Scenarios and possible medium and long-term trends related to the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and the achievement of SDGs

As decided by the General Assembly, the High-level Segment of the Economic and Social Council will focus on “future trends and scenarios related to the Council theme, the long-term impact of current trends, such as contribution of new technologies, in the economic, social and environmental areas on the realization of the SDGs”.

Scenarios describe plausible, internally consistent pathways to the future based on the best available scientific evidence, with a coherent and quantitative timeline of actions.

Accordingly, this session will examine scenarios, policies, and cooperative near-term actions for a sustainable and resilient recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and the achievement of the SDGs.

Background for this session is provided by Secretary-General’s reports on this year’s theme (E/2021/62) and on long-term future trends and scenarios (E/2021/61).

An interactive panel discussion will bring together experts, eminent personalities, and keynote speakers from Governments, the UN system, think tanks, regional organizations and stakeholder groups.

Proposed guiding questions:

The session will be guided by the following questions. In particular, it will also consider the recommendations put forward by the two Secretary General's reports.

  • Which feasible scenario pathways towards the SDGs are preferable, and how could they be achieved? What kind of broader lessons can be learnt from such scenarios? How can they be made readily available to decision-makers?
  • To which extent do strategies, actions, programs, and partnerships support such pathways in your country? What more is needed?
  • Which near-term actions should be considered in developed and developing countries – in response to the pandemic and with a view to ensure a sustainability transition in education, food, energy, water, and transport?
  • What is the experience with recent COVID-19 recovery plans and related financial stimulus packages? How could they better support sustainable and resilient solutions, reduce inequalities, and bridge the technology divides in the long-term? What kind of national legal, policy and institutional measures are needed to improve social protection and healthcare systems? How can women be empowered to contribute to recovery strategies?
Chair:
  • H.E. Mr. Munir Akram, President of Economic and Social Council
Keynote address:
  • Mr. Bertrand Piccard, Founder and Chairman of the Solar Impulse Foundation

Interactive panel discussion

Moderator:
  • H.E. Ms. Daniella Tilbury, Gibraltar's Commissioner for Sustainable Development and Future Generations
Panellists/Resource persons:
  • Mr. Keywan Riahi, Director, Energy Programme, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, Austria, and UN 10-Member-Group of High-level Representatives to support the Technology Facilitation Mechanism
  • Ms. Paula Caballero, Managing Director, Lands for Life Program, Rare, USA
  • Mr. Debapriya Bhattacharya, Distinguished Fellow, Centre for Policy Dialogue, Bangladesh, and UN Committee for Development Policy

Lead discussant:

  • Mr. Felix Dodds, Adjunct Professor, Water Institute in the Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering, University of North Carolina 

Respondents:

  • H.E. Mr. Omar Razzaz, former Prime Minister of Jordan
  • H.E. Ms. Arlette Soudan-Nonault, Minister of Environment, Sustainable Development and the Congo Basin, Republic of Congo, and Chair of the Seventh Session of the Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development
  • H.E. Mr. Dinesh Gunawardena, Foreign Minister of Sri Lanka
  • H.E. Mr. Dag-Inge Ulstein, Minister for International Development, Norway
  • H.E. Ms. Rita Schwarzeluehr-Sutter, Parliamentary State Secretary at the Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, Germany
Biographies
H.E. Mr. Dag-Inge Ulstein
Minister for International Development, Norway
H.E. Mr. Dag-Inge Ulstein

Minister for International Development, Norway

Mr Dag-Inge Ulstein (b. 1980) is Norway’s Minister of International development since January 2019. He is married with four children.

Mr Ulstein is leading WHO`s ACT-A Initiative (Access to Covid-19 Tools Accelerator). ACT-A is set up to lead the efforts to mobilize political and financial support to ensure equitable distribution of corona virus vaccines, medicines and tests. He is also a Board Member of The Global Center on Adaptation to address climate change.

Mr Ulstein is deeply committed to International Solidarity and to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

He has previously held the position as Head of Development at Haraldsplass Diaconal Foundation, a specialised hospital. Prior to this position he was the General Manager at Haraldsplass therapy and counselling center (2012-2014).

