Cycle of Conferences

High-Level Political Forum

on Sustainable Development

July 9-18 2018

 

Dear Co-workers,

 

 

The Cycle of Conferences is placing a focus, beginning today, on the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), at United Nations HQ in New York. The theme of the forum is Transformation towards sustainable and resilient societies.

 

The SDG’s provide a vision of transformation. Yet the pressure to stay with old ways of working and thinking seems more intense than ever, and the political will and courage to take genuinely transformative steps is correspondingly less visible. Review of progress on the SDGs helps to reveal concrete positive changes that are happening.

Our current economic and political systems reflect a polarised picture of human progress, where there are always ‘winners’ and ‘losers’. This is accompanied by the fear that in the shake-up of a transformation,  those who are currently the ‘winners’ will ‘fall’ into the ‘loser’ category. The HLPF is a good opportunity to address this fear, imagining  a transformation in popular perceptions of what ‘winning’ and ‘losing’ mean, leading to a world that is less in thrall to materialistic values. The transformative vision of the SDGs is an attempt to make cooperation and sharing the main motivating principles in a globalised world. This effort deserves every ounce of our creative and imaginative support.

And what do we understand by resilient societies? In ecology, resilience is the capacity of an ecosystem to respond to a disturbance by resisting damage and recovering quickly. Such disturbances could be natural disasters or human activities. If a disturbance happens for long enough, or is large enough, it can profoundly affect an ecosystem, forcing it to pass a threshold beyond which a different, and often more degraded set of processes and structures predominates. By analogy, any major disturbance to social systems may likewise lead to degradation in the structures of societies – although they may also lead to unexpected levels of creativity and transformation. Perhaps the surest safeguard against decline is an attitude of goodwill, a positive, practical optimism that continually works for the best outcomes for all citizens. Goodwill is thus the cornerstone of social resilience.

Every one of us has a part to play, through our attitudes and our actions, and especially through our reflective meditations, in helping to transform our world in the direction of greater sustainability and resilience. The dynamic will-to-good of all who participate in the Cycle of Conferences initiative can empower the many servers who gather at the specific points of collective reflection and decision we call “conferences” to deepen their sense of responsibility for creating a positive future.  We can think of conferences like these that focus on transformation and resilience as a sign of the degree to which the SDG process reflects a growing sensitivity to the Plan.  Transformation and resilience both address the consciousness and the livingness of communities and nations – in a sense they are a recognition that the way forward to achieve the goals is to draw on the energies of the soul of the nations. Our work in assisting this process for the High-Level Political Forum begins today and ends on the 18th of July.

      

 

        

Headquarters Group

        

Cycle of Conferences

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 




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