DIE: Six transformations to create the world we want

The World in 2050 (TWI2050) initiative has launched a new report, setting out six key transformations that will enable the world to meet the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

As it stands, the world is not on track to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda. Some three billion people do not have access to modern cooking and sanitation. A billion people go to bed hungry and do not have access to electricity. Those left behind are the most vulnerable to the negative consequences of the industrial revolution that range from climate change to biodiversity loss. A transformation towards a more sustainable future that leaves no one behind needs immediate and ambitious action.

Science shows: There is hope

The new report by the „The World in 2050“ (TWI2050) initiative, which has been launched today, shows that the transformation towards a sustainable future is nevertheless possible with strong political commitment. The report explores transformations and potential pathways that take a comprehensive approach to realizing the global goals. It emphasizes that when synergies and multiple benefits are created, the SDGs are achievable by 2030. „We know a lot about interactions between the sustainability goals, trade-offs and co-benefits. However, how to govern the deep processes of a transformation towards sustainability in very different countries is still a huge challenge. The report therefore focuses on transformative governance patterns, concrete political, social, and institutional policies and reforms to implement the 2030 Agenda,“ says Dirk Messner, director of the German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE) and founding member of the initiative.

How to get there

The report identifies the major drivers of societal change, including human capacity, consumption and production, decarbonization, and the digital revolution. The six key transformations presented in the report interact with all the SDGs and provide a manageable way to achieve these goals:

  1. Substantial advances in human capacity are needed through further improvements of education and healthcare – resulting, among others, in higher income and better environmental decisions.
  2. Responsible consumption and production cut across several of the other transitions, allowing us to do more with fewer resources – adopting a circular economy approach and reducing demand is important.
  3. It is possible to decarbonize the energy system around 2050 while providing clean and affordable energy for all – including through energy efficiency, more renewables and electrification.
  4. Achieving access to nutritional food and clean water for all, while protecting the biosphere and the oceans requires more efficient and sustainable food systems – for example by increasing agricultural productivity and reducing meat consumption.
  5. Transforming our cities will benefit the majority of the world population – such as through ’smart‘ infrastructure, decent housing and high connectivity.
  6. Science, technology, and innovations are a powerful driver but the direction of change needs to support sustainable development.

A people and planet agenda

The 17 SDGs, adopted in 2015 by all nations, provide a pathway to an aspirational and anticipated future for human development. The global community agreed to achieve this actionable agenda by 2030 – therefore it is called „2030 Agenda“. The 17 goals of this agenda specify far-reaching time-bound, often quantified, objectives based on the most comprehensive consultation held so far among nations. For the first time, the world adopted a common framework that integrates wide-ranging and ambitious goals for inclusive social and economic development in harmony with global environmental targets for oceans, freshwater, biodiversity, and climate. They essentially provide a roadmap for redefining sustainable development as a „people and planet agenda“ that aims at a prosperous and fair world respecting the planetary boundaries.

A common effort

The World in 2050 (TWI2050) is global multi-year, multi-stakeholder, interdisciplinary research initiative designed to provide a science-based, integrative approach to address all 17 SDGs building on the synergies and multiple benefits while alleviating trade-offs across competing SDGs. The new report Transformations to Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, launched today at the UN High Level Political Forum in New York, US, brings together the work of more than 60 authors from 20 organizations involved in the initiative.

About TWI2050

TWI2050 brings together a network of more than 150 participants that includes leading policymakers, analysts, modeling and analytical teams from 60 organizations from around the world to collaborate in developing pathways toward sustainable futures and the policy frameworks needed for implementing the SDGs, and more importantly, for achieving the needed transformational change.

Source: Press release German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE), 11.07.2018