Previous political positions:
Deputy Mayor in Bergen and Head of Finance, Innovation and Real Estate (2015-2019). Deputy Mayor for Social Service, including Mental Health, Housing, Integration and Refugee work (2013-2014).

H.E. Mr. Dinesh Gunawardena
Foreign Minister of Sri Lanka
H.E. Mr. Dinesh Gunawardena

Foreign Minister of Sri Lanka

Hon. Dinesh Gunawardena, assumed duties as Foreign Minister on 25 November 2019. As a veteran politician, Hon. Dinesh Gunawardena has engaged at all levels of politics and governance since he started his political career in 1973 as the Leader of the party of the People’s United Front (the Mahajana Eksath Peramuna).

Hon. Dinesh Gunawardena remained a member of the Parliament for 37 years from 1983 and has held multiple Ministerial portfolios, serving previously as Minister of Transport (2000), Minister of Environment (2001), Deputy Minister of Higher Education (deputized under the President- 2004-2007), Minister of Sacred Area Development (2007-2010) Minister of Urban Development (2004-2010), Minister of Water Supply and Drainage (2010-2015), Minister of Megapolis and Western Development (2018), Minister of Employment Skills Development, and Labour Relations (2019-2020) and has also served as the Leader of the Joint Opposition (2015 to 2018) and Chief Government Whip (2010-2015).

Hon. Dinesh Gunawardena is also the Leader of the House since November 2019.

As the Foreign Minister, Hon. Dinesh Gunawardena envisions a foreign policy that is articulate and principled, ensuring a peaceful and prosperous neighbourhood for development. He believes in the reinforcement of the non-aligned Foreign Policy and long-standing relationships with Sri Lanka pursuing a policy of partnerships for peace, security and prosperity.

He was born on 02 March 1949 in Sri Lanka and his father, Late Hon. Philip Gunawardena was a legacy in politics in Sri Lanka. Late Hon. Gunawardena was a National Hero of Sri Lanka and also acted as a Trade Union Leader, a Member of Parliament, a Minister, the Founder of a political party and an author during his career. Mother of Hon. Dinesh Gunawardena, Late Kusuma Gunawardena is also a veteran Parliamentarian in Sri Lanka.

He is an past pupil of Royal College Colombo and graduated from Nyenrode Business University (the Netherlands’ School of Business) and the University of Oregon with an Associate Degree in Business Administration, Management and a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration, Management and International Transport respectively.

H.E. Mr. Munir Akram
President of Economic and Social Council
H.E. Mr. Munir Akram

President of Economic and Social Council

His Excellency Munir Akram was elected seventy-sixth President of the Economic and Social Council on 23 July 2020. Ambassador Akram is currently the Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations in New York. Ambassador Akram assumed his position as Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations, with the rank of Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, on November 1, 2019.

Ambassador Munir Akram previously served as Pakistan’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York for six years between 2002 and 2008, after serving as Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva for seven years from 1995 to 2002.

Between 1988 and 1992, Munir Akram was Pakistan’s Ambassador to the European Council, Belgium and Luxemburg.

During his term at the United Nations, Ambassador Munir Akram served twice as President of the Security Council in May 2003 and in May 2004; President of the Economic and Social Council in 2005; Chairman of the Group of 77 and China (developing countries) in 2007, and Facilitator on UN Administrative Reform in 2006.

Among the positions he held in various intergovernmental organizations were: Member of the UN Secretary General’s Advisory Board on Disarmament; Chairman of the WTO Trade Policy Review Body; President of the Conference on Disarmament (June 1996).

Ambassador Akram joined the Foreign Service of Pakistan in 1967, holding various positions in the Foreign Ministry as Additional Foreign Secretary and Director-General dealing with the United Nations.

He obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Law and a Master’s degree in Political Science from the University of Karachi. He is a prolific writer and has lectured and published several articles and papers on various strategic, political and economic issues.

In recognition of his selfless service and outstanding performance in the field of diplomacy and foreign policy, he was conferred the Award of Hilal-i-Quaid-e-Azam by the President of Pakistan.

