V4SDG Visegrad for Sustainability
Our First Forum 23-24 May 2018, Budapest
Contact Ms. Federika Fait Partnerships Director firstname.lastname@example.org +36-20-415-8011
Mr. Sandor Madar Sustainability Director email@example.com +33-66-523-4143
VISEGRAD FOR SUSTAINABILITY
Think about the Environment before printing this booklet! TABLE OF CONTENTS What is V4SDG? The Budapest Forum V4SDG in Numbers The Structure Keynotes Panels Workshops Roundtables Sustainability Vision The Team Support Us!
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What is V4SDG? Executive Summary V4SDG is a youth-led non-profit initiative aimed at inspiring action and cooperation on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals by activating key agents of change in the Visegrád Four states: the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia. We believe that our communities face a critical juncture: either we step on a path of leadership built around Sustainable Development or we risk falling behind. It is only logical to go with the former option, yet, we are not doing enough about it. As young leaders, our goal is to change that by making Sustainability integral to all decision-making happening in the Visegrád countries. For that end,
V4SDG unites responsible actors from the public, private and civil sectors in support of Sustainable Development via advocacy, communications, education and a series of Leaders’ Forums. V4SDG fills a historical structure with brand-new content The Castle of Visegrád in Hungary served as a venue for meetings between the Czech, Hungarian and Polish Kings in the middle ages
The Budapest Forum 23-24 May 2018 at Google Ground Budapest Our first forum was an experiment to bring together actors from different fields, educate them on sustainability, and make them connect and act for it. To ensure the efficiency of our venture, we decided to employ three approaches:
Transfer of Knowledge Every successful effort for sustainability starts with capturing attention and providing verified information to agents. In our first forum we put a great emphasis on introducing sustainability from multiple angles, through multiple solutions.
Networking for Action Impact creation is not a centralised game: agents must be connected into networks which inspire them to act and provide them with opportunities to cooperate. At V4SDG we strive to make and maintain such connections.
Intergenerational and Intersectoral Dialogue From the beginning, we wanted our forum to be a place where bridges are built. Sustainability is a complex issue, and one for all human beings. Therefore, regardless of where we work, what beliefs we hold or how old we are, we must work towards it. V4SDG brings people together to reach what is important for all of us!
V4SDG in Numbers 23-24 May 2018
100+ LEADERS 40+ SPEAKERS WITHâ€¦ 50/50 GENDER BALANCE 3 KEYNOTES & 7 PANELS 6 WORKSHOPS 5 ROUNDTABLES NO PLASTIC WASTE COUNTLESS CONNECTIONS
The Structure Engagement during the Forum As vehicles of our three approaches, we used three types of formalised engagement, aside informal networking:
Panel Discussions Discussions between speakers and a moderator took place in 40 minute blocs followed by 20 minute Q&As . Panels served as the stage for thought-provoking discussion on sustainability attended by the full audience of the forum.
Workshops Longer sessions aimed at the exchange of solutions and best practices for diverse groups. Presenters introduced specific cases and methods, which were then discussed by participants. The aim was the transfer of practical knowledge.
Roundtables Small group discussions tailored at encouraging out-of-the-box thinking. Burning issues connected to sustainability were discussed in intense debates, facilitated by a professional from the specific field.
Are you ready to explore our highlights? Turn the page and start with our Keynotes! 4
Mr. András Volom Founder of V4SDG - Visegrad for Sustainability “Unsustainability is like a debt spiral: it takes away your liberty to act freely. As you roll deeper, increasingly, you only have capacity to deal with problem management repaying the loans - until even that becomes impossible. It is slow death.” In his opening address, András has shared the thoughts of the entire V4SDG Team with the audience. He emphasised that while the issues related to climate change, inequalities, even matters of privacy keep growing, the biggest evil we face is our own laziness to address these problems with the full arsenal of our tools. He identified three problems V4 countries face with the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals: 1) Insufficient knowledge and awareness of sustainability, as well as scepticism towards it; 2) The lack of initiative, the expectation that others will solve this for us; 3) The failure of agents to cooperate due to perceived or real differences, despite magnitude of the issue we face. It has been pointed out that we must rise above polarisation to solve a lifethreatening issue that has no colour, and that V4SDG will strive to provide the means to achieve that by empowering actors for concerted action. Eventually, the vision of V4SDG is to realise united V4 leadership at the global level for sustainability.
