Climate change

UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network presented in Berlin

  • 22 March 2013

Renowned economist Jeffrey D. Sachs launched the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) in Berlin this week in cooperation with ICC Germany and the German Development Institute (DIE).

UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network presented in Berlin.
UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network presented in Berlin.

During the event, entitled “New pathways towards global sustainability”, high-ranking representatives from research, business, politics and civil society discussed initiatives in support of sustainable development around the globe.

“The current global challenges such as the climate crisis, escalating food prices, and instable world financial markets call for sustainable solutions and new alliances,” said DIE Director Dirk Messner. “Traditional role allocation between the State and business, between North and South, or between science and praxis needs to be changed by groundbreaking networks of stakeholders that are willing and able to act.”

The Solutions Network, founded under the patronage of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in August 2012 and headed by Jeffrey Sachs, develops these practical solutions.

“In the 20 years since the first Rio Earth Summit, the world has largely failed to address some of the most serious environmental and social problems pressing in on us,” Mr Sachs said. “We can’t afford business as usual. We need to engage the academic and scientific community, and tap into worldwide technological know-how in the private sector and civil society, in order to develop and implement practical solutions.” To exert influence on various processes on the global policy agenda, the network provides expert advice, e.g. to the High-level Panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda. One of the central questions is how the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), agreed upon at the Rio+20 Conference in 2012, can be combined.

In tackling the global sustainability challenges, the private sector is a critical driver. “Companies contribute through innovative business models, technologies and services to the long-term success of sustainable development. However, major efforts are needed to scale up these solutions and their dissemination,” said Manfred Gentz, President of ICC Germany. “Fora like SDSN can start right here and provide momentum by targeted interchange on suitable framework conditions for their accelerated implementation.”

German business leaders and academics already participate in the Solutions Network. Within the framework of the German launch event in Berlin and together with representatives from politics and civil society, they discussed experiences and lessons learnt from the German energy transition. “For decades, German companies have been striving to foster, in a responsible fashion, economic, social and ecological development through innovations. But no one can meet the sustainable development challenges alone. To be truly successful, we need to drive forward an internationally concerted approach, one of ICC’s utmost concerns,” emphasized Mr Gentz. What contribution can the German approach make for sustainable energy solutions in other countries? Do we need a Club of Low Carbon Pioneers playing a leading role in the transition to a low-carbon global economy? These were some of the questions tackled by participants at the event.

“The SDSN is not only a timely initiative, but also a great opportunity for the private sector to engage with non-traditional actors and jointly develop new alliances and best practices that will lead to innovative business models for the future,” said Martina Bianchini, Vice-Chair of the ICC Commission on Environment and Energy and Vice-President of EU Government Affairs & Public Policy for Dow.