The World Economic Forum's Sustainable Development Impact Meetings (SDIM23) are being held from 18 to 22 September in New York.
Davos Agenda

SDIM23: Everything you need to know about Day 2

Deep dive

The World Economic Forum's Sustainable Development Impact Meetings (SDIM23) are being held from 18 to 22 September in New York. Image: Unsplash/Colton Duke

Kate Whiting
Senior Writer, Forum Agenda
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This blog will be updated throughout the day.

  • The World Economic Forum's Sustainable Development Impact Meetings are being held from 18 to 22 September in New York.
  • From AI in the world of work to how tech is closing the SDG gap, here’s what you need to know about Day 2.
  • Also... catch up on sessions from Day 1, our Chief Economist Outlook and latest Jobs of Tomorrow white paper.

Welcome to Day 2 of SDIM in New York!

Today will have a tech focus, as we explore how AI fits into the world of work, and looking at how tech is helping to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

If you missed Day 1, catch up with our highlights blog here. You can read our deep dive into what to expect here, and join the conversation online using our hashtag #SDIM23.

Have you read?

'We need to act now'

The world is not on track to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. At the current rate of progress, only 15% of the goals will be met by the 2030 target deadline.

So what needs to be done to close the gap?

“These goals present a pathway towards a better, more sustainable world, but unfortunately, we are not on track to deliver them,” said Miroslav Lajčák, Special Representative of the European Union for the Belgrade-Pristina Dialogue and Western Balkans. “We need to act, and we need to act now.”

Here's a round-up from Agenda what he and other leaders in a panel discussion yesterday had to say about what needs to be prioritized to get countries back on track.

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Better climate, better health

Climate change is one of the most urgent global challenges facing society today. Among the numerous risks related to climate change - it's also a health crisis.

#SDIM23 has put this oft-overlooked nexus firmly on the agenda. Yesterday, a live session featuring global health experts explored how countries should adapt to better address the implications of climate change on the wellbeing of their citizens.

"We have to stop thinking about these issues as impossible, we have to stop thinking about these problems as too big ... The urgency to make the right decisions is now. There is absolutely no such thing as too ambitious for the moment we're in today," said Vanessa Kerry, CEO of Seed Global Health.

Jemilah Mahmood, Executive Director, Sunway Centre for Planetary Health, Sunway University, talked about the power of using local solutions in the fight against climate change. "With very little resources, you can create high impact," she said.

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And today, the Forum and the Rockefeller Foundation published a report, Better Climate, Better Health: Using Precision Public Health Tools to Tackle Climate-Sensitive Diseases in China, marking the "start of continuous efforts to raise climate action ambition, as well as to address and adapt to the health impacts of climate change."

Today’s sessions

In recent years, religious leaders have been increasingly vocal in their calls to address climate change, poverty, conflict and other global crises.

Representatives of different faiths came together to discuss the ways religious leaders and communities can inspire change and mobilize action in today’s polycrisis - and they concluded with messages of hope.

People of faith are people of hope. Hope means I have agency and what I do can make a difference in the outcome, it’s not passive it’s active.

Susan Hendershot President, Interfaith Power and Light

If governments are failing, then the community has to come together to work with governments to make things happen, we all have a responsibility.

Bani Dugal Principal Representative, Bahá'í International Community

We are not the prisoners of the mistakes of the past... We can be the builders of a better future for all God’s children.

David Saperstein Director Emeritus, The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism

Business leaders expect 23% of global jobs to change in the next five years, with technology a primary catalyst of this disruption. The explosive growth of generative AI could see up to 80% of tasks in some roles being automated while other roles are augmented, revolutionizing the labour market. Is the global workforce prepared for this shift? PwC Global Chairman Bob Moritz joined Rwanda’s Minister of Information Communication Technology and Innovation, Paula Ingabire, and Mark Gorenberg, Managing Director, Zetta Venture Partners, to discuss the impact and implications of AI.

"What is urgent, at the end of the day, is collaboration," said Paula Ingabire. "And having really honest conversations. The tendency with emerging technologies is selling the benefits but trying to ignore the fears that people have, trying to ignore or minimize the concerns that they have. And once you start minimizing anyone's concerns, you've lost them."

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Bob Moritz, meanwhile, added that it's important to show people that AI and automation isn't something that is happening to them, "but with them."

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Halfway to the 2030 Agenda, the UN has warned that the world is falling short in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. This discussion, which featured Accenture UK’s Managing Director and Global Circular Economy Lead and the founder of smart recycling company Green Mining, discussed how pioneering entrepreneurs from around the globe are using nature-based and circular economy solutions to close this gap.

One of the entrepreneurs in the session, Divine Nabaweesi, spoke about how her start-up, Divine Bamboo, is protecting nature and empowering people in her native Uganda.

Divine Bamboo makes briquettes from bamboo which are long-burning, smokeless and 30% cheaper compared to ordinary charcoal. "It's such a huge problem," she said, but a simple ban on charcoal in her country is not enough. "We need to work with the private sector, and the government, to make sure people have alternative solutions."

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"We see the circular economy as a solution to environmental good," said Wesley Spindler, Managing Director and Global Circular Economy Lead, Accenture, as she talked about the positive impact the Circulars Accelerator programme has achieved in collaboration with the Forum's open innovation platform, UpLink.

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Further reading on SDIM23

Related topics:
Davos AgendaSustainable Development
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