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Welcome to our May Newsletter!

SDSN Leadership Council Meeting in Beijing

On May 15-16, 2014, the SDSN Leadership Council convened in Beijing at the invitation of Tsinghua University. The meeting focused on the SDSN contribution to the post-2015 processes and the preparations of the 2015 climate conference in Paris, building the national and regional networks, and expanding the online education initiatives. Presentations from the meeting are available here. 

LC Beijing Meeting

SDSN China

At the invitation of Chen Jining, President of Tsinghua University, a second meeting was held to prepare the launch of the China SDSN scheduled for November 2014 and to review lessons from National and Regional SDSNs in other parts of the world. Senior representatives from universities and research institutions joined the meeting: the China Academy of Social Sciences, Development Research Council, Beijing Normal, Nankai, Peking, Shandong, Tongji, Tsinghua, and the Columbia Global Centers | East Asia. The China Business Council on Sustainable Development also participated.

Leadership Council Side Events

Beijing Health Forum – On May 13, 2013, the SDSN in collaboration with Peking University, WHO China, and the Columbia Global Centers | East Asia held a health forum at Peking University focusing on the challenges of expanding and financing quality health coverage in China. Keynote presentations were made by former Chinese Minister of Health Chen Zhu and Jeffrey D. Sachs.

Redefining the Role of Business for Sustainable Development – On May 14, 2014, the WBCSD, the CBCSD, and the SDSN convened a meeting in Beijing to discuss how Chinese business can contribute to sustainable development. The groups agreed to work closely with the China SDSN and to organize periodic meetings to discuss long-term pathways to sustainable development in China. A first meeting will be convened in late 2014 to discuss deep decarbonization pathways for China with business leaders.

Pathways to Sustainable Agriculture in China – On May 14, 2014, the SDSN in collaboration with the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS), the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture, and the China Agricultural University (CAU), held a meeting in Beijing, China, to discuss opportunities for collaboration. Meeting participants agreed to develop a national pathway for sustainable agricultural intensification in China under the umbrella of the SDSN.

Sustainable Urbanization in China – On May 14, 2014, the SDSN in partnership with Columbia Global Centers | East Asia, UN Habitat and United Cities, and Local Governments (UCLG) hosted an expert roundtable, entitled “Learning Lessons From Sustainable Urbanization in China and Encouraging Progress through Sustainable Development Goals.” A detailed event report including presentations can be viewed here.

Good Governance of Extractive and Land Resources – On May 14, 2014, the SDSN co-hosted a workshop in Beijing on sustainable development and extractive industries with the Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research (IGSNRR) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). The goal of the workshop was to explore ways of enhancing the developmental impact of natural resources, particularly in Africa. A detailed event report including presentations can be viewed here.

The Challenges of Social Inclusion – On May 17, 2014, the SDSN, in partnership with Beijing Normal University, hosted an expert roundtable entitled “The Challenges of Social Inclusion.” The meeting explored lessons from China’s experiences of reducing inequality and social exclusion. A detailed event report including presentations can be viewed here.

Laurence Tubiana Nominated as France’s Special Representative for COP21

The French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius has nominated Laurence Tubiana, Co-Chair of the SDSN Leadership Council, as Special Representative for the 2015 Paris Climate Conference (COP-21). The announcement (in French) is available here.

Revised Working Draft of Indicators Report Released

SDSN has released a revised working draft of the report “Indicators for Sustainable Development Goals”, which can be viewed here. Additionally, synthesis and full database of all comments received from the 6-week public consultation can be found here. These indicators have been incorporated into our new, detailed pages on SDSN’s proposed goals and targets.

SDSN Side Event for Open Working Group Side: Examining the Evidence Base for the 16 OWG Focus Areas

On May 5, 2014, SDSN, in partnership with the Governments of Bhutan, Colombia, Denmark, Rwanda, South Africa, Sweden and Switzerland, hosted a side event at the Open Working Group (OWG) to discuss the evidence base for the 16 focus areas. The presentations and supplementary notes are available here.

Potential for Regional Use of East Africa’s Natural Gas

The Sustainable Engineering Lab (SEL) at the Earth Institute has released an SDSN Briefing Paper on “Potential for Regional Use of East Africa’s Natural Gas”.

2nd Annual International Conference on Sustainable Development Practice

The Global Association of Master’s in Development Practice Programs (MDP), in collaboration with the SDSN, will hold the 2nd Annual International Conference on Sustainable Development Practice (ICSDP) on September 17-18, 2014, at Columbia University in New York City. Proposals are welcome across 12 SDSN thematic areas and must be submitted via the form on the conference website by May 30, 2014. For questions please write to ICSDP@globalmdp.org.

News from Regional and National SDSNs

Caribbean SDSN launch: On May 7-8, 2014, the SDSN Caribbean was launched at the University of the West Indies (UWI) Mona Campus in Kingston, Jamaica, under the auspices of Prime Minster Portia Simpson-Miller. UWI Vice Chancellor E. Nigel Harris, Jeffrey D. Sachs, and UN Resident Coordinator Arun Kashyap also participated in the launch, which saw 14 presentations of possible solutions initiatives. The launch was covered in Jamaica Observer.

