ECOSOC President Marie Chatardová stressed the indivisible, integrated and interlinked nature of the SDGs.
Transformation in the context of the 2030 Agenda will demand ownership, political will, coherence and systems thinking, innovation and adaptability, credible, reliable and comprehensive data, thoughtfully engaging the creativity of women and youth, and leveraging the self-organizing power of communities.
Institutional tools such as threats analysis and vulnerability and exposure assessment, as well as fiscal instruments including micro-finance and insurance schemes, will be important elements of a transformation toward resilient societies.
28 November 2017: The UN Office for Sustainable Development hosted its annual Sustainable Development Transition Forum (SDTF), aiming to bridge the thematic focus of the 2017 session of the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) – ‘Eradicating poverty and promoting prosperity in a changing world’ – with that of the 2018 session – ‘Transformation towards sustainable and resilient societies.’
Addressing the Forum, which convened in Incheon, Republic of Korea, from 30 October – 1 November 2017, UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) President Marie Chatardová asked participants to “bear in mind the indivisible, integrated and interlinked nature of the SDGs and the three dimensions of sustainable development, including cross-cutting, new and emerging issues.” In this context, participants discussed the utility of systems thinking and mapping as useful tools for planners and policy-makers, as well as computer simulation models for understanding important SDG interconnections, feedback mechanisms, and policy leverage points.
Participants shared their perceptions of transformation in the context of the 2030 Agenda as “a radical change in perspectives and values, economically, socially and environmentally.” They said that making it happen will require: ownership; political will; coherence and systems thinking; innovation and adaptability; credible, reliable and comprehensive data; thoughtfully engaging the creativity of women and youth; and leveraging the self-organizing power of communities.”
Günther Bachmann, Secretary General of the German Council for Sustainable Development, compared the needed sustainability transformation to the Neolithic Revolution and the Industrial Revolution. He also stressed the need for a bridge between national implementation and reporting, on one side, and the thematic reviews and general state-of-the-art assessments, on the other.
The panel called to include young people in decision-making, “not because they are young, but because they are people.”
The Forum also discussed transforming towards resilient societies, including with regard to epidemics, food shortage and price volatility, flooding, drought and financial crises. Expert presentations noted the resilience value of “institutional tools such as threats analysis and vulnerability and exposure assessment, as well as fiscal instruments including micro-finance and insurance schemes.” In the context of climate change, speakers stressed the importance of identifying actions that have co-benefits for both mitigation and adaptation, which they described as “critical at the local level for attracting financing and cost-effective implementation.”
The Forum’s panel of young professionals urged participants to think about the long-term perspective in discussing these and other issues, and stressed that it helps to include young people in decision-making, including young women and young people from marginalized groups, “not because they are young, but because they are people…people who dream of a better world…and who are willing to fight for that better world, not held back by short-term stakes in finance or political power.” [SDTF Webpage]