On 14 May, the SDSN Northern Europe hosted a Solutions Initiative Forum (SIF) at Sida in Stockholm. The overall theme of the event was integration and linkages between the SDGs and the lives of immigrants and refugees now living in Scandinavia. A morning panel looked at the ways climate change and migration impact each other. During the panel, Biljana Macura & Clarisse Kehler Siebert of the Stockholm Environmental Institute called for a literature review on the topic, to aid policymakers in making transparent and science-based decisions around migration and climate change. François Gemenne of The Hugo Observatory noted that as our world becomes more interdependent and globalized, there is a tendency for societies to become more afraid of the “other,” particularly immigrants. He went on to encourage the audience to view migration not as a challenge, but rather an opportunity, noting that immigrants are a key resource for economic growth, innovation, and most importantly the transition to sustainable development. Anna Norden concluded the panel by warning that oversimplification of these complex issues often leads to misinformation in the media and the public discourse.
In the afternoon, 15 of the 20 solutions featured in the Integration Solutions Report were presented in 3-minute pitches. Highlights include International Sandwich Brothers, which trains recently-arrived Norwegians to make delicious, organic sandwiches delivered by bicycle. Two projects, Integrify and YES CPH Co., take advantage of the rapidly increasing demand for software and web coders, and trains new arrivals in this critical skill. Neighborhood Mothers and Svenska Med Baby build networks of new parents from all backgrounds for a multicultural network of support. FRAK matches at-risk youth with jobs and internships, to help them both build their resumes and earn money.
The forum brought together a range of network stakeholders and community actors to showcase a range of efforts to realize the SDGs across Northern Europe. The theme of “integration” is just one of many the network hopes to focus on in the years ahead to maintain Northern Europe as a leader on the 2030 Agenda.
A second event was hosted by the SDSN Northern Europe on Tuesday, 15 May. Entitled “Transforming Sectors: SDG Implementation in Sweden,” the public event opened with a keynote address from Professor Jeffrey Sachs, who applauded Sweden for their strong performance in the World Happiness Report and the SDG Index and Dashboards, but noted that there is still progress to be made. A panel discussion followed, moderated by Alexander Crawford of Global Utmaning and featuring Jeffrey Sachs, Marie Dahllöf of the Postcode Foundation, Carin Jämtin of the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), Mette Morsing of the Stockholm School of Economics, and Johan Rockström of the Stockholm Resilience Centre. The discussion explored what is missing in the current state of SDG implementation in Sweden and identified opportunities for action within civil society and academia, both at home and abroad through ODA and other mechanisms. The event took place in the gracious presence of Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden, an SDG Advocate.