All members of the V4SDG Team believe in sustainability And we committed ourselves to making sure that everyone joins us
Mr. Joerg Bauer CEO of Tungsram, Former CEO of GE Hungary Joerg Bauer is the owner, President and CEO of the TUNGSRAM GROUP - a Hungarian multinational company with global activities in Sales, Distribution, and R&D with more than 4,000 employees. He visited our first forum to give account of his personal experience with sustainability. Joerg started his train of thought from a key difference between young people now and 30 years ago, and how that influences companies to take the SDGs into consideration. Nowadays, those at the age of 20+ do not want to wait for decades to make an impact. They want to take action as soon as possible, which combined with their growing consciousness for the environment, society, self-fulfilment and sustainability creates a powerful push factor for companies to change policy. These people are future consumers and incoming employees, and they expect corporations to not only talk about sustainability, but also do for it. However, not all companies hear the call of the future, and the trailblazers alone are not able to change an entire industry. Thus, those leaders who understand it have an obligation to teach partners, suppliers, even competitors, since the arising challenges create such complex problems that may indeed get unsolvable over time. Quick and accurate reaction is mandatory. Joerg also commended the new generation of leaders on their uncompromising stand for important values, but he warned that to achieve success, young leaders must be persistent, dedicated and learn patience, even in the face of rapidly growing issues. As a last point, Joerg has highlighted that the V4 should try investing in the sustainability of the Middle East and North Africa, as countries in these regions would trust Czech, Hungarian, Polish and Slovak partners more than they do Western European ones. Potential fields of investment could include smart screening, modern agriculture, water and sanitation, as well as renewables.
Ms. Geanne Van Arkel Head of Sustainable Development, Interface EMEA In this thought-provoking presentation delivered via Skype to Budapest, Geanne Van Arkel began her introduction by laying out a basic framework for society to reduce its negative impact on the environment. The main points were: eliminating waste, increasing benign emissions, relying solely on renewable energy, closing the circular economy loop, engineering resource-efficient transportation, sensitising stakeholders, and redesigning global commerce. The goal was formulated as creating a restorative global economy by 2020. The speaker also emphasised how building a new carbon economy and restoring natural carbon were essential steps in the path leading to sustainability. From the individuals’ point of view, reducing the personal carbon footprint and stopping food waste were deemed vital. Geanne further described how supporting nature’s self-regulating systems is an important element of contemporary industrial architecture. The prevention of plastic reaching oceans was highlighted too.
The presentation’s takeaway message was that ’if humanity changed the climate by mistake, we can change it with intent’.
PA N E L S
Panel 1 - ENV - SDG13 Climate Change for the V4: Threats and Opportunities Ms. Márta Bonifert: Former Head of the Regional Environment Centre Dr. István Bart: Founder and Director at Climate Strategy Institute 2050 Mr. Zsolt Bauer: Branch Manager of the Climate Reality Project in Hungary Moderated by Mr. Santeri Santhur Lehtonen: Student Innovation Centre Austria The conference kicked off with an insightful panel focusing on SDG13, specifically, on what climate change means for the V4 countries. Our speakers exchanged ideas about the greatest threats and challenges to climate action in the region. Panellists agreed that although SDG13, climate action, is a largely political issue, apart from the political forces, the only way the climate movement will be put on the agenda is via the inclusion of civil society and the youth sector in decision-making. There was total agreement that issue-driven initiatives and networks are at the roots of achieving SDG13. When asked specifically about the situation in the V4 region, Ms. Bonifert talked about the lack of media attention given to climate issues, while the other two panellists discussed whether the general population could be activated for the issue. Rapid urbanization, overused resources, a lack of sustainable infrastructure and overconsumption were identified as some of the most important megatrends in the V4 concerning climate change. Discussion of the largest threats to climate action focused on the lack of enforcement, political loopholes, and the lobby power of “dirty industries”. The panel concluded with an emphasis on grassroots movements, and the need to create and support down-to-earth and focused initiatives to drive change in the realm of climate action.
