18 September 2016

IIASA activities surrounding the UN General Assembly

IIASA Director General and CEO Professor Dr. Pavel Kabat participated in the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) Leadership Council Meeting on 18 and 19 September, and he attended the UN General Assembly on 20 September. Kabat also gave a guest lecture at the Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis (SCEPA) on 19 September. The series of events and high-profile meetings in New York concluded with the second annual “Music for a Sustainable Planet” concert on 21 September.

© Sean Pavone | Dreamstime

© Sean Pavone | Dreamstime

Almost one year after the Paris climate conference (COP21) in December 2015, the SDSN Leadership Council met in New York on 18 and 19 September to review the network’s ongoing support to the UN in achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). During the meeting, the group discussed the most effective tools for SDG implementation, monitoring, and raising awareness. Professor Dr. Pavel Kabat talked about The World in 2050 (TWI2050) project, a joint science-policy initiative to address the challenges arising from the SDGs, which was initiated at IIASA in 2015.

Kabat also attended a meeting between The Science Advisory Board members and the SDSN Leadership Council, including Carlos Nobre, former IIASA Council Member for Brazil and President of CAPES (Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Education Personnel) at the Brazilian Ministry of Education. On 19 September he also met with Vaughan Turekian, Science and Technology Adviser to the Secretary of State.

On 19 September Kabat also visited SCEPA and gave a guest lecture titled "Principles and Benefits of Systems Science: Can we reconcile economic development with environmental sustainability?". SCEPA, a think tank within The New School’s department of economics, works with economists and researchers to focus public debate on the role government should play to create economic security and improve living standards. Prior to his lecture, Kabat met with William Milberg, Dean and Professor of Economics at the New School.

On 20 September Kabat attended the UN General Assembly and, as part of this event, he will participate in the meeting of the High-Level Panel on Water (HLPW) on 21 September. The Panel, convened by the Secretary-General and World Bank President, is co-chaired by the presidents of Mauritius and Mexico and was launched at the World Economic Forum in Davos in January 2016. It aims to mobilize effective action to accelerate the implementation of Goal 6 that focuses on water and sanitation for all. IIASA provides scientific support to the HLPW. At the meeting, Kabat discussed the IIASA initative Water Futures and Solutions.    

Kabat's schedule on 21 September included meetings with the Prime Minister of Australia Malcolm Turnbull, Prime Minister of Norway Erna Solberg, Savas Alpay (Chief Economist, Islamic Development Bank), Herve P. Duteil (Managing Director, Corporate Social Responsibility & Sustainable Finance, BNP Paribas), Amina Mohammed (Minister of Environment, Nigeria), John Rutherford Seyedel III (Trustee, Turner Foundation), and Patrick Verkooijen (Special Representative for Climate Change, World Bank).

The series of meetings concluded with a cultural event on 21 September: “Music for a Sustainable Planet” was the second annual concert at Carnegie Hall, presented by the SDSN. The theme of the event was “SDGs: a universal push to transform our world” and presented a musical and performative interpretation of what is at stake and what is possible. Jeffrey Sachs, Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University and IIASA Distinguished Visiting Fellow offered opening remarks. IIASA Associate for Science and Arts Gloria Benedikt closed the event with her piece InAll,  an artistic interpretation of the integration of all dimensions of sustainability. The piece, developed in collaboration with IIASA Young Scientist 2016 Frank Sperling, and choreographer of the Washington Ballet Mimmo Miccolis, is inspired by problems, drivers, and impacts which arise from achieving the SDGs, and asks the question whether we have what it takes to achieve sustainability, covered in the recent Options feature.

Video: Guest Lecture by Professor Dr. Pavel Kabat at SCEPA

Gloria Benedikt will perform her piece InAll as part of SDSN’s “Music for a Sustainable Planet” concert.

Sustainable Development Solutions Network

The SDSN was launched by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and is under the leadership of Jeffrey Sachs, Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, who is a IIASA Distinguished Visiting Fellow and a member of the Alpbach-Laxenburg Group.

Professor Dr. Pavel Kabat is a member of the SDSN Leadership Council, along with a number of global leaders including HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco; Peter Bakker, President of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development; Naoko Ishii, CEO and Chairperson, Global Environment Facility; Paul Polman, CEO, Unilever; Cynthia Rosenzweig, IIASA Alumna and Senior Research Scientist at the NASA Goddard Institute; and Carl-Henric Svanberg, Chairman of both BP and Volvo AB.

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Last edited: 28 September 2016

UNGA High-level Thematic Debate

Presentation: Sustainable Consumption & Production are essential to achieving the SDGs (PDF)

IIASA on YouTube

Towards a Sustainable Future

IIASA on YouTube

Arts, Economics and the Irrational

Options Feature Article

Making the change: Have we got what it takes to achieve sustainability?

International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
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