SDG Lab Dispatch: Special SDG Summit Edition

As the adage goes, “It’s that time of the year…”, and for individuals and organizations working in the sustainable development and multilateral spaces, September means the UN High-Level Week, commonly known as UNGA. This year’s high-level week is exceptional for its focus on the Sustainable Development Goals, with two key kick-starter events: SDG Action Weekend (16-17) followed by a two-day SDG Summit (18-19).
SDG Lab Dispatch: Special SDG Summit Edition

UN Secretary-General António Guterres has urged all actors to ensure that “…September must be a moment of unity to provide a renewed impetus and accelerated actions for reaching the SDGs”. Importantly, this year's UNGA will feature a dedicated session focused on preparing for the 2024 Summit of the Future, a once-in-a-generation event designed to enhance global cooperation for long-term sustainability. (To follow this year’s UNGA sessions, including the SDG Summit and other key sessions, visit UN Web TV for live coverage or to watch on demand.)

In addition to the main UNGA events in New York, we are pleased to highlight related gatherings in Geneva. Organized by the SDG Lab and our partners, these parallel events aim to provide the Geneva ecosystem and beyond a platform to engage with the SDG Summit and share its own efforts to amplify and contribute to this unique moment.

On The Horizon

(Webinar) What to expect from the SDG Summit? | 14 September | 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. CET

Ahead of the SDG Summit, the SDG Lab, IISD and CEPEI will host an intergenerational dialogue featuring the Global Youth Coordinator at the Coalition for the UN We Need (C4UN) and representatives of the Permanent Missions of Ireland and Qatar, respectively, who were co-facilitators of the Political Declaration for the SDG Summit. During this dialogue, we will discuss expectations of the Summit, explore why it is crucial for our current moment, and identify lessons pivotal for turbocharging the 2030 Agenda in the remaining seven years. The webinar will be held from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. CET on Zoom. Register

SDG Lab @SDG Action Weekend | 16 September

As part of the SDG Action Weekend, we are hosting an in-person workshop focused on rethinking our current socio-economic systems to reflect what younger generations truly value, while anticipating the impacts current policies and activities will have on future generations. Manifesting new sustainability values: from aspirational envisioning to practical policymaking will also delve into how to make the translation of such values into tangible policies. Although this event will be held in-person at UN Headquarters with no livestream, the SDG Lab team attending will provide a summary of key takeaways and perspectives shared in a post-event summary on sdglab.ch. Stay tuned!  

If you are in New York for the SDG Action Weekend, please join us from 12:15-1:45 in Conference Room 7. But do check the programme for last-minute changes.

Geneva SDG Day | 28 September

Post the SDG Summit, the Geneva Graduate Institute, SDG Lab, and UNDP Geneva Office will host an in-person SDG Day with International Geneva stakeholders. The day will feature a morning briefing on the main takeaways from the SDG Summit (by invitation only), followed at noon with master’s students from the Graduate Institute showcasing their Applied Research Projects with SDG-focused components.  

The Geneva SDG Day will also feature a virtual discussion providing a brief snapshot of highlights stemming from the 2023 SDG Summit and their linkages to next year’s Summit of the Future. Register  

The SDG Day will close with an intergenerational conversation between youth leaders and senior representatives from the Geneva ecosystem on keeping commitments alive for a sustainable future. Visit the Graduate Institute’s website for a full overview of the event and to register.

Save the date—“So What’s Next” series | 31 October

Mark your calendars for end October to join us at our next high-level dialogue series event focused on rethinking our economic system, both from a policy and practitioner perspective, including by questioning how we better measure what we value, such as by going beyond GDP. This discussion will feature as part of the Lab’s “So What’s Next” series, with the aim to bring together diverse perspectives from actors across the UN, civil society, academia, and private sector, among others. More details, including exact time and venue, will soon be published on our Events page.

Thought leadership roundup
Our Common Agenda: SDG Lab commentaries on policy briefs

We have partnered with IISD SDG Knowledge Hub to publish commentaries to help unpack the UN Secretary-General’s series of Our Common Agenda Policy Briefs. They examine the key contents of the briefs and share perspectives on how these topics serve to inform the larger intergovernmental processes on sustainable development, including the SDG Summit in September and the 2024 Summit of the Future. Briefs published to date include:

In Conversation With...

Michele Griffin of Our Common Agenda policy team

The Lab sat down with Michele Griffin of the Secretary-General’s Our Common Agenda (OCA) policy team to hear first-hand what the OCA represents, its origins, and why this agenda is so important and groundbreaking in efforts towards achieving the 2030 Agenda and promoting long-term sustainability. The interview shed light on key multilateral processes on the horizon, including the SDG Summit later this month and the Summit of the Future in September 2024. Ms. Griffin spoke to how these two multilateral moments are interrelated, how to engage, and what can be anticipated as key outcomes. Watch.

Lisa Kurbiel of the Joint SDG Fund on the future of SDG financing

During a recent visit to Geneva, Lisa Kurbiel, Head of Joint SDG Fund, the UN’s flagship global fund, was interviewed by the Lab on the Fund’s activities and more broadly on what’s next for the future of financing the SDGs. The Lab spearheaded this interview as part of its convening role, which aims to bring together key actors to share insights on advancing the SDGs and explore emerging and future trends and topics related to long-term sustainability. Read more

PS: We are exploring turning “In Conversation With...” into a series, to feature thought leaders, policymakers and other experts on current and emerging topics related to the SDGs and long-term sustainability. Stay tuned!

Affective Sciences: A Missing Link to Delivering the 2030 Agenda - SDG Lab commentary in Emotion Review

This commentary in the peer-reviewed journal Emotion Review provides the SDG Lab’s perspective on how better understanding emotions could serve as a missing link to greater progress towards the 17 SDGs and long-term sustainability. For the SDG Lab team, the commentary sparks a broader exploration into an important yet often overlooked topic when sustainable development policies are designed and implemented. Expect more from us on this exciting area of research and discourse.  

Partnerships For the Goals
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