Sometimes extraordinary solutions work best: Dr. István Bart proposed that since arguments for climate change are emotional and ethical, we may need a religion with sustainability at its centre
Panel 2 - ECO - SDG8
Panel 3 - SOC - SDG4/10
Business for SDGs: Impact Investment and Social Entrepreneurship
Education and Inequalities: Adjusting Education Systems to 21st Century Challenges
Ms. Melinda Várfi: Co-Founder of Impact Hub Budapest Mr. Antal Károlyi: Head of Impact Accelerator Ltd Ms. Zsuzsa Laczkó: Project Manager at NESsT Hungary Ms. Veronika Pistyur: CEO of Bridge Budapest Moderated by Ms. Federika Fait: V4SDG - Visegrad for Sustainability
Mr. Dániel Léderer: Founder and Director of the Milestone Institute Ms. Zsófia Rácz: Youth Delegate of Hungary to the United Nations Mr- Gáspár Békés: Student Activist and Sustainability Expert Ms. Réka Oswald: Program Manager and Coordinator of USchool Moderated by Mr. Mio Kuschik: Youth Delegate of Germany to the United Nations
In the framework of SDG 8, decent work and economic growth, the focus of panel 5 was on entrepreneurial involvement in the SDGs and the social entrepreneurship ecosystem in the region. The discussion commenced by defining social entrepreneurship (SE) and highlighting the main difference between traditional, profit-oriented enterprises and social enterprises: SEs focus on social impact and financial stability equally, while traditional businesses are solely profit-oriented.
Education should be one of the top priorities in the V4. This panel mostly focused on our national education systems’ ability or lack thereof to prepare students for the challenges posed by globalisation and the fourth industrial revolution. Panellists agreed that we should prepare students for an unpredictable future; we must educate all students for the age of AI and new technologies. Also, it is important to recognise that there is a direct link between the labour market and education, and if the market is changing, education has to adapt too. Otherwise a socalled qualifications mismatch may arise, potentially to unmanageable levels.
The panellists discussed how the decline of traditional enterprises combined with a boost in impact-driven businesses in the V4 area is reshaping the SME sector. When talking specifically about the Hungarian landscape, the speakers highlighted the lack of incentives and regulatory infrastructure to help SEs strive as the greatest threat. Currently, the dominant form of support for SEs is through financial grants, which in itself is a challenge as most grants, depending on the sponsors, tend to limit the scope of the enterprises. Lastly, our speakers talked about impact investment, microfinance initiatives, and youth involvement in impact enterprises. They encouraged the young audience to adopt a value based approach to innovation and to develop an entrepreneurial mindset towards problem solving.
That being said, our task is not solely to prepare an efficient labour force but also to educate active citizens. A serious problem identified in Visegrad education systems is that they do not prepare students for civic participation. Critical thinking and self-organisation should be encouraged and supported if we wish to build sustainable and inclusive societies. However, that is an unattainable goal if we do not address the sharp inequalities in the quality of education between poorer rural neighbourhoods and richer urban areas. The differences in education received will perpetuate most of the social problems V4 countries struggle with. Additionally, focus on gender equality in organising education would also be crucial to preparing our societies for the future as acute labour shortages continue to damage our economies, while the potential lying in women remains an untapped resource.
Panel 4 - POL - SDG17 Youth and Potential: The Benefits of Having Young People in Leadership Mr. Barnabás Gulyás: President of the Federation of Children and Youth Councils Ms Mirtill Megyeri: Co-Founder of Zyntern Ms. Isabel Perez Dobarro: Focal Point of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network - Youth to the United Nations Ms. Orsolya Nemes: Generations Researcher at Milestone Institute Moderated by Mr. András Volom: V4SDG - Visegrad for Sustainability The panellists opened the discussion by agreeing that youth leadership is essentially a form of empowerment; it is the freedom or ability to communicate one’s views of the world and to make their voices heard within their communities and beyond. A vast array of thought-provoking questions were asked by the moderator, Andras Volom – founder of V4SDG and former UN Youth Delegate of Hungary. To highlight a few, the concepts of “age bias”, generation myth, rewarding youth leaders, female vs male leadership were discussed.
