What are the Aims of UN's First Annual Sustainability Week?

The UN’s first annual Sustainability Week will bring international leaders together to advance global sustainability measures ahead of Summit of the Future

In 1987, the United Nations defined sustainability as “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs". Nearly four decades later, sustainability is a key focus for companies, governments and individuals around the world looking to achieve the goals set out in the Paris Agreement in 2015.

As part of the growing number of sustainability initiatives coming out of the United Nations, President Dennis Francis has launched the inaugural General Assembly Sustainability Week, to be held at the UN headquarters in New York 15-19 April 2024.

Ahead of the Summit of the Future in September 2024, the week will unite leaders from around the world in high level discussions to explore and promote sustainability in all economic activities, in line with the United Nations’ beliefs that sustainability is key in all industries. The event attendance list is expected to read as a who’s who of world leaders, including Heads of States and Governments, sector-specific ministers and key UN officials.

Dennis Francis, President of the 78th Session of the United Nations General Assembly

“The Sustainability Week initiative is essentially designed to galvanise momentum around sustainability in a way that helps to supercharge implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” says Dennis.

“I encourage all permanent missions, stakeholders and the media to adopt pledges to promote sustainability and to declare their support on social media while adopting sustainability practices.”

Communication and debate to advance sustainable successes

The discussions and debates at the first United Nations General Assembly Sustainability Week will be varied and include:

  • Debt sustainability and socioeconomic equality, highlighting the impact of surging debt on countries’ development trajectories
  • Tourism, unsustainable practices within the industry
  • Sustainable transport
  • Building global resilience and promoting sustainable development through infrastructure connectivity

Alongside the high-level discussions, the event will see the launch of a statistical framework for measuring sustainability in tourism, a global stock taking on sustainable energy, reflecting on progress and shortcomings, and attention being drawn to initiatives beyond the 2030 Agenda, including the Choose Sustainability campaign, which encourages stakeholders to adopt pledges and sustainability practices.

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