The Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) mobilizes scientific and technical expertise from academia, civil society, and the private sector in support of sustainable development problem solving at local, national, and global scales.
The Millennium Declaration and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) successfully focused world attention and action on ending extreme poverty in all its forms and reducing gender inequality. Following on the fifteen-year MDG period, world leaders adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in September 2015. The SDGs address today’s problems of extreme poverty, social exclusion, and environmental destruction by providing an operational framework to support a transition towards a more sustainable path. Achieving the goals will require diverse stakeholders, including national and local governments, civil society, business, and the scientific community, to work together on solutions-oriented approaches to sustainability across all sectors and issues, based on sound scientific evidence and insight into what long-term sustainability pathways look like.
Objectives of the SDSN
Recognizing the urgency of these issues, the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) was launched in 2012 at the initiative of UN Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon. The SDSN’s mission is defined around four principal goals to be pursued with all member institutions of the SDSN:
- Support the implementation of the post-2015 Development Agenda, including the SDGs, Financing for Development, and the Paris Agreement.
- Promote Thematic Groups and Solution Initiatives for sustainable development. The SDSN has eleven thematic groups that support sector-specific solution initiatives, such as the Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project and the Agricultural Transformation Pathways initiative, to achieve the SDGs.
- Develop SDSN Networks at national and regional levels to promote practical problem solving for sustainable development. Networks like the Caribbean SDSN mobilize local stakeholders for local action.
- Develop high-quality, free, online education for Sustainable Development Practitioners through SDSNedu (www.sdsnedu.org). We currently offer courses on topics such as extractive industries, climate change negotiations, planetary boundaries, and sustainable oceans, and several more in development.
The Caribbean Sustainable Development Solution Network was launched on May 7th, 2014 on the Mona Campus of the University of the West Indies. It is coordinated by the Institute for Sustainable Development. The Institute for Sustainable Development of The University of the West Indies helps to fulfil the University’s commitment to build capacity and competence for Sustainable Development in the Caribbean. It prioritizes transitioning science and data into policy to provide practical solutions for sustainability within the region.
The Caribbean SDSN is a chapter of the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network (UNSDSN). It was initiated to address the development needs of the Caribbean, a diverse set of countries, including a number of Small Island Developing States (SIDS), which face a growing number of sustainable development challenges. These include, but are not limited to, establishing competitive industries and employment generation; reducing high income inequalities; adapting to climate change and curbing greenhouse gas emissions; marine pollution, overfishing, and biodiversity loss; and urban development.
Caribbean universities have a long tradition of working closely with their governments in supporting sustainable development, but to date no regional network of universities and research institutes exist that focuses on the challenges of sustainable development. The objectives of the Caribbean SDSN are to mobilize universities and research centers and to strengthen cooperation to: (i) Promote and implement “Solutions Initiatives” that address key sustainable development challenges in the Caribbean; (ii) Promote university teaching on sustainable development; (iii) Assist governments in understanding and addressing major sustainable development challenges; (iv) Support and participate in the development of the post-2015 development agenda, including the Sustainable Development Goals that have replaced the Millennium Development Goals after 2015.
Membership to the Caribbean SDSN is free and open to all interested universities and research centers in the Caribbean Basin (including French, Spanish, and Dutch-speaking institutions in Central America and the northern coast of South America). Membership is also open to Universities that are not based in the Caribbean but with strong research and projects in the region.