Presentation of the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) in Berlin

Press Release of 19 March 2013

Today, renowned economist Jeffrey D. Sachs launches the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) in Berlin. Within the scope of the event “New pathways towards global sustainability”, which is carried out by SDSN, the German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE) and ICC Germany, high-ranking representatives from research, business, politics and civil society discuss solution 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”, states DIE-Director Dirk Messner in Berlin. “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,” 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 can be combined reasonably.

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,” says Manfred Gentz, President of ICC Germany. “However, major efforts are needed to scale up these solutions and their dissemination,” continues Gentz. “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 will discuss 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”, emphasizes Gentz in Berlin. 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?

With former German President Horst Köhler, who is actively working in shaping a long-term development programme as a member of the UN High-Level Panel on the post-2015 development agenda, SDSN-Director Jeffrey Sachs, DIE-Director Dirk Messner and Klaus M. Leisinger, Chairman of the Board of Trustees at Novartis Foundation for Sustainable Development, will then discuss the question of how the international community can go its way to a global sustainability agenda. “We do not only need common development objectives, we have to transform our societies towards sustainability. Therefore, it is necessary to agree upon binding targets to face global challenges now and in the future”, says Dirk Messner.

About the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN):
The SDSN was launched in August 2012 by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon. It aims at strengthening and supporting practical solutions for sustainable development at the local, national, regional and global level. This aim will be pursued by four operational objectives: to (i) give content support to the "High-Level Panel" (HLP) on a post-2015 agenda; (ii) form twelve thematic groups on the core issues of sustainable development; (iii) design and implement "Solution Initiatives" which can make an important contribution to sustainable development, and (iv) establish regional SDSN networks to support practical solutions at the regional level. For these goals, SDSN mobilises universities, research centres, private companies, and civil society in all parts of the world.

About The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC):
The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) is the world business organization, a representative body that speaks with authority on behalf of enterprises from all sectors in every part of the world. A world network of national committees keeps the ICC International Secretariat in Paris informed about national and regional business priorities. More than 2,000 experts drawn from ICC’s member companies feed their knowledge and experience into crafting the ICC stance on specific business issues. ICC regularly advises the United Nations, the World Trade Organization, the G20 and many other intergovernmental bodies, both international and regional, on the views and priorities of international business.,