SDSN Australia/Pacific – On May 19-21, 2014, SDSN Australia/Pacific and the Monash Sustainability Institute organized a Workshop on Sustainable Development Goals; the SDSN Youth Solutions Launch Event; a keynote address by Jeffrey D. Sachs on “Australia in the Age of Sustainable Development”; and the launch of “How Australia can thrive in a low carbon world: Pathways to prosperity in 2050”. Learn more about the Australia Deep Decarbonization Pathway here. During his visit, Sachs was interviewed by The Business, AM, and The Age.

SDSN Germany – The network has announced the first members of its Leadership Council, which will be chaired by Dirk Messner, head of the German Development Institute, and Klaus Töpfer, head of IASS.

MED Solutions – The Regional SDSN for the Mediterranean has recently released its first newsletter, which can be viewed here.

Plastic Busters Mediterranean Research Expedition

The researchers under the Mediterranean Plastic Busters solutions initiative have joined the Mediterranea Cultural and Scientific expedition in combatting the presence of plastics in the Mediterranean Sea. During this expedition, Plastic Busters will recover data on the presence of microplastics and their impacts on marine life from the region between Bari and Otranto Puglia. Read more about the expedition here.

Fourth Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project (DDPP) Country Team Meeting

On April 30- May 2, 2014, the DDPP held its fourth in-person meeting in Paris with over 40 participants, representing the 15 country teams as well as partners from international organizations and research institutions. The DDPP report will be launched by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on July 8, 2014.

SDSN at Abu Dhabi Ascent

On May 4, 2014, several members of the SDSN Leadership Council addressed the Abu Dhabi Ascent meeting in preparation of the Climate Leaders’ Summit on September 23, including Paul Polman, Sultan Al Jaber, Christiana Figueres, Laurence Tubiana, Peter Bakker, along with Jeffrey Sachs, Director of the SDSN.

SDSN in the Media

Jeffrey Sachs in Project Syndicate – Our Last Chance for a Safe Planet – May 28, 2014

Jeffrey Sachs in Project Syndicate – Why Bill Gates Gets It Wrong – May 23, 2014

Frank Jotzo & Anna Skarbek – Australia has nothing to fear from deep global carbon cutsMay 22, 2014

James Hansen in WBUR – Antarctic Melt And Calls For Action – May 20, 2014

Bineta Diop in CNN – Building peace in Africa? Give power to women – May 19, 2014

Paul Polman in McKinsey Quarterly – Business, society, and the future of capitalism (video interview) – May 16, 2014

Jeffrey Sachs in CCTV – Poverty reduction will remain at core (video) – May 15, 2014

Laurence Tubiana in The Guardian – EU must embrace its role as a world leader (signatory) – May 14, 2014

Andrew Steer in Huffington Post – 3 Tales of Hope for a Low-Carbon Future – May 13, 2014

Andrew Steer in Eco-Business – Why businesses should put sustainability at the heart of decision-making – May 13, 2014

Frances Beinecke in Switchboard – Climate Change Hits the Grocery Store and Dinner Plate – May 8, 2014

Winnie Byanyima in Oxfam – Growth in Africa undermined by rapidly increasing inequality – May 7, 2014

Feike Sijbesma in Bloomberg – DSM Says Nutrition Supplement Market Shows Signs of Improvement – May 6, 2014

Jeffrey Sachs in The New York Times – At the U.N., a Free-for-All on Setting Global Goals – May 6, 2014

Sultan Al Jaber in Gulf News – Governments urged to aspire towards sustainability – May 5, 2014

K. Srinath Reddy in Yahoo News UK – Healthier Choices ‘Could Save 40m’ (video) – May 3, 2014

Paul Polman in Business Times – A quite revolution – May 3, 2014

Jeffrey Sachs (signatory) – Statement of the Joint PAS/PASS Workshop on Sustainable Humanity, Sustainable Nature: Our Responsibility – May 2, 2014

Christiana Figueres in Thomas Reuters Foundation – Adaptation will fail without emissions cuts, funding insufficient – April 30, 2014

Upcoming SDSN Events

  • June 23-24 – Expert workshop on SDG indicators and data collection with United Nations Statistical Division | New York, USA
  • June 27 – Turkish SDSN Launch Event | Istanbul, Turkey
  • July 7 – South Asia SDSN Launch Event | New Delhi, India
  • July 8 – Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project (DDPP) press conference | New York, USA
  • August 25-30 – 5th Annual Ibadan Sustainable Development Summit (ISDS) | Ibadan, Nigeria
  • September 17-18 – 2nd International Conference on Sustainable Development Practice organized with MDP Consortium | New York, USA
  • September 19-20 – Leadership Council meeting | New York, USA
  • October 22-24 – Sustainability Science Congress 2014 | Copenhagen, Denmark
  • November 4-11 – APEC meetings | Beijing, China

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