The sustainable development goals provide a roadmap, but is it enough to navigate a way out of the crises? The session examines the current situation from a historical and future-oriented perspective to understand structural barriers to progress and what it will take to achieve a more sustainable and just future. We take stock of lessons emerging on how communities and countries have handled crises and draw inspiration from the knowledge, experiences and creativity demonstrated, that can help inform new solutions and collaborations to address today’s multiple crises.
The world today is experiencing multiple crises that reinforce each other. Climate change and loss of biodiversity, wars and conflicts, the continuing COVID 19 pandemic have led to a perfect storm that is compounding poverty and inequality, contributing to hunger and food insecurity and undermining inclusive governance across many contexts.
These struggles are not new, but the complexity of challenges has created a situation where, for the first time in modern history, the global Human Development Index (HDI) has declined. At the same time, evidence shows that inequality and polarization have increased and we are facing a new era of increasing uncertainty.
But is there a promise in the dark? Can we find opportunities to create solutions based on the values of sustainability, equality and well-being, at the same time as we are dealing with crises? The 2030 Agenda has given us 17 sustainability goals that can help us navigate today’s challenges. The Sustainable Development Goals are deeply interlinked and the best tools we have to overcome the intersecting challenges we face today.
The time to coordinate our efforts is now, and it has to be done at the various levels and across sectors. The world depends on coherent and holistic policies and measures.
Our panel of international experts discusses how we can work together and create new pathways towards solutions:
* What can we learn from previous crises and how communities and countries have been able to respond to them effectively?
* How can we build solidarity and generate motivation for action in the face of crises?
* What measures can be put in place that will contribute to addressing the multiple challenges in a holistic manner?
* What kinds of roles do different actors - at international, national and local levels - and collaborations between them play to help reverse the negative trends we are seeing?
* How can each of us contribute?
* Haoliang Xu, UN Assistant Secretary-General and UNDP Director of Bureau for Policy and Programme Support.
* Bård Vegar Solhjell is the director of Norad – the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation, a professional body under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He has previously been Minister of State in Norway, as well as the director of WWF Norway.
* Heidi Finskas is the Vice President of Corporate Responsibility at KLP – Norway’s largest pension company. She has long experiences working with responsible investments.
* Henriette Westhrin is the Secretary General of the Norwegian Peoples Aid. She has also experience working with environmental and financial questions as the State Secretary.
* The conversation was led by Kathrine Sund-Henriksen. She is the director of Norwegian Forum for Development and Environment, a network of 60 Norwegian civil society organizations.
The seminar was part of the SDG Conference Bergen, #SDGbergen23: www.uib.no/en/sdgconference.
Watch the recording here: