The inaugural World Economic Forum Sustainable Development Impact Summit will take place in New York on 18-19 September 2017, with the aim of scaling up solutions and accelerating the deployment of technological innovations in support of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Paris climate agreement.
The two-day Summit will bring over 500 leaders from government, business and civil society together with those from social entrepreneurship and high-growth technology businesses, as well as leaders representing younger generations. The 30+ programme sessions will focus on three priorities: Increasing the impact of current multistakeholder initiatives, Catalysing new partnerships and alliances, and Exploring how the advanced technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution could be better leveraged for sustainable development.
The backdrop to the Sustainable Development Impact Summit is a belief that, despite strong initial support for the SDGs and Paris Agreement from governments and businesses, considerably more can be done by leveraging the power of public-private collaboration, especially by deploying the emerging technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
“The Sustainable Development Goals and Paris Climate Change Agreement represent a big step forward for international cooperation. Their success depends on the resources of the public and private sectors being deployed on a scale never before seen in history. The technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution have yet to be effectively harnessed for sustainable development or the protection of our planet and its resources. Collectively they possess the potential to deliver a new global transformation process built around inclusivity and humanity,” said Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum.
To provide a framework for the outcome-oriented Summit, programme sessions will be built around the Forum’s 14 System Initiatives. Each System Initiative addresses a specific challenge that the Forum has identified as having the potential for breakthrough transformation through public-private cooperation. With each System Initiative serving as a platform for collaborative action on the part of government, business, international organizations, civil society and other actors, the Forum System Initiatives are highly supportive of the SDGs and the Paris Agreement. (Mapping of Forum System Initiatives vs SDGs)
Leaders participating in the Summit represent nations, organizations and businesses at the forefront of public-private cooperation. They include top-level representatives of United Nations, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the World Food Programme (WFP), the World Bank, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Inter-American Development Bank. The countries of Bhutan, Denmark, Iceland, Mauritius, Norway, Slovenia and Sweden are also represented. Businesses sending top-level participants include Bharti Enterprises, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Deloitte, Ericsson, Mozilla, Royal DSM, Royal Phillips, Salesforce and Unilever.
Representatives from civil society include the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, Climate Group, NetHope, Oxfam International, PATH, Save the Children and United Way Worldwide, as well as labour leaders from UNI Global Union and the International Trade Union Confederation. Given their crucial role in promoting the Sustainable Development agenda, spiritual leaders and faith-based organizations are also participating in the Summit. They include the Baha'i International Community, the Forum for Peace in Islamic Societies, GreenFaith and World Council of Churches.
Leaders from the Forum communities of Global Shapers, the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, Young Global Leaders and Technology Pioneers will participate with the aim of identifying how public-private cooperation and innovation could have a larger systemic impact in the areas in which they work.