More than 700 participants, key thinkers, business leaders, policymakers, scientists, researchers, advocates, and investors participated in the 2nd Sustainability Summit for South East Europe and the Mediterranean, which was held on the 1st and 2nd of October 2018, in Athens. The Summit was organized by The Economist Events in partnership with SDSN Greece and the SDGs Centre for Governance and Public Law, which is jointly developed by the Cambridge University Institute for Sustainability Leadership and the European Public Law Organization.
The key message of the event, highlighted by a series of high-level speakers, was the importance and the need to build partnerships, create solutions, achieve results, and promote the spirit and practice of sustainable development to civil society, the private sector, and governmental institutions. Focusing on green shipping, blue economy and the water-food-energy nexus, the themes covered by the 2nd edition of the Summit were especially relevant to Greece and the Mediterranean region. The Summit hosted a space for an open and constructive dialogue regarding technological developments, innovative practices, scientific approaches, and sustainable investments in order to pursue a new era of development and welfare in the region.
H.E. Mr. George Papandreou, Former Prime Minister of Greece and Member of the SDSN Leadership Council, advanced the idea that a culture of cooperation and understanding can lead to a more humanistic globalization and a global social contract, thereby reducing inequalities. Mr. Maros Sefcovic, Vice-President of the European Commission, highlighted that the transformation of the energy system in Greece could boost its role at the European level in view of its geographic position and susceptibility to the effects of climate change. Still, Bank of Greece Governor Prof. Yiannis Stournaras, stressed the fact that in the long run, value creation depends on the capacity to adapt to climate change challenges and the transition towards a zero-carbon economy.
SDSN Greece Co-Chairs Prof. Phoebe Koundouri and Prof. Andreas Papandreou emphasized the need for a science-driven, interdisciplinary and integrated approach towards the implementation of the SDGs while calling on participants to find motivation from a deep understanding of the enormous threats and the boundless opportunities they present if overcome.