We give a platform for young leaders to share their views The Youth Delegates of Germany and Hungary to the UN argue over education
Our panellists brainstormed on the common denominators of youth leadership across different groups, as well as essential values leaders should possess. The panellists agreed that youth leadership has a long way to go until recognition and that a lot of work needs to be done to help society realize the positive value of youth leadership. Showing the potential of young people in taking responsibility through sustainability action could be a way to build credibility and to prove that our generations are not worthless ‘smartphone-addicts’. The panel concluded with an openended discourse on revolution vs dialogue as a tool to make the voices of young leaders heard.
Panel 5 - ENV - SDG7/13
Panel 6 - SOC - SDG5
Future Energy Scenarios for the V4 : Transition to Climate Responsive Energy Production
Gender Equality: Women Leadership in the V4 for Sustainable Development
Dr. István Bart: Founder and Director at Climate Strategy Institute 2050 Ms. Ada Ámon: Chief of Energiaklub, Reseracher at E3G Mr. Ákos Dervalics: Manager of InnoEnergy HUB Hungary Moderated by Mr. Gáspár Békés: Student Activist and Sustainability Expert
H.E. Niclas Trouvé: Ambassador of Sweden to Hungary Ms. Eszter Szabó: Founding President of Women/Business/Angels Ms. Noa Nógrádi: Reseracher, University of Leeds Mr. Laurent Roux: Impact Officer at the European Institute of Technology Ms. Anett Fodor: Secretary-General of the Budapest Sports Union Moderated by Mr. András Volom: V4SDG - Visegrad for Sustainability, HeForShe
The panel on environmental SDGs 7 and 13 can be summarized as a thoughtful analysis of the current and potential future energy scenarios in the V4 countries. We were lucky to have extremely experienced professionals from the field as our panellists. From the beginning of the panel speakers clearly indicated the reality of substantial differences between V4 countries in terms of energy, highlighting that while Poland focuses on coal, Hungary is investing in nuclear. However, some commonalities include the four countries’ strong dependence on outside sources of energy, a lack of evidence-based policy making, a rigid attitude towards renewables and the fact that the region's energy policies are driven by outdated visions. When asked about the future of energy, panellists emphasized the challenges of energy security, as currently the focus is heavily on the supply side of the question with little thought given to the demand side of energy security. The priority should be to focus on energy infrastructure especially in residential use, such as insulating households. In terms of renewables, the most cost effective technologies in the region are wind and solar, however there are certain policies in place hindering the development of these technologies. Thus, society needs to change its perception of energy and demand more modern energy policies through a bottom-up approach for this field to be on it’s way to a sustainable future.
The panel on gender equality explored issues concerning the participation of women in leadership or lack thereof. To address gender inequalities, speakers have agreed that the creation of supportive networks is essential to the opening of ‘pipelines’, which channel solutions into institutions. Panellists have also agreed that the roots of lower female participation in leadership are to be found in our education systems, which prefer to put boys in the driving seat. We cannot expect lasting change unless this is changed for the benefit of both genders, as inequalities actually exert a negative effect, especially mentally, on boys as well. It was also discussed what men’s role should be in this story. Some speakers have emphasised that narratives of gender equality have often excluded men, which led to further division on the issue. As a middle ground, speakers agreed that a key factor in reducing gender inequality is concerning men’s willingness to provide the space for women to self-realization. While some of the speakers stood by the opinion that support of women is a win-win situation, others believed it is a zero-sum game within the job market and elsewhere. Lastly, it was highlighted that despite the panel’s original focus on women leadership, the role of men became the actual topic discussed, which shows that even in educated environments, male superiority of narrative prevails.
