The Global Solutions Forum, which was organized by the UN Sustainable
Development Solutions Network (SDSN), seeks to gather experts in science,
technology, and public policy to attain the SDGs.
During the second day of the forum four speakers from different regions (Germany, Belgium, Mexico, and the Mediterranean) presented their respective initiatives and projects, which aim to advance the implementation of the SDGs.
In his keynote speech Dr. Jeffrey Sachs highlighted the need for complex,
interdisciplinary, digital solutions, and the importance of good, solution-oriented governance to address the current crises. Subsequently, he explained that quantified targets and a specific timeline, as formulated in the SDGs and the Paris Agreement, are essential to handle these crises and need to be followed by explicit proposals developed by scientist on how to implement these political goals.
Both the projects from Belgium (InSusChem) and the Mediterranean (PRIMA Observatory on Innovation) seek to establish knowledge-sharing platforms to bring together different stakeholders to find solutions and maximize knowledge through cooperation. While the Belgian project focuses on understanding the complexity of CO2 emissions through cooperation of scientists, the project from the Mediterranean strives for innovation in the agri-food industry by bringing together researchers and
The Mexican project (Axolots in Xochimilco) concentrates on the preservation of Axolots by generating refuges for Axolotl which are easy to build for local farmers and at the same time increase the water quality, and thus the quality of the crop.
By facilitating the Dialogue of the Scientific Councils in Germany the fourth project offers a solution to the lack of exchange among the numerous Scientific Councils which report to the different German ministries, and play an important role in the German National SDG Implementation Strategy. All solutions were subsequently endorsed and commented on by the participants of the conference.

Meeting: Global Solutions Forum 2020, Day 2
Date/Location: 28th October 2020, 3:30-5pm UTC, online event
Moderator: Ms. María Cortés Puch, Vice President of Networks at UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network

Ms. Vera Meynen, Associate Professor at the University of Antwerp;
Mr. Simone Cresti, University of Siena;
Mr. Luis Zambrano, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México;
Dr. Anne Ellersiek, Research Associate at the Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik;
Dr. Jeffrey David Sachs, Director of the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University.
Written by: WIT representative Leonie Gahn

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