07 July 2020

High-level Political Forum & High-level Segment of ECOSOC 2020

Innovations for Sustainability: Pathways to an Efficient and Sufficient Post-pandemic Future. TWI2050 launches its third report at the HLPF 2020.

The High-level Political Forum in July 2020 under the auspices of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) follows the theme "Accelerated action and transformative pathways: realizing the decade of action and delivery for sustainable development "

The COVID-19 pandemic has thrust the world into turmoil, disrupting the status quo to an extent that has seldom been experienced before. The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the Vienna Energy Forum, and The World in 2050 (TWI2050) initiative by the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) are organizing a High-level Political Forum 2020 Side Event on Innovation for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and a Sustainable Recovery. 

Innovation has been the foundation of human and societal development since the dawn of civilization. While it has resulted in enormous benefits for human wellbeing, the unconstrained development of innovation has placed societies and ecosystems at risk. Technology’s disassociation with societal, institutional and cultural-related innovation has, to this day, affected its efficiency in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. 

While the current COVID-19 pandemic threatens the achievement of the SDGs, it also disrupts the global status quo and, thus, provides an opportunity to create sustainable societies for all and mitigate environmental impact at all scales. When properly directed, economic stimulus packages have the potential to ignite and leverage innovation in technology, behaviors, and institutions to guide humanity towards sustainability.

During this session, IIASA will launch its third TWI2050 report Innovation for Sustainability: Pathways to an efficient and efficient post-pandemic future”. The report focuses on accelerating the deployment and diffusion of innovations to achieve a transformation towards the SDGs, providing a broad framing for the event, followed by a sector example.

UNIDO has a long track-record of supporting sustainable innovation and will present its action-oriented expertise across regions. The Vienna Energy Forum —co-organized by UNIDO, IIASA and the Austrian Government—has gathered thinkers and practitioners from all over the world to discuss practical solutions to sustainable development challenges. In this respect, the VEF has been instrumental in the formulation of the energy-related targets embedded in SDG7 (affordable and clean energy), and will continue to serve as a platform to meet salient energy challenges moving forward.

During this HLPF side event, scientists, policymakers and UN experts will engage in a discussion with the audience on how to innovatively rebuild from the COVID-19 induced crisis.

Date & Time: 7 July, 8:00-9:00 EST/ 14:00-15:00 CET

Registration is required to attend this virtual event. Please register here. You will then receive the meeting link and password.

Opening remarks (5min):

Johan Rockstroem, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, TWI2050 author

Presentations (7min each):

  • Launch of TWI2050 report “Innovations for Sustainability”, Nebojsa Nakicenovic, IIASA, TWI2050 author
  • Innovations in the Health Sector, Kristie Ebi, University of Washington, TWI2050 author 
  • Accelerating Recovery through Sustainable Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurship Support, Tareq Emtairah, UNIDO
  • Achieving the SDGs, Jeff Sachs, SDSN, TWI2050 author

Discussion with the audience

Organizers and co-organizers:

High-Level Segment of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) 2020 session

During the 2020 session of ECOSOC on "Empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality", Nebojsa Nakicenovic has been invited as a panelist in the session on “Where are we heading: Visions and scenarios for the future of the SDGs following the COVID-19 crisis”.

He will give a presentation on “Where are we heading: Visions and scenarios for the future of the SDGs following the COVID-19 crisis” with a focus on “future-oriented trends, projections and scenarios around the theme for the ECOSOC 2020”.

Date & Time: 17 July, 10:30-11:30 am EST 

Participation is by invitation only.

The theme for the ECOSOC 2020 will be “Accelerated action and transformative pathways: realizing the decade of action and delivery for sustainable development”. The High-level segment of ECOSOC represents the apex of the work of the ECOSOC cycle and will focus on the contribution to the 75th anniversary of the United Nations and on future scenarios for the achievement of sustainable development. In light of the situation created by COVID-19, the High-level Segment will be critical to examine the impact of the pandemic on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and discuss concrete measures to build back better and get back on track for advancing the 2030 Agenda and achieving the SDGs by 2030.

Side event on Technology as a global public good and service for the UN Sustainable Development Goals

The Journal of Science Policy and Governance (JSPG) and the United Nations Major Group for Children and Youth (UNMGCY) are organizing this event. Nebojsa Nakicenovic will join as a panelist and present the findings of TWI2050 report 2020.

Date & Time: 16 July, 9:00-10:30 am EST 

Registration details forthcoming.

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Last edited: 03 July 2020


Nebojsa Nakicenovic

Emeritus Research Scholar

Transitions To New Technologies

T +43(0) 2236 807 411

TWI2050 initiative

TWI2050 Report 2020

Innovations for Sustainability: Pathways to an efficient and sufficient post-pandemic future

HLPF 2020


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United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) (2020). Pathways to Sustainable Energy – Accelerating Energy Transition in the UNECE Region. Geneva, Switzerland: United Nations. ISBN 978-92-1-117228-7

Komendantova N , Maraschdeh L, Al Salaymeh A, Bohm S, Ekenberg L , Krüger C, Zejli D, Mtimet N, et al. (2019). Energy Policy at Crossroad: potentials for sustainable energy transition in the Middle East and North African region. IIASA Working Paper. Laxenburg, Austria: WP-19-004

International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
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