2019 Global Solutions Forum
The 2019 inaugural Global Solutions Forum (GSF) convened 10 inspiring SDG actors from the SDSN network for rapid-fire presentations where they shared progress, highlighted victories, and inspired all of us to keep moving forward. It was a groundbreaking event where leaders in science, technology, and public policy convene to exchange insights, celebrate advancements, and encourage ongoing commitment to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Over the course of 90 minutes, presenters shared 7-minute rapid-fire talks highlighting concrete efforts to achieve sustainable development. More like TED talks than doctoral dissertations, each presentation packed challenges and discoveries into 420 seconds of stories, images, and insights.
The event was held in New York City on September 25th, 2019, in parallel to the International Conference for Sustainable Development and the 74th session of the UN General Assembly. The first Global Solutions Forum was an exciting opportunity to highlight these successes, so that governments, foundations, and the private sector might adapt them for use in their own communities.
Progress surrounding the SDGs can often be slow and incremental. But this event demonstrated that all over the planet, brilliant people had implemented local initiatives and scalable solutions that held more than just the promise of measurable impact.
Watch the Event
Solutions from the 2019 Global Solutions Forum
Alternatives to EV: Biofuels in Barbados
Network: SDSN Caribbean
Barbados is committed to removing fossil fuels from vehicles on the island. The cost of converting roughly 100,000 petrol engines to electric vehicles is prohibitive, but bio-ethanol conversion has been proven over three decades in the primarily tropical environment of Brazil. To bring that success to Barbados, we aim to produce biofuel using and sugarcane waste — a by-product of rum production. The University of the West Indies will oversee the pilot project and evaluate the results while engaging dozens of the school’s students in the process. In the end, we hope to determine how much biofuel can be reasonably produced and sold at refueling stations throughout the country.
Since GSF2019 Dr. Legena Henry and her team have been very busy. In October 2019 they received a grant from Blue Chip Foundation to initiate twenty-two (22) months of research, starting in December 2019, to advance the initiative. You can learn more about the solution and the progress they’re making by visiting this summary.
Learn more on the project website.
Beyond Waste: Circular Resources Lab
Network: SDSN Switzerland
Switzerland uses roughly three times the natural resources available in the country itself, creating unsustainable levels of production and consumption. We set out to find solutions to create a more “circular” economy by turning small personal transformations into meaningful changes across society. Over the course of 4 months, the Circular Resources Lab brought together stakeholders in the Lausanne area, following the social laboratory methodology. Our project supports a move away from the typical focus on competition to a focus on compassion and understanding to advance the SDGs.
Data Platform & SDG Monitoring Tool for 6 Geopolitical Zones of Nigeria
Network: SDSN Nigeria
To advance the SDGs throughout hundreds of local communities, leaders need to understand what their citizens value the most, then identify opportunities for the biggest impacts. In Nigeria, development plans have suffered from data gaps and a disconnect between research and government plans, activities, and policies. Our project aims to change this by targeting Nigeria’s six geopolitical zones to determine specific priorities for each zone, to leverage each region’s unique ecological, socio-cultural, and economic fabric and improve the odds of success. Once we’ve identified which SDGs provide the most logical focus for each region, our tool can be used to monitor the impacts over time.
Gastronomy with Conservation Flavor
Network: SDSN Amazonia
The main cause of deforestation in the Andean Amazon is cattle raising and the prevalence of non-native crops such as coffee, palm, and rice, which is bringing an end to the region’s tradition of sustainably grown forest products. Our project works with local communities to sustainably harvest non-timber forest products (such as cacao and coconut), process the products, and sell these fair-trade products directly to chefs in Peru’s top restaurants. By connecting small producers directly to the market, our project avoids the intermediary, raising producers’ profits. We believe our efforts will go a long way toward ending poverty and hunger, and reducing the population’s vulnerability to climate-related events.
- Livorno, porto del futuro: logistica, efficienza e sostenibilità con tecnologie 5G
- Port of the Future - Addressing Efficiency and Sustainability at the Port of Livorno with 5G
- Italy brings to New York the project “Logistics of the future in Sustainable Smart Ports”
- The sustainable management of port activities is possible thanks to IoT and 5G
- La gestione sostenibile delle attività portuali è possibile grazie a IoT e 5G
- Logistics of the future in Sustainable Smart Ports supports sustainable development
- Ericsson Italian 5G smart port findings presented at UN Global Goals Week
- What’s a smart port and what do they mean for the environment?
