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September 2020 marks the 5th birthday of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the UN Sustainable Development Goals. If it were a child and given the right circumstances, it would now have developed fine motor skills, be able to stand on one foot for 10 seconds, have long conversations, and start to develop a sense of independence and responsibility. With the 8th World Sustainability Forum, we are not only celebrating this birthday but are also taking stock of where we are in relation to a more sustainable world, what has worked, what has not yet worked, and where we need to go next. Today, the world is a different place from when we were planning this event. To remain relevant, any event must take into account the future impact of events that are unfolding in 2020: a health crisis, followed by economic, political, and social crises.
Sustainability has gained considerable traction: Many countries have integrated sustainability and environmental protection as part of their national development agenda, many businesses have realized the considerable long-term potential in sustainable development, and many research agendas have aligned with sustainability goals. The challenges that mark 2020 give rise to new imaginaries on how to either return to a “new normal” or to forge ahead into a challenging and more sustainable future. The health crisis and its consequences will not guarantee a more sustainable future but it certainly provides a narrow window of opportunity to rethink outdated economic, social, and environmental arrangements. It is encouraging to note the wide-spread calls for a sustainable “new normal”.
With this event, we hope to contribute to building a platform and network for sustainability agendas that fosters new partnerships among stakeholders beyond the boundaries of academic disciplines, self-serving national agendas, quarterly spreadsheets, and election cycles. The quest is to conceive of ways to assure long-term sustainable development for people, for regions, and for our planet.
In the spirit of making an event on sustainability more sustainable, the 8th World Sustainability Forum will be an online global event. The themes for 2020 are:
1 Health and Medicine
2 Food Security and Agriculture
3 Mobility and Transport
Abstract Submission for WSF2020 VIRTUAL: Closed
If your abstract is not associated with one of these three themes, we encourage you to participate in the 9th World Sustainability Forum to be held from 13-15 September 2021 at the Biozentrum, Basel, Switzerland which will cover a wider range of topics.
In light of the online nature of the 2020 event, a number of significant changes in organization have taken place. The deadline for registration has been removed and you may register at any time. The submission deadline for abstracts has been extended to 1 August 2020. In the interest of inclusive global participation and in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath, MDPI has generously agreed to drop the registration fees for all virtual academics, members of partnering societies, cooperations and United Nations Initiatives for the 8th World Sustainability Forum. However, registration to the event is mandatory.