SDSN Switzerland Launch Conference

"Where Society, Science and Politics create solutions"


15 February 2018

University of Bern

SDSN Switzerland officially launched


Paradigm Shift in politics, business and society

In 2015 UN Member States adopted several landmark agreements: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development with its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, as well as the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on Financing for Development. Entering the third year of implementation of these agreements, all actors – from government to civil society, from science to business – are still struggling to translate the SDGs into a new paradigm of human development. Adding to this, the timeframe for implementing transformative processes geared to sustainability is very short and ends in 2030.

Therefore, important questions arise for Switzerland:

  • How can Switzerland translate the major stimuli provided by Agenda 2030 into a transformative policy for sustainability?

  • How can we design implementation strategies that take into account the interdependencies between individual SDGs?

  • How can we strengthen policy coherence at home and abroad while fostering synergies (co-benefits) and mitigate conflicts of interests (trade-offs) between individual sectoral areas?


The Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) Switzerland provides an environment to discuss these questions in a multi-stakeholder setting, and co-create and implement transformative solutions to achieve the Agenda 2030 and the Paris Agreement on climate change in Switzerland and beyond

About the Conference

The Conference officially launches the SDSN Switzerland. It brings together around 250 representatives and decision-makers from science and research, think tanks, government, civil society, business and international organizations to discuss how to effectively implement the 17 SDGs in and by Switzerland.

The Conference aims at the following:

  • Analyzing the opportunities and challenges for Switzerland around the Agenda 2030

  • Deepening the understanding on transformation processes towards sustainability

  • Connecting representatives across the science-policy-society spectrum to catalyze transdisciplinary collaboration on sustainable development solutions

Inputs and personal stories from renowned researchers and practitioners will stimulate the interactive debates and working sessions, where we will apply participatory methods. The Conference provides an opportunity for in-depth discussions, mutual learning, as well as co-creation and brainstorming on sustainable development solutions.


About the Conference





Registration & Coffee




Nice to meet you!


SDSN: Building bridges and creating solutions

Introducing SDSN Switzerland and SDSN Global


Making Switzerland sustainable

Key-note and panel session about what it takes from us to make Switzerland truly sustainable

Coffee & Tea Break


Stories for a sustainable world

What conditions do we need to create so that we

as scientists, civil society representatives, politicians, government
workers, entrepreneur, artists, activists, spiritual leaders, etc.

can collectively work on meaningful solutions and create possibilities?

Parallel Breakout Sessions

1. Mobilizing sustainable finance for global commons

2. Defining the research agenda for the transformation towards sustainability

3. Achieving sustainable consumer behavior

4. Working on the nexus Climate – Water – Energy – Land

5. Rethinking urban development

6. Adjusting governance systems for sustainable development

7. Exploiting the benefits of digitalization

8. Transitioning to a circular economy

9. Achieving social equity and equal opportunities

Methodology: Collective Story Harvesting

Networking Lunch


From learning to insight to action

Connecting the stories and topics towards a common SDGs narrative for Switzerland

Methodology: World Café

Coffee & Tea Break


Switzerland's opportunities and responsibilities for a sustainable world

Panel discussion to learn from others


SDSN Switzerland: Catalyst for implementing the Agenda 2030

How can SDSN Switzerland be a platform to catalyze cross-sectoral collaboration and drive implementation towards the Agenda 2030?

Conclusions from the breakout sessions




Launch Apéro

The conference will be held in English. Contributions from participants during the breakout sessions are welcome in English, French and German.

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Sibyl Anwander

Dr. Sibyl Anwander has been the Head of the Economics and Innovation Division at the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) since 2015. Before joining FOEN, she was Head of Sustainability and Public Affairs at Coop between 2001 and 2014. For many years, she was a member and later chairwoman of the Business Social Compliance Initiative, which became “Amfori – Trade for purpose” this year. Dr. Anwander gained knowledge and experience in the field of sustainability as a researcher and lecturer at the Institute for Agricultural Economics at ETH Zurich, where she also earned her PhD.

Marc Chesney

Nicola Blum

Dr. Nicola Blum is a senior researcher and lecturer at the Group for Sustainability and Technology at ETH Zurich, and coach at STRIDE, an unschool for entrepreneurial leadership. Furthermore, she is and has been on the board and/or in the management of several grassroot start-ups such as Impact Hub Zurich. Dr. Blum has gained professional experience in Europe, Central America and South East Asia with employers in the non- and for-profit sector.