H.E. Mr. Omar Razzaz
former Prime Minister of Jordan
H.E. Mr. Omar Razzaz

former Prime Minister of Jordan

Dr. Omar Razzaz is the former Prime Minister of Jordan. His career is diverse and spans the public sector (Prime Minister 2018-20, Minister of Education 2017-18, and Director of the Social Security Corporation 2006-10); the private sector (Executive Chairman of Jordan Ahli Bank 2014-17); non-governmental organizations (Chair of King Abdullah Fund For Development 2012-14, Member of the Society for the Visually Impaired, Member of the Society for Disabled Syrian Children); think tanks (Founder and Chair of the Jordan Strategy Forum 2012-17); international organizations (World Bank 1997-2006 Sector Leader and Country Manager, and UNDP Consultant 2010); and academia (Ford Chair/ Assistant Professor at MIT in International Development and Regional Planning Program). He holds a Post-Doctorate from Harvard Law School, a Ph.D. in Urban Planning with a minor in Economics from Harvard University; a Masters from MIT; and B.S. in Engineering from Louisiana Tech University. Through his years in academia, he received several awards for research, writing, and teaching (SSRC best paper award, Edward McClure writing award, and MIT teaching award).

H.E. Ms. Arlette Soudan-Nonault
Minister of Environment, Sustainable Development and the Congo Basin, Republic of Congo, and Chair of the 7th Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development
H.E. Ms. Arlette Soudan-Nonault

Minister of Environment, Sustainable Development and the Congo Basin, Republic of Congo, and Chair of the 7th Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development


  • Née le 14 octobre 1968 à Brazzaville ;

  • Etudes primaires et secondaires à Moscou et à Paris, ancienne élève de l’Institut Français de presse ;

  • Journaliste, chroniqueuse et productrice à Radio Congo (1989-1992) ;

  • Attachée de presse à la Présidence de la République (1992-1997) ;

  • Conseillère en communication (1998-2005) ;

  • Fondatrice Directrice de l’Institut Saint François d’Assise de Makabandilou internat d’éducation secondaire ;

  • Ministre du Tourisme et des Loisirs du 30 avril 2016 au 22 août 2017;

  • Ministre du Tourisme et de l’Environnement du 22 août 2017 au 15 mai 2021;

  • Ministre de l’Environnement, du Développement Durable et du Bassin du Congo depuis le 15 mai 2021 ;

  • Coordonnatrice Technique de la Commission Climat du Bassin du Congo depuis août 2017 ;

  • Membre du Bureau Politique du Parti Congolais du Travail (PCT) ;

  • Chevalière dans l’ordre du mérite Congolais ;

  • Publication en 2015 de ‘‘Radio Congo, Chroniques Equatoriales’’ (Editions Amalthée);

  • Mariée, mère de quatre enfants

H.E. Ms. Daniella Tilbury
Gibraltar's Commissioner for Sustainable Development and Future Generations
H.E. Ms. Daniella Tilbury

Gibraltar's Commissioner for Sustainable Development and Future Generations

Daniella Tilbury is an educator, change-maker and academic leader in Sustainable Development credited with having developed the initial frameworks for this area of learning. She has acted as a policy advisor to government agencies in Asia, Latin America, Europe and Oceania as well as travelled extensively in Africa and Asia to evaluate the investment and impact of sustainability programmes.

She was a member of the Board of WWF Australia that brought Earth Hour to the World in 2007 and has been actively involved in international initiatives that inspire transitions towards sustainability and climate positive futures. Her 2020 ‘Today4Tomorrow’ and ‘FutureMakers’ initiatives are focused on embedding intergenerational rights and sustainability learning in public policy.

Before becoming HMGOG’s first Commissioner for Sustainable Development in 2018, she was the inaugural Vice-Chancellor and CEO of the University of Gibraltar, an institution that embeds sustainability at its core. Previously, she held numerous academic leadership and research positions. Her work has been recognised with over 27 competitive grants and 18 awards.

