The four-day conference will follow this flow:
Day 1: State of the planet: the latest knowledge about the pressures on the planet
Day 2: Options and opportunities: exchanging knowledge about ways of reducing the pressures on the planet, promoting transformative changes for a sustainable future and adapting to changes in the global system
Day 3: Challenges to progress: clarifying what is preventing or slowing humanity from implementing potential solutions
Day 4: Ways ahead: a vision for 2050 and beyond, and exploring new partnerships and pathways towards global sustainability
Each day will include relevant aspects of the conference themes (details below).
Multidisciplinary, multi-sectorial discussions about solutions will build up over the conference. These will culminate in discussion of the policy, investment and research environments – and interactions between them – needed for effective management of the planet’s increasingly scarce resources.
Key pressures on the planet arise from increasing globalization, urbanization and consumption in a changing climate. Global sustainability science, with its view of the Earth as a coupled socio-ecological system operating at many levels on linked scales, has insights to offer for the management of all these pressures. It cannot do this alone. It must do so in partnership with decision-makers in policy, development, business and the wider non-government sector.
Three broad themes will guide the conference:
Demands on Earth’s terrestrial, marine, freshwater and atmospheric systems continue to rise, and society has failed to stem biodiversity loss. In addition, adequate nourishment and equitable access to clean water is still not assured for the world’s populations. We must meet humanity’s growing and interacting needs for food, energy and water, while also safeguarding the planet’s capacity to deliver a broad range of ecosystem services including carbon storage and climate regulation.
While material consumption rises in affluent societies, the fate of the planet’s poorest 1-2 billion remains bleak. We must find development pathways that can improve the quality of life for the world’s growing population in the face of the interacting pressures of globalization, urbanization, unsustainable production and consumption and large-scale environmental changes.
While global forces such as climate change and trade affect welfare at all levels, local actions are having global consequences. We need more effective systems for managing human activities that affect and are affected by Earth system processes.