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World Leaders Adopt Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

On September 25, world leaders gathered at the United Nations to adopt the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – a truly universal, and transformative global development agenda. The SDSN congratulates the international community, and in particular Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Amina Mohammed, and the leaders of the intergovernmental process, Ambassadors David Donoghue, Macharia Kamau, and Csaba Körösi, for this historic achievement. Having made significant contributions to the design of this 2030 Agenda, the SDSN is now shifting its focus to supporting the implementation of the goals at local, national, and global scales by deepening our global network of knowledge institutions and problem solvers and promoting practical solution initiatives.

Presidents of US and China Commit to Long-term Low-Carbon Pathways

On September 25, the Presidents of the United States and China released a joint statement on climate change, lending strong support to COP21 and calls for “formulating and making available mid-century strategies for the transition to low-carbon economies, mindful of the below 2 degree C global temperature goal.” This is the first time both countries have publicly committed to preparing long-term deep decarbonization pathways that are consistent with 2°C. As demonstrated by the Deep Decarbonization Pathway Project (DDPP), such long-term pathways are indispensable for ensuring that short-term emission reduction strategies are consistent with limiting average global temperature increase to 2°C. The DDPP, comprising research teams from 16 countries including the US and China, will launch its 2015 Global Synthesis Report in October. The Executive Summary and individual country reports are already available at

SDSN Leadership Council Convenes in New York to Set Course for Next Five Years

The Leadership Council of the SDSN convened at Columbia University on September 24 to review the governance and work plan of the SDSN. The Council broadened the leadership of the SDSN by appointing four additional Co-Chairs: Amina Mohammed, Aromar Revi, John Thwaites, and Virgilio Viana. They join Laurence Tubiana and Xue Lan to strengthen the SDSN’s regional presence. Moreover, the Council decided to launch an SDG Center for Africa in Kigali. The Government of Rwanda will host this center to support the implementation of the SDGs in the region. Finally, the SDSN Thematic Groups will be reconstituted as broader Thematic Networks to mobilize knowledge and expertise for the implementation of the SDGs.

3rd International Conference on Sustainable Development (ICSD) Draws over 1,000 Participants

On September 23 and 24, the SDSN, in partnership with the Global Association of Masters in Development Practice Programs, held the 3rd annual International Conference on Sustainable Development (ICSD) at Columbia University in New York. The event featured high-level speakers, including the Presidents of Liberia, Malta, and Rwanda; the First Lady of Panama; high-level UN officials including Irina Bokova and Jan Eliasson, and SDSN Leadership Council members Peter Bakker, James Hansen, Pavel Kabat, Cherie Nursalim, Johan Rockström, Jeffrey Sachs, Vania Somavilla, and Hans Vestberg. With the theme of “Implementing the SDGs: Getting Started,” the conference brought together a wide range of stakeholders to identify and share practical, evidence-based solutions to support the SDGs. Full agenda and conference recordings are available at


SDSN September NY Events

SDSN and its partners hosted the following events in New York, in and around the UN General Assembly (UNGA 70) and the Summit for the Adoption of the Post-2015 Development Agenda including (click to read more):


Recent SDSN Publications

Investment Needs to Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals: Understanding the Billions and Trillions (Working Paper) – SDSN

Sustainable Development Goals: Are the rich countries ready?– Bertelsmann Stiftung with support from SDSN

Pathways to Deep Decarbonization: 2015 Synthesis Report (Executive Summary) – SDSN and IDDRI

Making the Sustainable Development Goals Work – SDSN


Sign Up for SDSNedu Courses Today

SDSNedu has just launched three full-length courses: The Age of Sustainable Development, Planetary Boundaries & Human Opportunities (now with Spanish translation), and Climate Change Science & Negotiations. We have also launched two new “mini-series” courses: Laudato Si’: On Care of Our Common Home(narrated by Bono) and Transforming the World: Achieving the SDGsregister today»