Océane Dayer

Océane Dayer is Co-Chair of SDSN Switzerland, as well as Founder and Vice-President of Swiss Youth for Climate. She was Youth Representative of Switzerland to the United Nations and holds a
Master in Environmental Sciences from ETH Zurich. Océane Dayer currently works for WWF Switzerland.

Jacques Dubochet

Prof. Dr. Jacques Dubochet was awarded the 2017 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for developing cryo-electron microscopy to determine the structure of the molecular building blocks of life in high-resolution. He is Honorary Professor of biophysics and the former Director of the Laboratory of Ultrastructural Analysis, and of the Centre of Electron Microscopy at the University of Lausanne (UNIL). Before joining UNIL in 1987, he was a Group Leader at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) at Heidelberg. In addition to the Nobel Prize, Prof. Dubochet received the EMBL Lennart Philipson Award in 2015.

Barbara Kux

Barbara Kux is a member of the board of directors of Firmenich, Groupe Engie, Henkel and Pargesa Holding (Adidas, LafargeHolcim, SGS, Total, Umicore). Until 2013, she was a member of the managing board of Siemens and before that a member of the management committee of Philips. Sustainability, supply chain management and emerging markets are at the core of her work. Among other distinctions, the World Economic Forum distinguished her as Global Leader of Tomorrow. As member of the SDSN Leadership Council she contributed to the definition of the SDGs in 2013. Today she is a member of the High Level Panel for the EU Commission on the decarbonisation of Europe.

Klaus Leisinger

Prof. Dr. Klaus M. Leisinger is Professor of Sociology at the  University of Basel and President of the Global Values Alliance. He was Managing Director and Chairman of the Novartis Foundation until 2013. Prof. Leisinger is engaged in corporate responsibility issues and actively promotes a corporate culture of dialogue with all relevant stakeholders. He held numerous advisory positions in organisations such as the UN Global Compact and the World Bank. He is President of the German Network for Business Ethics, a member of the steering committee of the initiative "Ethics in Action" associated with the Pontifical Academy of the Sciences, as well as a member of the SDSN Leadership Council.

Teresa Ribera

Teresa Ribera is the Director of the Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDDRI). Between 2008 and 2011, she was Secretary of State for Climate Change in Spain’s Government, responsible for environment and climate policies as well as the national meteorological agency. Before, she held different technical positions in the ministries of Public Works, Transportation and Environment (1996-2004) and was Director-General for climate (2004-2008). Teresa Ribera is Co-Chair of SDSN Spain and member of the SDSN Leadership Council.

Guido Schmidt-Traub

Dr. Guido Schmidt-Traub is Executive Director of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network and serves on the Governing Council of Future Earth and other advisory bodies. He leads the SDSN’s policy work, including on long-term pathways for sustainable land-use and food systems, financing for development, and the SDG Index and Dashboards. His previous positions include CEO of CDC Climat Asset Management, Climate Change Advisor to the Africa Progress Panel secretariat, and Director and Partner at South Pole Carbon Asset Management.

Urs Wiesmann

Prof. em. Dr. Urs Wiesmann is Co-Chair of SDSN Switzerland and the co-founder and former President of the Centre for
Development and Environment (CDE) at the University of Bern. Together with Prof. Hans Hurni he was Director of the Swiss
National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) North-South. In his research, he focuses on sustainable regional development, natural resources management and global change, particularly in developing and transition countries. He has a special focus on inter- and transdisciplinary methodologies in inter-cultural settings.

Story Givers

Kathy Riklin

Björn Müller

Dr. Björn Müller is co-founder of the dream-tank BEAM as well as STRIDE, the unSchool for Entrepreneurial Leadership. As psychologist and organizational sociologist, he is interested in the phenomenon of collaborative innovation and societal transformation. Björn draws on socio-material and cultural theories in order to inspire novel practices of making change work. 

Prof. Dr. Bruno Oberle is Professor of Green Economy and Resource Governance at EPF Lausanne and Vice-President of the World Resources Forum. He has been active in the area of environmental management and environmental protection in both the private and public sector since the 1980s, including as the Director of the Federal Office for the Environment from 2006-2015. Bruno Oberle is also Academic Director of the International Risk Governance Center (IRGC).

Prof. Dr. Sonia I. Seneviratne leads the land-climate dynamics group at the Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science at ETH Zurich. Having earned a world-wide reputation as an innovative researcher, she is currently a lead author of the IPCC Special
Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C and has been included in Thomson Reuters' list of the most cited modern scientists every year since 2014.

