Exploring narratives towards sustainable development


A side event was held this afternoon to examine the values and narratives towards a sustainable future for all. Mr. Kjørven moderated the session and acknowledged the unprecedented engagement of people expressing their interest in the future development framework. Yet, he addressed their core questions focusing mainly on ‘what and how SDGs should be’, without addressing the fundamental question of ‘why one should care about SDGs’. He saw embedded values were the ones to compel us in making effort to create a sustainable future and overcome global indifferences.

Ms. Flores, believed the most daunting task for SDGs to be achieved was building partnerships and trust among countries, which require equity, accountability and transparency and intergenerational programmes are creating partnership to mobilize poor and marginalized people. Ms. Mohammad, readdressed the theme -why one should care about SDGs- through making references to tragedy of conflicts and global indifferences, and reiterated the gravity for humanity to stand for moral values. Bishop Sorondo, carried on by pointing out GDP was not the key to happiness, but rather universal values such as fraternity, stability, social equity and justice, so it was crucial to promote sustainable humanity and respect human right to bring about social peace.

Dr. Ramanathan, on the phone, stated the fact that the top one billion energy consumers should share the responsibility to address issue of energy access, renewables for the bottom three billion people who are living in poverty and bearing the consequences of pollution. Mr. Vendley discussed ignorance, individual-egoism and group-selfishness as the challenges faced in SDGs and he called for cultivation of virtue to bring social cohesion into full play in a bid to build a holistic society with peace and human dignity.

The last speaker, Mr. Sachs, noted that those challenges we are facing now were more of a moral question which require capacity and humanity to practice sustainable virtue. He ended the session by making a remark on breaking indifferences for SDGs to bring in human well-being, and the importance in making own moral judgment and calling out on selfish behaviour.

Meeting: What’s behind What People Want: Perspectives on Values for the SDGs
Speakers: Mr. Olav Kjørven, Special Adviser to the UNDP Administrator on the Post-2015 Development Agenda; Mr. Veerabhadran Ramanathan, Director, Center for Atmospheric Sciences, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California; Mr. Jeffrey D. Sachs, Director, Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN); Ms. Mary Elizabeth Flores. Permanent Representative of Permanent Mission of Honduras to the United Nations; Ms. Amina Mohammed, UN Special Adviser on Post-2015 Development Planning; Monsignor Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, Chancellor, Pontifical Academy of Sciences and the Pontifical Academy of Social Science, Roman Catholic Church; Mr. William Vendley, Secretary General Religions for Peace International
Location: United Nations Secretariat Building, Conference Room 2, New York
Date: 12 June 2014
Written by WIT representative: Tracy Lau

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