Panel 7 - ECO - SDG8/10 A Futuristic Vision of the V4: Catching Up With Globalization and Reducing Inequalities Mr. Balózs Dobos: Public Policy Analyst and Advisor at Századvég Institute Dr. Andrew Cartwright: Co-Director, School of Public Policy at CEU Dr. Tamás Pesuth: Economist and Finance Analyst, Corvinus University Ms. Nikolett Garai: Research Fellow, Institute of Foreign Affairs and Trade (HU) Moderated by Mr. Dominik Porvaznik: V4SDG - Visegrad for Sustainability Our world is on the path to total globalisation, but this process creates losers as much as winners. This panel has been looking at the challenges and inequalities created by international integration and the advancement of technology. Several issues have been explored by our panellists, including the global urban-rural divide and asymmetry of opportunities, the impact of emerging economies on V4 countries, as well as matters of identity-loss arising from globalisation. All in all, speakers have agreed that governments must act to mitigate inequalities, but with the inclusion of actors and institutions that have a clearer view on local and sectoral circumstances. Speakers have also discussed how artificial Intelligence and automation are looked upon as globally disruptive technologies threatening with the prospect of unemployment. Interestingly, in the V4 it may bring a solution to the problems of labour shortage, fuelled by the immigrationaverse policies of V4 governments. However, our countries are still not investing enough in education and R&D to facilitate a quick transition to high-value added economies, which would ensure competitiveness then. Thus, despite labour shortages, parallel unemployment may still be created by new technology increasing inequality, unless policies change.
Ms. Nikolett Garai sharing her thoughts on globalisation Could the V4 emerge as a winner as automation displaces its workforce?
Workshop 1 - ENV - SDG13 Climate Reality Project: How to Deliver Impactful Climate Actions? Ms. Márta Bonifert: Former Head of the Regional Environment Centre Mr. Zsolt Bauer: Branch Manager of the Climate Reality Project in Hungary The interactive workshop started with the introduction of the Climate Reality Project by Zsolt Bauer, the initiative’s branch manager in Hungary. Further on, the workshop was led by Marta Bonifert – former Head of the Regional Environmental Center. Among the audience we had students, experienced professionals, civil society members and political advisors. The central theme of the workshop was the reality of humanity not having a second planet, a plan B to rely on for the extraction of resources. Topics included local and global megatrends, business’s role in climate change, SDG performance in the EU and specifically in the V4 area and the European Ambition 2030. The audience agreed that the SDGs are all interconnected, and equally important, however, focus remained on the SDGs concerning the environment. Audience members discussed the achievements and downfalls of the 2015 Paris Agreement and expectations for the upcoming COP at Katowice, Poland. The workshop concluded with audience members sharing their experiences with climate movement initiatives and best practices in the industry. Topics included the healthcare impacts of climate change and the importance of bringing awareness amongst medical students to work on these issues, business’s role in sustainability, and the need for policy regulation on the governmental level.
Workshop 2 - ECO - SDG17
Workshop 3 - POL - SDG16
How to Build Multi-Sectoral Partnership for SDGs from an Economic Aspect?
Decreasing Natural Resources and Geopolitical Risks: A Strategic Simulation Exercise
Ms. Melinda Várfi: Co-Founder of Impact Hub Budapest Mr. Tamás Hovanyecz: Co-Initiator of SocialFokus
Mr. Sándor Madar: Sustainability Director of V4SDG - Visegrad for Sustainability
Wednesday’s second workshop was held by two professionals who work together within the confines of SocialFokus. Their purpose is to create a world in which conscious business is doing more and more for the community and environment. This idea completely fits in the philosophy of V4SDG and the Sustainable Development Goals.
In the first part of the workshop, Sándor discussed the theory of the Environment-Security Dimension which basically explains that the overused natural resources are irreplaceable and soon will become securitized as tools of geopolitical power. As a result of the depletion of vital natural resources, it is likely that in the future wars will be fought for them.
In line with the organisation’s participatory management focus, the workshop was built around the participants, who were divided into three separate groups and were given questions to discuss together. Think quickly, brainstorm, compose your opinion, point out a fact. Extremely hard tasks, even around people you know well but suddenly, the questions of Tamás and Melinda made sense: How should we start a conversation? How can we convey our message clearly to strangers?
