At the end of January, Cape Town, South Africa played host to the 6th World Sustainability Forum. The journal Sustainability sponsored this international scientific conference. The Molecular Diversity Preservation International (MDPI) organizes the annual World Sustainability Forum. The forum includes the presentation of research in many areas relating to sustainability and sustainable development.

Sustainable Development Goals

The 17 U.N. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), adopted in September 2015 as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, motivated discussions at the 2017 conference. The sustainability agenda outlined by the U.N. has the main aim that “countries will mobilize efforts to end all forms of poverty, fight inequalities and tackle climate change while ensuring that no one is left behind.” Madame Graca Machel, a member of the SDGs Advocacy Group of the United Nations, was one of the keynote speakers at the conference.

Key Messages

The themes of this year’s forum were environmental management and social and economic development. There were key national and international speakers in attendance, including world-renowned professor of economics Jeffrey Sachs, who is also director of the Center for Sustainable Development and the U.N. Sustainable Development Solutions Network. Sachs’ messages in his presentation included:

  • Africa needs to significantly increase its investment rates, which would increase its overall growth rate and decrease poverty.
  • The time to end poverty in Africa started in 2015 has to continue through 2030. Doing so will allow it to “become one of the most dynamic centers of the world economy.”
  • Investments in technology are essential steps in overcoming poverty.

Sachs went on to say that “achieving the SDGs is the moonshot for our generation […] when 193 governments agree on something […] that is really something for us to grab hold of. That is a lifeline.” Plans are already underway for next year’s conference, which will be held in Beijing.

Kristin Westad

Photo: Flickr