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research distributed an online survey on “Social tipping points instrumental for decarbonization by 2050.”
  • Katerina Teksoz, Senior Research Economist at SDSN, spoke at the Sustainable Development Transition Forum on October 25-27 in Korea, which included over 100 participants from governments, UN Agencies, think tanks, development banks and academic institutions.
  • Leadership Council member Martin Visbeck presented the EU H2020 Project Atlantos, ‘Optimizing and Enhancing the Integrated Atlantic Ocean Observing System’, at the 3rd Conference on Research Infrastructures in Cape Town on October 3-5.
  • Leadership Council member Prince Albert II of Monaco spoke about raising awareness on marine protection issues at the International Atomic Agency’s 2016 Scientific Forum.
  • Professor Jeffrey Sachs spoke at the Business in the Community Ireland’s CEO Breakfast Forum on October 25 about how business leaders can take action to implement the SDGs.
  • On October 18 an environmental partnership was announced between the Prince Albert II Foundation and the Basel Zoo to localize progress on the SDGs in Switzerland.
  • The World in 2050 project is underway. The project is designed to unite science and policy and develop pathways to assist leaders working on the SDGs.
  • Professor Jeffrey Sachs was awarded the UCD Ulysses Medal for helping achieve the SDGs.
  • Sign up for the SDSN Youth Newsletter here!
Vatican Youth Symposium Thu, 27 Oct 2016 19:51:09 +0000

Youth and the Sustainable Development Goals: Challenges and Opportunities

On October 30-31, 2016, the Pontifical Academy of Sciences (PAS), in collaboration with the Sustainable Development Solutions Network and its Youth Initiative (SDSN Youth), will host the Vatican Youth Symposium at the Casina Pio IV in Vatican City.

This two-day conference brings together 50 young leaders, from over 30 countries and a variety of disciplines, to co-generate solutions for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The conference includes a series of interactive workshops focused on sharing knowledge, generating ideas and operationalizing solutions to the SDGs.

The Vatican Youth Symposium will be opened by Professor Jeffrey D. Sachs, Special Advisor to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on the SDGs and the Director of SDSN, and H.E. Msgr. Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, Chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences. His Holiness Pope Francis has also been invited to speak.

The Vatican Youth Symposium represents a powerful platform where young leaders, critical agents of change, will channel their capacities toward the creation of a better world. Two winning SDG-focused solutions will be selected at the conclusion of the conference by a panel of judges chaired by SDSN experts, SDSN Youth and their partners. The winning projects will be presented at the Low Emissions Solutions Conference during the Conference of Parties (COP22) and will be featured in a special section of the Youth Solutions Report.

SDG solutions discussed and generated at the Vatican Symposium will be wide-ranging and multifaceted given the interconnected nature of the 17 SDGs. The Symposium will also have a special focus on solutions for SDG 4: Quality Education and SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth, with additional emphasis on Target 8.7 (to eradicate forced labor, end modern slavery and human trafficking and secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labor).

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a set of 17 goals included in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which was launched at UN Headquarters in September 2015 and adopted by 193 member countries of the UN. The SDGs, which are relevant to all countries, aim to achieve social inclusion, economic prosperity and environmental sustainability.

The Vatican Youth Symposium was made possible by the generosity and support of Dr Betsee Parker.

The Pontifical Academy of Sciences, founded in Rome on 17 August 1603, is the only supranational academy of sciences in the world. Its headquarters are in the Casina Pio IV, a 16th century Renaissance villa in the Vatican Gardens. Its mission is to honor pure science, ensure its freedom and encourage research.

SDSN Youth is the youth initiative of SDSN and focused on empowering youth globally to create sustainable development solutions. SDSN Youth educates young people about the challenges of sustainable development and creates opportunities for them to use their creativity and knowledge to pioneer innovative solutions for the SDGs. SDSN Youth creates platforms for young people to connect, collaborate and integrate their ideas and perspectives within the public policy field.

Media enquiries: For accreditation please contact the Vatican Press Office at

All journalists and media organizations wishing to apply for accreditation may request TEMPORARY accreditation through the online form of the Media Operations Section of the Holy See Press Office website.

Journalists and media organizations regularly accredited at the Holy See Press Office may send their request through the usual channels. All requests must be sent no less than 48 hours before the event.