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The SDSN Northern Europe was officially launched in Gothenburg February 25-26 with the participation of the Swedish Prime Minister, top academics and the CEOs of several major Swedish companies.

Day one – Seminar on Science-based Transformations 2030

The launch of the SDSN NE was a big success! Day one of the event, hosted by the Centre for Environment and Sustainability at Chalmers University of Technology and the University of Gothenburg, gathered more than 300 leading international researchers at the Chalmers Conference Center in Gothenburg, Sweden. They debated “Science-based transformations 2030″ and how SDSN NE can become a first class motor for science, and contribute to the implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Agenda 2030.

Day two – Official High Level Launch Event

Day two convened leaders from business, academia and government to officially launch SDSN NE and discuss roles, partnerships, and cooperation opportunities.  The event featured the Swedish Prime Minister, Stefan Löfven, who gave an inspiring speech emphasizing his wish to have Sweden leading the way for implementation of the SDGs. He was extremely positive about the role that the SDSN NE can play: “We have to share the responsibility for taking the right path to a sustainable and prosperous future and you are showing us the right way.”

Over 400 participants from academia, research, civil society, government, the private sector, and international organizations attended Day Two. The main objective of the day was to illustrate the relevance of the SDGs for the northern European region and to highlight the roles for stakeholders on national, regional and global levels. Participants presented and debated the opportunities and challenges of different initiatives within the framework of the SDSN NE, in particular the Solutions Initiatives Forum (SIF), which is seen as an effective mechanism for implementing solutions in support of the SDGs.

Professors Lena Treschow Torell, Katherine Richardson, and Katarina Gardfeldt set the stage as Chairs of the new Network. Professor Johan Rockstrom and Professor Jeffrey Sachs also made presentations, highlighting the complexity of the challenges and calling on urgent action to face them.

The private sector was represented by the CEOs and Chairs of several leading Scandinavian firms, including Ericsson, Scania, SKF, Volvo, and Unilever. During the “Sejour 2: The ambition of business and inter-linkages to stakeholders of SDG implementation,” participants witness new partnerships being made: like when the CEO of SKF, Alrik Danielson, asked his colleagues from Volvo and SCANIA: “What about a partnership to reduce automotive friction?” “Deal”, were the immediate answers. From the Danish world leading healthcare company, Novo Nordisk, came an offer to join in the company´s struggle for better public access to health care in big cities. “Deal” was the answer, again. Diana Amini, CEO of H&M Foundation, spoke about the remarkable results of the Global Change Award: innovative ideas that can lead to a more sustainable practice in the retail sector.

Also, Charlotte Petri Gornitzka, Director General of the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA), gave an inspiring speech on the role of International Cooperation in achieving the SDGs.

Some of the next steps for the SDSN NE are:

  • Transform the role of academia to one of stakeholder, on equal level with business, as an enabler for the implementation of the SDGs.
  • Localize the SDGs according to national and European realities, and develop pathways for transformation cross the entire agenda.
  • Adapt contributions from the scientific community to the agendas of government, business and civil society.
  • Map out challenges, attempted and proposed solutions, financial flows, what results have been achieved, and what need to be found out.
  • Guide industry and policymakers to navigate the complex implementation of the SDGs using science-based decisions.
  • Facilitate existing networks, actors and initiatives to break down barriers; implement solutions for sustainable development at local, European and global levels.
  • Engage with follow-up and review ……..
  • Develop innovative big data interfaces that allow stakeholders to both contribute data and use statistics for informed decisions.

There are currently 39 universities interested in joining the network. SDSN NE aims at engaging even more universities in the region, to generate the ideas and capacity to respond to the needs of industry and society with tailored solutions based on knowledge.

More information here:

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