Currently, she is the UK government’s focal point at the UN Economic Commission for Europe for matters relating to education for sustainable development . During 1995-2019, she Chaired several UN Committees on education and was commissioned by UNESCO to develop think pieces, expert reviews, policy advice, education frameworks and sector evaluations on sustainable development.

Last year she was recognised with an Hon. Fellowship by the University of Cambridge, St Catharine’s College and a Doctor Honoris Causa by the University of Girona for her leading work in education for sustainable development. She has over 100 refereed publications and given keynote addresses at international conferences across the globe.

H.E. Ms. Rita Schwarzeluehr-Sutter
Parliamentary State Secretary at the Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, Germany
H.E. Ms. Rita Schwarzeluehr-Sutter

Parliamentary State Secretary at the Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, Germany

Rita Schwarzelühr-¬Sutter is parliamentary state secretary at the German
Federal Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation and
Nuclear Safety since 2013. Until 2005, the graduate business economist
was active in the areas of marketing, consulting and communication.
She first became a member of the German Bundestag in 2005, where she headed the
Sustainable Mobility working group in the SPD party executive from 2008 to 2009.
Since 2014, she is the chairwoman of the board of trustees of the German Federal
Environmental Foundation (DBU) as well as chairwoman of the supervisory board of
the Society for Plant and Reactor Safety (GRS).

Mr. Bertrand Piccard
Founder and Chairman of the Solar Impulse Foundation
Mr. Bertrand Piccard

Founder and Chairman of the Solar Impulse Foundation

Psychiatrist and explorer Bertrand Piccard made history by accomplishing two aeronautical firsts – flying around the world non-stop in a balloon, and more recently in a solar-powered airplane without fuel. A leading voice for considering the environment through the lens of qualitative economic growth, his Solar Impulse Foundation has succeeded in its most recent mission of identifying 1000 profitable solutions to protect the environment and improve quality of life.

Mr. Debapriya Bhattacharya
Distinguished Fellow, Centre for Policy Dialogue, Bangladesh, and UN Committee for Development Policy
Mr. Debapriya Bhattacharya

Distinguished Fellow, Centre for Policy Dialogue, Bangladesh, and UN Committee for Development Policy

Dr Debapriya Bhattacharya, a macroeconomist and public policy analyst, is a Distinguished
Fellow at the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) – a globally reputed think-tank in Bangladesh –
where he had been earlier its first Executive Director. He is a member of United Nations
Committee for Development Policy (CDP) and also the Chair of two global initiatives, viz. LDC
Monitor and Southern Voice. He is a Non-Resident Fellow at Centre for Global Development (CGD).
He was the Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the WTO, UN Office, and
other international organisations in Geneva and Vienna. He was the Special Adviser on LDCs to
the Secretary General, UNCTAD. Earlier, he had been a Senior Research Fellow at Bangladesh
Institute of Development Studies (BIDS).

Dr Debapriya is engaged in high-level policy designing and advising for the national government
and various bilateral and international development agencies at home and in a number of
developing countries. He serves in the boards and working groups of a number of national,
regional, and international development organisations and networks and in the editorial board
of reputed journals. He has published extensively on pro-poor macroeconomics; post-2015
international development agenda; trade, investment and finance related issues of the LDCs.

He holds a PhD in Economics from Plekhanov National Planning Institute, Moscow and had been
a Post-Doctoral Fellow at Queen Elizabeth House, Oxford. He held a number of visiting positions
including Senior Fulbright Fellow at the Centre for Global Development (CGD), Washington DC.
One of his recently edited books: Bhattacharya, D. (Ed.). 2018. Bangladesh's Graduation
from the Least Developed Countries Group: Pitfalls and Promises. London: Routledge.

Mr. Felix Dodds
Adjunct Professor, Water Institute in the Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering, University of North Carolina
Mr. Felix Dodds

Adjunct Professor, Water Institute in the Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering, University of North Carolina

Felix Dodds has been a leading thinker in the area of global governance for thirty years. Now an Adjunct Professor at the University of North Carolina where he is the Principal Investigator for the Belmont Forum funded project Governance of Disaster Risk Reduction and Resilience for Sustainable Development. At UNC he co-directed the 2014 and 2018 Nexus Conferences on Water-Food-Energy and Climate.