We consider the environmental factor (climate change, increasing sea level and temperature) and the human factors (globalisation, exploitation, mismanagement of resources) as the two causes that contribute to the loss of biodiversity, growth of inequalities, famine and poverty. Water resources will play a significant role in the making of international relations. The diminishing reserves and the access to them are creating international instability, tension and conflicts as we can already see in the Middle East, Sub-Saharan Africa and in South Asia.
We began our lively coffee table discussions with the following questions: Are we stakeholders? If so, how can we contribute to the success of SDGs? What are the necessary conditions of a successful multi-stakeholder partnership? Sometimes we, as individuals, fail to realise that we are all stakeholders. Therefore, we do not think that we can influence and inspire the people around us with the ideas we come up with, the ideas of change. We must learn, get to know various perspectives, realise our opportunities and last, but not least: raise awareness. Create partnerships to have platforms where people can unite and take the initiative, in other words become active stakeholders who contribute to the goals of Sustainable Development. The ones who showed up to this workshop could connect with potential partners sharing the same mentality.
The second part of the workshop aimed to provide a realist overview of geopolitical risks of the globally decreasing natural resources. This simulation showed a possible future scenario by 2050 where the natural resource crisis reach a boiling point and only two things matter: water resources and their protection. The participants formed 4 teams and each team embodied one of the Visegrád countries, the Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia and Hungary. In this fictive Central European Region, each country needs a strategy to survive, either use diplomatic tools and cooperate with the others or impose sanctions, initiate proxy wars and choose to defect. The intense negotiations, the relief after a successful agreement, a working strategy made this game beyond enjoyable, it opened the eyes of the participants and provoked a lot of thoughts.
Workshop 4 - SOC - SDG5 Gender Inequality at Work: How to Eradicate the Gap Between Men and Women? Ms. Krisztina Zálnoky: HeForShe Initiative Ms. Federika Fait: V4SDG - Visegrad for Sustainability The speakers, Krisztina Zálnoky from HeForShe Initiative and Federika Fait from the V4SDG organising team, first informed the audience about basic facts and statistics concerning gender inequality in the world. Then, the organisers of the workshop quizzed the participants on why they think gender inequality is harmful and whether they have experienced it. An interesting point was raised during this segment; the world economy is underperforming by 3 trillion USD due to unequal salaries for men and women. During the second part of the workshop, the audience was divided into 5 groups and in each of them had to focus on two or more SDGs to find out why gender inequality makes achieving SDGs harder. In case of SDGs 1 and 2, a sole financial provider in families was identified as possible factor of poverty and hunger in developing countries. SDGs 3 and 4 are both connected to the quality and access to education, which, if secured, help in leading to healthy lifestyle. Goals 9 and 10 could be effectively reached if women were provided with sufficient infrastructure, such as kindergartens, which would allow them to participate in the job market. Last but not least, concerning SDGs 12 and 16, the most useful and effective way how to address the gender inequality issues was singled out to be through ambassadors of goodwill – famous people to whom world listens.
Gender Equality has been a topic of discussion on a panel too Here, the Swedish Ambassador discusses his government’s ‘feminist foreign policy’
Workshop 5 - ENV - SDG8/9 How to Tackle Climate Change with Cutting-Edge Innovation? Dr. Annamária Virág: Innovation Lead at Climate-KIC Hungary This workshop of the forum focused on tackling climate change with cutting-edge innovation. Our speaker discussed the importance of innovation in the current climate movement and brought multiple examples of successful clean-tech startups from the V4 region to inspire our audience. One of the key takeaways of the workshops was that systematic innovation through knowledge creation is only possible if different sectors co-operate: including business, higher education, researchers, cities/regions, and NGOs. She introduced the 2030 impact Goals with five focuses: urban transitions, sustainable land, education, sustainable production systems, decision metrics and finance. These five areas all represent opportunities to tackle climate change through innovation. The workshop ended with an interactive brainstorming session on innovative clean-tech ideas for the upcoming reconstruction of the “Duna Part” along the Danube river.
