Austrian World Summit

The R20 AUSTRIAN WORLD SUMMIT is a kick-off event for a long-term initiative on sharing best practice examples to implement the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the global climate protection goals of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

The WHO reports that around 7 million people die as a result of air pollution exposure each year. This confirms that air pollution is now the world’s single largest environmental health risk. Even more people suffer from the consequences of climate change, especially those in the least developed countries. Delaying action on these urgent problems will not only increase physical damage but also economic costs from climate change in the long run.

Cities, regions, companies, politicians, researchers and civil society throughout the world are finding innovative solutions to these pressing problems. Our goal is to bring everyone together in order to increase partnerships and exchange experiences and ideas. It is critical that we stay inspired and motivated in our efforts to implement the SDGs and that we find effect ways to learn from one another.

On September 25, 2015 the General Assembly of the United Nations agreed on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It consists of a set of 17 aspirational Global Goals (“Sustainable Development Goals“ or SDGs) with 169 targets amongst them. These include ending poverty and hunger, improving health and education, combating climate change and pushing sustainable economic growth. 194 Member States of the United Nations agreed to start action immediately in order to reach the goals by 2030.

Furthermore, these nations negotiated the Paris Agreement, the follow-up agreement of the Kyoto Protocol, in December 2015. This is an agreement within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) dealing with greenhouse gas emissions mitigation, adaptation and finance (divestment) aims to restrict the increase in global average temperatures to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels. This agreement went into effect on 4 November 2016.

The SDGs and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change are closely connected. Their implementation will drive the economy towards de-carbonisation, which is an important milestone in achieving the SDGs. This can only succeed if partners from business, subnational governments, civil society and others work together to create sustainable projects.