Since 2012, the SDSN Leadership Council has met in New York in the lead up to the United Nations General Assembly. This year marked the one-year anniversary of the SDGs. The SDSN Secretariat, our SDSN Networks, and Leadership Council Members were in full swing, participating in discussions and events and assessing the progress made and the road ahead.
SDSN and our partners hosted 19 exciting events in and around UNGA, which helped to tell the story of the world’s progress towards achieving the SDGs, as well as facilitate their further implementation. We began the week by hosting the 9th SDSN Leadership Council meeting. Shortly after, SDSN co-hosted the Solutions Summit with partners from the UN Foundation, UN-NGLS, Global Innovation Exchange, SDG Philanthropy Platform and Global Entrepreneurs Council. The Summit highlighted innovative SDG solutions as well as projects that advanced the objective of the UN Summit for Refugees and Migrants, UN Habitat III Conference, UN Climate Change Conference, Open Government Partnership Summit and UN Oceans Conference.
The week continued with the 4th Annual International Conference on Sustainable Development, which brought hundreds of participants from around the world to Columbia University and the New School to hear from development practitioners and industry experts on how to get started with implementing the SDGs. Two of the keynote speakers, Prime Minister Andrew Holness of Jamaica and Prime Minister Erna Solberg of Norway, acknowledged the challenges that lay ahead for their countries and called upon the youth of the world to take action on the SDGs.
During the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data, a General Assembly Partnership Event, country leaders identified their readiness to monitor the SDGs by showcasing results from a series of country-specific, roadmap exercises. Further in-depth discussions on the data revolution and its role in the SDGs took place during the Data Achieving Development event. A global talk about the environment and the contribution of the arts in raising awareness about the SDGs came through the Amazon Day virtual event, the SDSN Youth’s Reimagining 2030 and the Music for a Sustainable Planet concert at Carnegie Hall, adding a creative spin to the week of UN events.
Urban design, transportation and population health were central topics in An integrated approach to SDG attainment in Cities event, which also featured the launch of a new, special series on these issues in The Lancet. Relatedly, our thematic networks on Data for the Sustainable Development, Sustainable Cities and Extractives held meetings and discussed current challenges and opportunities for future collaboration that will move the 2030 Agenda forward.
The week concluded with the Global Citizen Festival 2016 in Central Park. For the first time, the event, which has become an annual fixture in New York to raise awareness and mobilize momentum for ending extreme poverty in all its forms, focused on the SDGs. During the concert, Professor Jeffrey Sachs and the SDG Advocates spoke on behalf of the promise of the Sustainable Development Goals and what the 70,000 concert-goers could do to advocate for the global goals.