We must exploit the huge potential for sustainable solutions now

How can we in Switzerland set off to a sustainable future? Some 250 decision makers met at the SDSN Switzerland Launch Conference to pave the way for co-creating practical solutions.

At its launch on 15 February 2018, the co-chairs of SDSN Switzerland, Océane Dayer from Swiss Youth for
Climate and Urs Wiesmann, Emeritus Professor of the University of Bern stressed the following: ”Agenda
2030 undoubtedly represents a major challenge. However, it also offers numerous opportunities and
incentives for business, research centres, politicians and civil society to come up with innovative solutions
that trigger genuinely sustainable development”. We should be exploiting these opportunities now. One
of the examples cited by Dayer was the legislation on the reduction in CO2. “When it is renegotiated, the
focus should be on the benefits that will result for all sectors”. Bertrand Piccard illustrated this with a
reference to his flight around the world without using a single drop of fuel: “In principle, the technical
solutions already exist. But they are not sufficiently implemented." In his keynote speech, Swiss Nobel Prize Laureate in Chemistry Jacques Dubochet stressed the need for scientists to "come out of their ivory towers and tackle the challenges of our times". He followed up his words with action: Prof. Dubochet actively participated in the transdisciplinary breakout sessions.

Learning from stories

In order to develop innovative solutions for the Agenda 2030, new forms of collaboration are required. SDSN Switzerland therefore joined forces with Collaboratio Helvetica - pioneers in unleashing the potential of collaboration among people and organisations - and designed breakout sessions that are novel for such a conference. With the objective to activate the exchange and build trust among the actors from the various sectors and communities, the morning breakout sessions kicked off with personal stories from eminent experts. From there, randomly mixed groups drew learnings and insights. The sessions covered themes such as sustainable finance, urban development and social equity, among others. In world cafés after lunch, participants then weaved together the insights to concrete action points and personal commitments.

Switzerland is facing challenges

In concusion of the conference, Urs Wiesmann also pointed out that Switzerland has a global responsibility: “In view of our own consumption and the associated use of resources abroad, SDSN Switzerland is calling for much greater coordination between domestic and foreign policy. This is why SDSN Switzerland will launch, among other activities, a project on sustainable consumption and production.

Photo Gallery

Conference Report by IISD

SDSN Switzerland Launch Conference page