Elisabeth Bürgi Bonanomi

Dr. iur. Elisabeth Bürgi Bonanomi, lawyer and expert in international public law, is a lecturer in sustainability law at the law faculty and a senior research scientist and policy advisor at the Centre for Development and Environment (CDE) of the University of Bern. Her research expertise lies, inter alia, in (international) sustainable development law, theory of policy coherence for sustainable development, sustainable trade regimes, sustainable trade in agriculture, large scale land investments, illicit financial flows and developing countries, and business and human rights/the environment.  She is affiliated with the World Trade Institute, Member of the International Law Association and of the ETO Consortium, as well as Vice President of Bread for All.

Janet Hering

Prof. Dr. Janet Hering has been the Director of the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (Eawag) and Professor at ETH Zurich and EPF Lausanne since 2007. From 1996 to 2006, she was a Professor at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). Her research interests include knowledge exchange at the interface of science with policy and practice, the biogeochemistry of trace elements, and water treatment technologies for the removal of inorganic contaminants from potable water. Prof. Hering is also a member of the Board of Reviewing Editors of Science (magazine).

Before the founding of Forma Futura, Christian Kobler was a partner with Bernet & Partner, a financial services industry consulting firm, for eleven years. His responsibilities included consulting mandates and projects in the areas of information technology, project management, strategy and operations. During this time he brought several complex large-scale projects with banks to successful completion. He previously held various technical and management positions with a focus on banking technology at Logica, ISYS, Cap Gemini and IBM, and was on the Board of an international IT services group that he co-founded for more than ten years.

Christian Kobler

Sonia Seneviratne

Bruno Oberle


Severin von Hünerbein

Severin von Hünerbein is a Euphoric Business Enabler at euforia, where he co-designs, facilitates and implements corporate programmes and empowers euforia volunteers to start impactful projects. During his studies in International Affairs at the University of St.Gallen, he co-founded the oikos Social Entrepreneurship Initiative and is still teaching classes in this domain.

Oswald H. König

Oswald H. König is enabling cross-sectoral collaboration and sustainable innovation as a Co-Catalyst and Steward at collaboratio helvetica. He found his passion for facilitation when working with euforia and has ever since strived to deepen and expand his enthusiasm for facilitation, change and transformation. He gained experience with different companies, inter alia supporting the creation of innovative and collaborative work methods, structures and spaces.

Jelena Mair

Jelena Mair is a peace researcher with a focus on social innovation for inclusive societies. She is currently working on an initiative to foster social inclusion of young refugees and young people from marginalised communities at the NGO Besides, she is a co-director of DEEP Switzerland, a group of peace workers dedicated to support the potential of community encounters.

Erica Mazerolle

Erica leads the Sustainable Living Lab, a platform to catalyse cross-sector collaboration for sustainability innovation in Suisse Romande. Based at Impact Hub Geneva & Lausanne, she is passionate about raising awareness of complex global phenomena and engaging stakeholders to craft locally relevant solutions grounded in ecological thought. She holds an M.A. Development & Sustainability from the Graduate Institute and a B.A. double major in Human Environment (Geography) and in Community, Public Affairs & Policy Studies from Concordia University, Montreal. 

Natalie Neumann

Natalie Neumann is a process-oriented coach and facilitator who lives to transform deep changing processes on a personal as well as the transpersonal level. She is fascinated by systemic phenomena and group dynamics as well as by how the roles of an individual, a group or the world relate to each other. Natalie has been gaining experience as a group facilitator with the focus on the world’s current topics as well as leading workshops and coaching individuals.

Katharina Serafimova

Katharina Serafimova is a social entrepreneur who co-creates projects to re-connect nature, money and community and helps enable the transitions towards a value- and needs-based paradigm. After working in the banking sector, she joined WWF
Switzerland as Head of Finance Sector Engagement. Katharina still teaches at the Institute of Banking and Finance at the University of Zurich.

Daniel Sigrist

Daniel Sigrist is a Next-Level Facilitator and Co-Creator with companies and individuals who want to go forward and develop new ways of working and collaborating. He has worked as a personal and organisational developer for several years, holds a Master in Working and Organisational Psychology from FHNW and is a trained Holacracy Coach.

Kali Taylor

Kali Taylor leads the Geneva 2030 Ecosystem initiative under IISD's SDG Knowledge Program and is an advisor at the SDG Lab in Geneva. Prior to joining IISD, she co-founded and ran Student
Energy, a global NGO that works to engage youth in energy and climate issues. Kali studied systems change, complexity and social innovation in her Master’s and is deeply interested in how multistakeholder collaboration can facilitate wide-scale change.

