"Deep Decarbonization Pathways” Project / Sustainability / United Nations Agencies | Programs | Projects

UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network

Notable Organizations

In Brief

2012, monthly SDSN Newsletter; MOOCs

Why it is Notable

(2012, New York).  Hosted by the Columbia University Earth Institute, SDSN fosters national and regional SDSNs, solution initiatives, the Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project (with IDDRI in Paris) proposing practical national pathways to 2050, a free online MOOC taught by Jeffrey Sachs on “The Age of Sustainable Development,” and the “SDG Index and Dashboards: A Global Report” of country indicators (with Bertelsmann Stiftung; July 2016, 427p & 56p brief version; www.sdgindex.org).


(2012, New York; www.unsdsn.org).

Seeks to mobilize scientific and technical expertise from academia, civil society, and the private sector in support of sustainable development problem solving at local, national, and global scales. The SDSN Secretariat is hosted by Columbia University, with staff in Paris, New York, and New Delhi. Elements: 1) The Leadership Council acts as the board of the SDSN; 2) a smaller Executive Committee oversees financial, programmatic, and other operational matters; 3) 12 Thematic Groups involve experts from around the world to lead SDSN technical work and highlight priority actions. SDSN is building a network of universities, research centers, and other knowledge institutions. Members are organized around National or Regional SDSNs to promote Solutions Initiatives, develop educational materials, and contribute to setting the post-2015 agenda (of Sustainable Development Goals) for their region. Solution Initiatives “promote new technologies, business models, institutional mechanisms, policies, and combinations thereof that can dramatically accelerate progress towards sustainable development.” One of the parts of the process is to develop a new set of “post-2015” goals when the Millennium Development Goals expire in 2015. Publishes a monthly SDSN Newsletter. Chairs of the Leadership Council: Laurence Tubiana, Lan Xue.

The Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project (DDPP) is a SDSN initiative with the Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDDRI) in Paris, seeking to propose practical national pathways to 2050 consistent with keeping global warming under 2oC. The Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals will “address the challenges of economic development, social inclusion, environmental sustainability, and good governance.” They will build on the success of the UN’s Millennium Development Goals “and finish the job of ending extreme poverty in all its forms.” DDPP has already released a 195-page Interim 2014 Report in July 2014, with a final report to be published in September 2014.

The SDSN education initiative is initially centered on “The Age of Sustainable Development,” a free online course (MOOC) taught by Jeffrey Sachs, head of the Earth Institute at Columbia University. A book of the same title has been published by Columbia University Press (March 2015, 543p, $34.95pb). The 14 lectures/chapters cover sustainable development, economic development, the Millennium Development Goals, ending extreme poverty, growth within planetary boundaries, human rights and gender equality, education, health, food, cities, climate change, biodiversity, and the new Sustainable Development Goals.

SDG Index and Dashboards: A Global Report by Jeffrey Sachs et al. (Bertlesmann Stiftung & SDSN, July, 2016, 427p & 56p compact edition) measures SDG starting points at the country and regional level, to help identify priorities for action so as to achieve goals by 2030.  Sweden is ranked #1, Germany #6, Canada #13, USA #25, Brazil #52, China #76, India #110, and Nigeria #141 (www.sdgindex.org).

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