A network of universities, research centres and technical institutions to provide practical sustainable development solutions has been launched by the UN. The Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), launched last month (9 August), will work with governments, UN agencies, the private sector and civil society organisations to identify and demonstrate new approaches to sustainable development. Poverty alleviation, social inclusion and environmental sustainability – three of the major sustainable development goals laid out in the Rio+20 outcome document, ‚The Future We Want‘ – will be the network’s main targets.
The network will generate ideas and review documents for governments and institutions, mobilise funds, and provide a platform to showcase projects in a pre-commercial stage such as carbon capture and agroecology technologies. SDSN also aims to serve as an open-access information store, although the specific member commitments for this are still under discussion.
SDSN’s director, Jeffrey Sachs, who is also the UN secretary-general’s special advisor for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), said that in particular, the network will have close ties with the high level panel formed recently to set a new development agenda beyond 2015 – the official ‚end‘ of the MDGs. It will also link with other bodies, including the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) international scientific advisory board, which grew out of Rio+20.