The fourth edition of The Economist’s Sustainability Summit will marshal the evidence to measure past progress, and assess where and how policymakers, financial institutions and business leaders should act. Where are we on the sustainability front compared with where we need to be? In what areas are efforts still falling short? Has the world already passed the point of no return in terms of climate change? And to what extent should efforts be directed at adaptation rather than mitigation?
A lot is already happening on the ground for the implementation of the SDGs – both as top-down goals with governments and institutions providing the driving force and as bottom-up initiatives by non-state actors and civil society. National and local sustainable development strategies, which are successfully involving civil society, were presented at one of a series of events on this topic at the EESC last week. However, an overarching European strategy, which would provide the coherence and guidance needed for the implementation of the SDGs at national and local level, is still missing.
“We are well attuned to nature’s good side, and we take the benefits we receive for granted. But what we already see now is nature’s ire: a melting Arctic and forest fires, rising sea-levels, droughts, floods and storm surges. When scientists warn of threats to clean air and water, food security and medicines, they are really speaking of threats against the bare necessities of life. But it doesn’t have to be this way. This was one main message to emerge from the UN Biodiversity Conference held in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, over the past two weeks, where the EU was leading the international efforts for a post-2020 global biodiversity framework. “
Update – draft minutes are available.
Energy, environment and digital issues will be addressed under A items.
Scientists have created a solar atlas of Egypt, revealing where the sun’s rays shine most brilliantly and where dust storms obstruct its light. And in Niger, forecasters are guiding pastoralists towards grazing areas and water sources – and away from conflict with sedentary farmers.