Open Working Group Document Released

The final document adopted by the Open Working Group was released. It proposes 17 goals and a large number of targets. The substance of the document is good, and it strikes a good balance between the economic, social, and environmental dimensions of sustainable development. Many of the recommendations from the SDSN have been incorporated – a huge thanks to the thematic groups who have provided hands-on support to and advocacy around the OWG.

It is widely recognized that 17 goals and over 150 targets are too many. The next step of the intergovernmental process will therefore need to focus on consolidating the goals and targets. The SDSN will continue to accompany these processes.

In the meantime, we are rearranging the SDSN indicator report along the 17 OWG goals. A revised version of the report is scheduled to be launched in the last week of July 2014. It will help member states think through the operational implications of the goals and targets.

Jeff Sachs invites us all to 'Stand Up and Be Counted on Climate Change" (please consider signing on with leading scientists and climate experts)

Stand Up and Be Counted on Climate Change

 Stand Up and Be Counted on Climate Change 

Jeffrey Sachs  

Director, Earth Institute

We've just about run out of time to keep the rise of global temperature below 2 degrees Centigrade (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit). The world promised to do it back in 2010. But it hasn't acted. This is your moment, as a Global Citizen, to raise your voice to head off disastrous climate change.

The 2-degree limit is the last guardrail for a safe global climate. If temperatures shoot beyond 2 degrees, it's quite possible that natural feedbacks - melting ice sheets, drying rainforests, release of greenhouse gases from the melting tundra - could carry the world to runaway climate change. Such major climate disruptions would put sustainable development and the end of poverty out of reach. Even 2 degrees C is enough to create chaos in many parts of the world: higher sea levels, more floods, droughts, ocean acidification, heat waves and extreme storms.

The 2-degrees C limit was adopted by all governments in 2010. Since then emissions have kept on rising, and we are running out of time to stay within 2-degres. More precisely, we are running out of our planet's carbon budget, that is, the amount of carbon we can burn and still remain below 2-degrees C. In just a few years we'll lose the remaining chance to keep the Earth's temperature below the 2-degree C limit.

Yet, we can still succeed -- if all major economies of the world begin to take strong and consistent actions to decarbonize their national energy systems in three main ways: shifting to low-carbon electricity; moving from fossil fuels to electricity in vehicles and buildings; and massive gains of energy efficiency. A fourth main global pillar is to shift from deforestation to reforestation and to reduce emissions from agriculture. These transformations are deep, but they are feasible and will not only protect the climate but also boost prosperity if we apply our efforts and ingenuity to the effort.

Now you can stand up and make your voice heard. Many of the world's leading scientists and climate experts have put forward a statement to global leaders for delivery at the United Nations Climate Summit on September 23. Here is your chance to add your name with these illustrious signatories by clicking here and adding your own name to the statement.

The Age of Sustainable Development

Dear partners and colleagues,

We are pleased to announce the launch of, the online education initiative of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network. To kick off this initiative, we will be offering the second instance of Jeffrey Sachs’ course, The Age of Sustainable Development, free of charge in September 2014 through our new platform. The course is currently open for pre-registration on our website. All participants that complete the course will also get the free e-book version of Professor Sachs’ new book, titled The Age of Sustainable Development.

The course provides a comprehensive introduction to the various dimensions of sustainable development and will serve as the foundational course for the broader compendium of courses that will be offered through over the next few years. Additional information about the course is provided in the attached informational document, and all SDSN member institutions will have access to course materials to use in their existing programs. Please pre-register as soon as possible for the course to ensure that you receive upcoming correspondence and to learn more about the additional courses offered by

We are incredibly excited to launch this initiative and look forward to building an cadre of engaged and informed development practitioners in the lead up to 2015. Please email Megan Cassidy, SDSN Education Manager, at for more information on the course, notifications about the additional offerings of the, and/or to discuss how best to use the course materials in your own programs.

We welcome your feedback and insights on this new effort and ask that you circulate this information widely within your relevant networks. We look forward to seeing you in our virtual classroom this fall!


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