He is secretary to the government Friends of Governance for Sustainable Development group in New York. He is also an International Ambassador for the City of Bonn.

He was a candidate to be the Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (2019).

He chaired the first UN Conference to come out with a set of indicative Sustainable Development Goals in September 2011. The conference Sustainable Societies Responsible Citizens occurred two months after Colombia first proposed the idea of the SDGs.

From 1992 to 2012 he was the Executive Director of Stakeholder Forum for a Sustainable Future.

He has edited or written 21 books on sustainable development including climate change and energy insecurity. His new book Tomorrow’s People and New Technology: Changing How We Live Our Lives will be out in October.

Mr. Keywan Riahi
Director, Energy Programme, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, Austria, and UN 10-Member-Group of High-level Representatives to support the Technology Facilitation Mechanism
Mr. Keywan Riahi

Director, Energy Programme, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, Austria, and UN 10-Member-Group of High-level Representatives to support the Technology Facilitation Mechanism

Keywan Riahi is the Director of the IIASA Program on Energy, Climate, and Environment. He is also visiting professor at the Graz University of Technology (TU Graz), a fellow at the Payne Institute of the Colorado School of Mines, and an external faculty member at the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) at the University of Amsterdam.

His main research interests are long-term patterns of technological change and economic development, particularly evolution of the energy system. His present research focuses on energy-related sources of global change, and on future development and response strategies related to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Dr. Riahi’s current projects, among others, include an EU-ERC Synergy Grant called GENIE on negative emissions technologies and 'Exploring National and Global Actions to reduce Greenhouse gas Emissions (ENGAGE)'.

He is a member of the Scientific Steering Committee of the Integrated Assessment Modeling Consortium (IAMC) and has co-led and coordinated a variety of different international community research efforts, including for example the development of the RCP-SSP framework for the integrated assessment of climate change, or recently the EU-funded research project CD-LINKS (Linking Climate and Development Policies-Leveraging International Networks and Knowledge Sharing). His work within international modeling comparison projects, such as Stanford-based Energy Modeling Forum, focuses on climate and energy policies for rapid transformation toward environmental, economic and social sustainability. He is regular advisor to national government organizations, energy and environment ministries, and the Industry.

Dr. Riahi has been appointed as a coordinating lead author in Working Group III of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Sixth Assessment Report (chapter three on mitigation pathways compatible with long-term goals). He has served as lead author and review editor to various international assessments, such as the Global Energy Assessment (GEA), The World in 2050 (TWI2050), and other IPCC reports, including the Third, Fourth, and Fifth Assessment Reports, the Special Report on Emissions Scenarios (SRES), the Special Report on Emissions Scenarios (SRES), the Special Report on CO2 Capture and Storage (SRCCS), and the Special Report on Renewable Energy (SRREN).

Clarivate Analytics (formerly Thomson Reuters) has repeatedly acknowledged Riahi as a Highly Cited Researcher Worldwide in two categories between 2016 and 2020.

Ms. Paula Caballero
Managing Director, Lands for Life Program, Rare, USA
Ms. Paula Caballero

Managing Director, Lands for Life Program, Rare, USA

Paula Caballero is the Managing Director of the Lands for Life Program at Rare. She has a long history in the field of development and is widely recognized as the lead proponent of the Sustainable Development Goals for which she awarded the German Sustainability Prize in 2019. During her service at the World Bank, as Senior Director, she established the Environment and Natural Resources Global Practice where she oversaw a portfolio of over USD 7 billion. Earlier she served as Global Director for Climate at the World Resources Institute and as Director for Economic, Social and Environmental Affairs in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Colombia. Her trajectory includes work on a range of sustainable development issues including climate change, agroecology, biodiversity, and fisheries. Earlier in her career, she served with the Energy and Environment Unit for Latin America & Caribbean at UNDP. She has also worked with NGOs, academia, media, and the private sector.

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