- How 5G drives sustainability and business – lessons in smart ports from Ericsson and TIM
Logistics of the future in Sustainable Smart Ports
Network: SDSN Italy
The port and municipality of Livorno, Tuscany, is facing growing challenges due to a steady increase in the flow of goods and people. To address that, the city’s port authority hoped to identify a comprehensive “smart index” that would define focus areas and critical targets to improve its sustainability. Our pilot project, dubbed “Corealis”, highlights the potential synergies between “smart port” operations — empowered by 5G technologies — and the Sustainable Development Goals. In the end, this “SDG-SP” model will include a specific set of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) in relation to social, economic, and environmental sustainability, to make ports throughout Italy more sustainable.
- What does it mean to work on a social innovation platform
- Since GSF2019, itdUPM has been working on the development of Platform cities. You can learn more here: Platform for the Sustainable Transformation of Cities
- Also for the innovative work that itdUPM has with the City Hall during 2018 and 2019, they have been selected for the EIT Climate KIC Deep Demonstrations program. The mission of this program is to contribute to the decarbonization of the city of Madrid by 2030. Learn more about Transformation in time EIT Climate - KIC.
Madrid Sustainable Innovation Platform
Network: SDSN Spain
If universities hope to design and implement sustainable solutions for use in cities, their faculty need to interact with diverse stakeholders inside and outside the academic community. That work naturally requires the ability to consider diverse mindsets, languages, cultures and interests. Platform-A is an experimental and interdisciplinary project that has been addressing these challenges in Madrid, focusing on the city council’s public policy on climate change. The platform is prototyping and piloting public policies and services that address urban issues, engaging citizens and using university campuses as a living lab for innovative, sustainable solutions.
SDG Impact Assessment Tool
Network: SDSN Northern Europe
Implementing the SDGs isn’t easy: The work entails almost every aspect of modern-day society. And in many ways, we’re hitting moving targets, as our understanding of the planet’s ecological systems continues to grow. Because of that, every assessment of SDG impacts varies with the knowledge and ambition of the person with the measuring stick. That’s why we created the SDG Impact Assessment Tool—an online resource designed to help teachers, researchers, companies, and government agencies visualize the ways that their work affects the SDGs. Our goal is to help users understand the complexities of sustainable development so they can focus their efforts on making a difference.
Learn more on the project website.
SDG Territorial Information System
Network: SDSN Sahel
To achieve the promise of the SDGs, we must involve local communities and we must ensure that national and local planning are integrated. But long lag times and lack of local data undermine decision makers’ ability to design proper policies and interventions. Our project will create a territorial information system with a database that can be used by practitioners and policymakers. With this data, members of SDSN Sahel can collaborate to develop tools and systems focusing their efforts in Senegal, using Diourbel as a pilot region with the focal point. By collecting this real-time data, including for remote regions, we will help decision makers design rapid and effective interventions so they can quickly adapt to changing conditions.
Sulitest: Pedagogical Interface
Network: SDSN France
If we hope to address the social, economic, and environmental challenges our planet is facing, our decision-makers need to improve their “sustainable literacy.” The Sulitest initiative was created to help universities, companies, and other organizations around the world ensure that their graduates, employees, stakeholders, and managers demonstrate core knowledge about the critical global challenges we face today. A set of free online tools designed to build knowledge around the SDGs, and the project engages academics and students in crowd-sourcing information to improve their understanding of the 17 SDGs, as measured by an online test administered at the end of the program. As a result of our efforts, we hope hundreds of thousands of citizens will take the first step toward a more sustainable future, by making informed and effective decisions every day.
The Sunway Model: Partnerships for Sustainable Development
Network: SDSN Malaysia
In a developing country like Malaysia, the modern-day challenges of urban development require innovative, practical solutions to create a sustainable future. Fortunately, one project has already achieved significant victories: Sunway City. Developed by Sunway Corporation in partnership with the local authorities and community members, Sunway City is a mixeduse model that incorporates vibrant residential, business, and leisure spaces all within walking distance of high-quality public transport. By sharing lessons learned from the development of Sunway and showing the impact of strong public-private partnerships, our initiative aims to spread the project’s socio-economic benefits to dozens of other communities.