UN launches network to tackle global environmental, social, and economic problems

Independent grouping to be headed by economist Jeffrey Sachs

The United Nations has launched a new initiative to tackle the world’s environmental, social, and economic problems.

The Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) will be headed by economist Jeffrey Sachs, who is special advisor to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon on the Millennium Development Goals, whose target date is 2015.

It will be an independent network of research centres, universities and technical institutions and will work with business, civil society, UN agencies and others to identify “the best pathways to achieve sustainable development”.

It has grown out of Rio+20 summit earlier this year and will coordinate with the UN’s ‘Panel of Eminent Persons’ on post-2015 development announced in July.

“The world urgently needs a framework for sustainable development that addresses the challenges of ending poverty, increasing social inclusion and sustaining the planet,” the UN said.“In the 20 years since the first Rio ‘Earth Summit’, the world has largely failed to address some of the most serious environmental and social problems pressing in on us,” Sachs said. “We need to engage the academic and scientific community, and tap into worldwide technological know-how in the private sector and civil society, in order to develop and implement practical solutions.”

“The world urgently needs a framework for sustainable development”

Sachs is director of The Earth Institute at Columbia University, which will serve as the secretariat for the new network.

The network will comprise mainly universities and research institutes, but will also tap expertise from technology companies and science foundations. It’s hoped the network will spawn “a new kind of sustained problem solving”. UN Announcement