“A Global Call to Action for Sustainable Development:
Engaging Young People to Solve the Triple-Bottom Line Challenge –
Economic Well-Being, Environmental Sustainability, and Social Inclusion.”
What was the main topic of this Briefing?
This was the first Briefing to take place outside the traditional venues in New York and was hosted on the campus of Lehigh University, one of our most active academic NGOs. The Briefing addressed the triple-bottom line challenge of sustainable development: economic well-being, environmental protection, and social inclusion; some outcomes and efforts that have been made following the Rio+20 Conference; and ways to mobilize and prepare youth to become problem-solvers of some of these issues that will define their era.
What were some of the key points discussed?
• The unique and significant role universities play in solving challenges to sustainable development, and Lehigh’s long-term commitment to empowering its students to be agents of change in finding sustainable solutions
• The type of bold actions and ideas needed to move us toward a “green economy” and creating an institutional framework that is more conducive to fostering sustainable development
• Sustainable development being a problem solving effort which needed new technologies and new ways of thinking and doing things to be successful.
• The idea that none of the three pillars of the sustainability challenge (economic prosperity, social inclusion, and environmental sustainability) can be tackled alone; in order to achieve true sustainable development, a balance must be found among all three.
• The need for an empowering space for entrepreneurs led by a more networked generation so new ideas and new ways of working and living can be created.
• The idea that if we solve the problems of sustainable development in ways we are passionate about, we can make a huge difference and take steps toward this end.
Who were the panellists?
Maher Nasser, Director, Outreach Division, United Nations Department of Public Information. [Moderator]
Nikhil Seth, Director of the Division for Sustainable Development, United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN-DESA).
Jeffrey Sachs, Special Adviser to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on the Millennium Development Goals; Director of The Earth Institute at Columbia University.
Felix Dodds, Associate Fellow at the Tellus Institute and former Chair of the 64th annual UN DPI/NGO Conference.
Mark Orrs, Director and Professor of Practice, Sustainable Development Program, Lehigh University.
Cassandra Dutt, Civil Engineering, Theater and Architecture major in the Integrated Degree in Engineering and Arts & Sciences (IDEAS) Honors Program, Lehigh University, Class of 2013.
This Briefing was attended by 117 participants including NGO representatives, Lehigh students and faculty. The session was webcast live and was accessed from a number of countries around the world, including Nigeria, the United Kingdom, and Germany. A question and answer period followed the panel discussion.
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