Key Organizations Highlight Emerging Sustainability Trends in 2017

(3BL Media/Justmeans) – In 2016, the world witnessed some important global shifts including an increasing role of public-private partnerships in the fight against climate change. Several large companies are now testing corporate strategic alignment with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and adapting plans to address social and corporate governance challenges.

In 2017, the World Economic Forum (WEF), the World Resources Institute (WRI), the Council on Foreign Relations and the SDG Knowledge Hub have identified some of the emerging trends and risks to watch out for. The WEF’s ‘2017 Global Risks Report’ defines four key areas for global risks in 2017: environmental, socio-economic, technological, and cooperative.

The report describes climate change as one of the truly existential risks to our world and states that the threat of climate change is among the highest, both in terms of impact and likelihood. On socio-economic threats, the report highlights continued challenges related to rising income inequality, polarization of society along ethnic, religious and cultural lines, and strained social protection systems.

The WRI identifies major environment and development stories to watch in 2017. On global energy markets, WRI predicts that clean and renewable energy will continue to increase. On the role of businesses and investors, WRI says that private sector is driving the agenda and identifies companies’ setting of science-based targets, including on land and water use, and the Business Commission on Sustainable Development’s report as key benchmarks to watch.

Stewart Patrick of the Council on Foreign Relations highlights the upcoming Ocean Conference in 2017, which aims to encourage conservation and sustainable use of the oceans, seas and marine resources. On the 23rd session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 23) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Patrick reflects on whether the US will remain committed to the global climate change agenda and welcomes the conference’s organization by Fiji, a small island developing State (SIDS).

The editors of the SDG Knowledge Hub highlight several key themes to watch for in 2017, including: SDG-related integration; national monitoring and reporting, including lessons on SDG implementation from the second round of Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs); the contribution of indicators to tracking the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’s implementation; and the development of partnerships and finance.

Source: IISD

Image Credit: UN