Governance for Sustainability session opens

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Jun 24, 2013
by Louise Hallman
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Governance for Sustainability session opens

"Take the risk to think afresh"

Welcoming the 51 Fellows from 26 countries to Schloss Leopoldskron for the session ‘A Climate for Change: New Thinking on Governance for Sustainability’, Salzburg Global Chief Program Officer, Clare Shine urged them: “Take the risk to think afresh.”

As the 21st century advances, the world faces worsening challenges to economic prosperity, human wellbeing, and environmental integrity – directly impacting life chances for upcoming generations.

Repeated efforts have been made to address these problems, from initiatives like the Millennium Development Goals and the subsequent Post-2015 Agenda to huge international conferences like those held in Stockholm, Rio, Copenhagen, and the latest Rio+20.

But progress isn’t happening at the speed the world needs. Why? What are the blockages? Where are the gaps in governance? Who is leading the way? How can others harness and adapt these exemplary efforts? Fresh thinking is clearly needed.

To answer these questions, and address the struggle to secure fast, fair and inclusive progress towards a more sustainable future, Salzburg Global is launching a multi-year initiative, starting with this week’s session.

Working with the World Economic Forum's Global Agenda Council on Governance for Sustainability – its head, Jim Bacchus is chairing the session – Salzburg Global has brought together Fellows from across the world, working in all levels of government, as well as NGOs, businesses and academia.

This is a pivotal moment in the global policy and business landscape. The complex Post-2015 Agenda adopted at Rio+20 aims to combine social justice with new economic approaches to place countries on a more environmentally sound and equitable development trajectory.

Existing governance arrangements – the way decisions are made, resources are allocated and actions accounted for – are clearly not equipped to deliver the long-term decision-making and active public engagement needed to bring this transformation about.

Over the next three days, the Fellows will hear from renowned experts on adapting policies and institutions to meet the systemic challenges of the modern world; possibilities of how to achieve a low carbon economy; climate change abatement policies; how to get beyond short-term thinking; the constraints of austerity measures on sustainable development; public participation and engagement; overcoming blockages in the multilateral process; the role of money markets in achieving sustainability; the alignment of science, risk management and decision-making; rule of law vis-à-vis sustainable governance; how to embed sustainable thinking into education, especially business schools; and, of course, what the impact of achieving a sustainable future will have on both the present and future generations.

Symbolically rolling his sleeves up during the first introductions, session chair Jim Bacchus, urged the Fellows to come together, voice their opinions and find common ground. “Don’t assume we already have all the answers,” he said.