Nora Wilhelm

Nora Wilhelm is Co-Catalyst of collaboratio helvetica, a platform dedicated to opening spaces for dialogue, experimentation and collaboration to co-create the Switzerland we want to live in. She is passionate about activating the full potential of people and organisations, and was recognised by UNESCO for her work as young leader. During her studies in International Affairs at the University of St.Gallen, Nora took on multiple roles in the European Youth Parliament and presided its Swiss node for two years.



UniS, Schanzeneckstrasse 1, 3012 Bern

[4 minutes by foot from Bern main station, exit "Welle"]

Marc Chesney

Peter Messerli

Prof. Dr. Peter Messerli is the Director of the Centre for Development and Environment (CDE) at the University of Bern. He was selected as co-chair to lead the group of scientific experts for the UN Global Sustainable Development Report. His research interests lie in the sustainable use of land systems in Asia and Africa, against the backdrop of globalization and global change. In addition, he is concerned with theoretical and conceptual questions of sustainable development, inter- and trans-disciplinary research approaches, and evidence-based policies and decision-making processes.

Marc Chesney

Katrin Muff

Dr. Katrin Muff is a thought leader in the transformative space of sustainability and responsibility at Business School Lausanne, where she acted as Dean from 2008-2015 until self-organisation made such a title redundant. Under her leadership, the school focused its vision on entrepreneurship, responsibility andsustainability in education and research. Dr. Muff is one of the heads behind the Gapframe that translates the SDGs intonationally relevant issues for business.

Bertrand Piccard

With his dual identities as psychiatrist and explorer, it is in Bertrand Piccard's DNA to push back the boundaries of the possible and advocate for a pioneering spirit, as he did with his two round the world flights, with Solar Impulse and before that non-stop in a balloon. He more recently launched the World Alliance for Efficient Solutions, and with it the goal of selecting #1000 solutions that protect the environment in a profitable way to bring them to decision makers by COP24 (2018) and encourage them to adopt more ambitious environmental targets and energy policies.

Michèle Amacker

Prof Dr. Michèle Amacker is Assistant Professor of Gender Studies and Co-Director of the Interdisciplinary Centre for Gender Studies (IZFG) at the University of Bern. She is also the Cluster Manager for Gender Politics at the Swiss Centre of Expertise in Human Rights (SCHR) and as such a member of its Board of Directors. Her research interests involve precariousness, poverty, social inequality, discrimination, and the sociology of work.

Nick Beglinger

Nick Beglinger is co-founder and CEO of the Zurich-based Cleantech21 foundation, and initiator of the Hack4Climate innovation program accelerating innovation at the intersection of climate and the three disruptive technologies IoT, DLT/blockchain, and AI. His professional focus area is sustainable development at the crossroads of finance, innovation, and regulation. Nick was the founding president of Switzerland’s first green business association, swisscleantech.

Claudia Binder

Prof. Dr. Claudia R. Binder is the Director of the Laboratory for Human-Environment Relations in Urban Systems (HERUS) at EPF Lausanne, and holds the Swiss Mobiliar Chair in Urban Ecology and Sustainable Living. Before joining EPFL, she was Professor of Human Environmental Relations at the Ludwig-Maximilian
University in Munich. Her research interests lie in analysing, modelling and assessing transitions towards sustainability.

Katja Breitenmoser

Katja Breitenmoser is Art of Hosting Practitioner as well as Co-Founder of e7° Beratung | Bildung | Reisen and as such a group facilitator, leadership trainer and shaper of participative processes. She co-initiated a CHANGE-MAKER training course, which was awarded an IKB sustainability prize in 2014. Besides, Katja is Director of the regional development association Appenzellerland über dem Bodensee.

Florian Egli

Florian Egli is Vice President of foraus – Swiss Forum on Foreign Policy and a Co-Founder of WEF Global Shapers in Bern. As a PhD student at ETH Zurich, he is investigating investment decisions into new technologies and renewable energy. He gained practical
experience in this field working for a global think tank, Swiss and Senegalese government agencies and a Silicon Valley start-up during his Mercator fellowship.

Stefanie Gfeller

Stefanie Gfeller is a change-maker who lives for Purpose – People – Planet. She has gained ample experience as organisational
developer at Swisscom as well as programme manager, coach and facilitator at euforia. In addition, she founded Potenzialagentur, where she works with organisations, teams and individuals to co-create solutions in a complex world.


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