SDSN in the Media

Former President Tarja Halonen and President Michelle Bachelet: A Sustainable Future for All –Huffington Post, September 25

Former President Leonel Fernández: The Dilemma of the Digital Gap – Huffington Post, September 24

Jane Lubchenco et al.: Sustainability rooted in science – Nature, September 21

Bineta Diop: What We Can Achieve When Women Raise Their Voices – Huffington Post, September 8

Paul Polman & John Bryant: The Case for Business Action on Climate Change – Huffington Post, September 24

Hans Vestberg: Digital Wallets, 3D Printing, Mobile Banking Just the Beginning – Huffington Post, September 14

Jeffrey Sachs: Technology for Good: ICT & Sustainable Development Goals (video) – Economic Times, September 29

John Thwaites and Tahl Kestin: Sustainable Development Goals: a win-win for Australia – The Age, September 23

Johan Rockström: Arctic Tipping Points Can Ripple Around the World – Huffington Post, September 14

Cynthia Rosenzweig: Blasting Off to Sustainability – Huffington Post, September 16

Jeffrey D. Sachs, Shaida Badiee, Robert Chen and Enrico Giovannini: The Data Revolution for Sustainable DevelopmentProject Syndicate, September 18 

Beyond Declaration: Implementing the Sustainable Development Goals – BMW Foundation, September 24

Jessica Espey and Danielle Petretta: Local linchpins: Mayors commit to the SDGsCitiscope, September 11

Regional leaders from around world sign pledge to reduce carbon pollution – Washington Post, September 24

How can mining contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals? – World Economic Forum, September 25

Kaitlin Y. Cordes and Jeffrey D. Sachs: Measuring Land Rights for a Sustainable Future –, September 30 

U.S. one of nations least likely to meet new development goals – studyThomas Reuters Foundation, September 8


Upcoming SDSN Events


News from Our Partners

  • On September 14-15, IDDRI and SDSN hosted a Media Workshop on the Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project (DDPP) in Paris. Over a dozen reporters from DDPP country teams gathered to learn more about the project, its methodology, and implications for the Paris climate conference, COP21.
  • The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), in partnership with SDSN, is spearheading an initiative to rally business leaders behind the climate change and sustainability message of the Laudato si’, the encyclical of Pope Francis. Learn more and view all business signatories here.
  • The Global Association of the Master’s in Development Practice (MDP) program is interested in expanding the number of academic institutions offering a graduate degree in sustainable development practice. Please contact Dr. Lucia Rodriguez to learn more.
  • New report from Ericsson and the Earth Institute highlights the role of ICTs in accelerating achievement of the SDGs. Read more.
  • On September 16, SDSN and the Graduate Institute’s Programme on Gender and Global Change held a roundtable in Geneva with women leaders from Senegal and Nigeria. Participants exchanged experiences on the methodology and implementation of the Women’s Situation Room in their countries. Read more.
  • On August 27, SDSN Mediterranean, in cooperation with “Visionaria International Film Festival,” presented at the Italian Pavilion of Expo 2015 an event entitled “Food & Water: International short film festival on sustainability.” Watch the finalist film trailers here. SDSN Mediterranean has also recently launched a redesigned website and a Network overview video.
  • Adolf Kloke-Lesch, Executive Director of SDSN Germany and member of the SDSN Leadership Council, has authored “The G20 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): Reflections on future roles and tasks” for the Third Annual G20 Think Tank Summit “Global Governance and Open Economy” in Beijing, China. Learn more and download the full publication here.
  • SDSN Australia/Pacific has released its September 2015 Newsletter. Sign up for the newsletter to receive updates from the network.
  • SDSN Sahel has released its July-September 2015 Newsletter (Français). Sign up for the newsletter to receive updates from the network.
  • UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and partners have launched, a platform for inclusion and social participation around the 2nd United Nations Environment Assembly, to take place in Nairobi, Kenya on May 23, 2016.

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