The Future We Want: What have we learned since Rio+20?
The UN Secretary-General calls the SDG Summit in September the “centerpiece moment of 2023.” It takes place at the mid-point of implementing the development agenda adopted by countries in 2015: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This outcome has given the international community a dynamic blueprint for addressing multiple challenges in an integrated manner.
At the same time, the decision that called for the negotiation of the SDGs sparked additional actions that also bolstered sustainable development progress. The Rio+20 outcome was heralded as historic and forward-looking. Without that decision, we would not have the 2030 Agenda and its SDGs. Voluntary National Reviews would not be prepared by over 40 countries per year, opening each presenting country to international scrutiny for their sustainable development efforts. Re-examining where the SDGs came from will reinforce the foundation that the SDG Summit’s ambitions are built upon. The Future We Want also addresses issues that are not explicitly covered in the SDGs; these ideas merit review in light of the recent challenging years.
The webinar features speakers who were central to the negotiation of the Rio+20 outcome. While celebrating the 10th anniversary of that event, the webinar's focus is on how The Future We Want can contribute to the SDG Summit outcomes.
Paula Caballero, Regional Managing Director, Latin America, The Nature Conservancy
Paula Caballero is widely recognized as the lead proponent of the SDGs, which she conceptualized, positioned, and negotiated while serving as Director for Economic, Social, and Environmental Affairs in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Colombia. She also led the agreement to create a technical, science-based group to develop the SDGs, which broke completely with UN tradition and made it possible to negotiate a framework with concrete, implementable targets. The SDGs have changed how we understand and view development, proposing for the first time a truly universal agenda without the artifice of the distinction between “developed and developing” countries. The SDGs are a revolution in responsibility, enabling not just governments but also other stakeholders to engage meaningfully. For this work, she was awarded the German Sustainability Award in 2019 and the Zayed International Prize for the Environment in 2014 for her contributions to “environmental action leading to positive change.”
Farrukh Khan, Director General (Economic Coordination, Economic Diplomacy & OIC), Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Government of Pakistan
Farrukh Khan was a senior member of the then-UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's Climate team. He led global negotiations on the adoption of the SDGs, establishing the Adaptation Fund and the Green Climate Fund, promoting carbon footprinting, and incubating several market-led voluntary solutions by the financial sector to manage climate risks.
Irena Zubcevic, Director, Stakeholder Forum for a Sustainable Future
Irena Zubcevic has worked for over 20 years in the area of sustainable development, both as part of the Croatian foreign service (from 1993 to 2007) and at the United Nations Secretariat (2008–July 2022), and has contributed to a number of reports and papers in the area of sustainable development. She has supported the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) since its inception. She has also supported countries in preparing their Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs) since their beginning in 2016. In her work, Irena has worked with stakeholders of all kinds, from governments to civil society, business, academia, and others, facilitating their participation in the HLPF and other intergovernmental processes.
Dr. Marianne Beisheim, Senior Associate at Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik (SWP), the German Institute for International and Security Affairs
Dr. Marianne Beisheim has a focus on sustainable development governance. She is an expert on the follow-up and review processes on the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Among other things, she is a member of the UN-Political Advisory Board of the German Federal Foreign Office, the Leadership Council of SDSN Germany, and the Research Council of the United Nations Association Germany.
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