Workshops encourage participants to think and do together Solutions are more likely to be developed under such circumstances 19
Workshop 6 - SOC - SDG10 Social Injustices: A Unique Perspective from the Association of Alternative Communities Ms. Ágnes Molnár - Head of Alternatív Közösségek Egyesülete The Social Injustices Workshop was led by Ágnes Molnár, who is a community organizer and supporter of grass-root initiatives. The main goal of the event was to explore alternative solutions regarding social justice issues. Ágnes explained to participants - students, representatives of NGOs and the private sector - how her community copes with the problems they are facing. Participants were asked to come up with crucial social problems in the region and they agreed on outdated education. However, education is a huge problem and, given its complexity, it overreached the workshop’s scope. Therefore, Ágnes advised the audience to divide huge problems, as outdated education, into smaller issues that our group should focus on instead (e.g. future jobs), sharing work in a more efficient manner. The main takeaway of the workshop was that maybe even more than in other fields, in sustainability breaking up enormous social problems into smaller issues makes it possible to focus our efforts, find solutions faster, and resolve complex issues with a step-by-step method.
RO U N D TA B L E S
Roundtable 1 - POL - SDG4 Youth Leadership in the Quest for Sustainability: The Perspective of SDSN - Youth Ms. Isabel Perez Dobarro: Focal Point of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network - Youth to the United Nations The roundtable was led by Isabel Pérez Dobarro from SDSN Youth. The speaker briefly introduced her organisation’s history, describing how it was founded by former Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon. SDSN’s mission was summed up with the following key points: educating people, raising awareness, connecting young people globally, and supporting young leaders in finding innovative solutions that facilitate sustainable development. SDSN’s global operations were subsequently discussed, including helping small businesses, and organising conferences and mobilising campuses. Main initiatives were highlighted, such as the Youth Solution Report, the Global Schools programme, and the SDG Academy. The speaker discussed SDSN’s attempt at measuring progress regarding sustainability, the SDG Index. Some career pathways for youth leaders were identified, namely UN Careers, the Young Professionals Program, the Junior Professional Officer Program, and volunteering. Finally, it was discussed whether young people can fuel the fight for the SDGs. Although no conclusive argument was reached pro or contra, those on the roundtable agreed that without young people taking responsibility and pushing for more advocacy, the sustainability cause will not be able to take off.
Can youth leadership fuel the fight for sustainability? Maybe not on its own, but it certainly is crucial to it!
Roundtable 2 - SOC - SDG3
Roundtable 3 - ECO - SDG12
Diseases on the Move: Future Epidemic Risks as Consequence of Climate Change
Paradoxes of Waste vs. Consumerism: How to Reduce our Global Footprint?
Dr. Anna Páldy MPH PhD: Scientific Advisor at National Public Health Institute
Ms. Csilla Urbán: President of Humusz Szövetség
This roundtable has addressed one of the most important negative aspects of climate change: the immense shift in the spreading of certain diseases due to altered climatic circumstances. At the beginning, members of the roundtable had the chance to ask our speaker flash questions which perfectly set the tone for a friendly, informal discussion, something participants could experience throughout our forum.
The workshop was lead by Csilla Urban, president and zero waste program manager of Humusz Szövetség, a Hungary NGO with 20 years of experience in waste prevention and raising awareness.
The speaker gave an introduction to the national climate strategies of Hungary, as well as worst and best case scenarios concerning health related to increasing temperature. Afterwards she elaborated on how new epidemics, such as Malaria, Dengue, Chikungunya and Zika are threatening Europe via the migration of mosquitos that are now able to find suitable climate and environment and how the immune system can not react properly to the remarkably increasing temperature. Globalization, travelling and the exchange of goods could equally trigger epidemic outbreaks. She pointed out that the faster European countries address the issue of climate change and take action, the larger is the chance to prevent severe consequences.
The workshop focused on the three aspects of waste: environmental, social and economic. The audience had a chance to compare statistics about waste production across the EU as well as the V4 region and learned that Hungary’s values are below EU averages, however this is most likely due to the lower quality of life as compared with our Western partners, not with the country’s effectiveness in handling waste sustainably. The workshop focused on practical knowledge of and discussion on how one can reduce their waste production on a daily basis and approach a zero waste lifestyle. Tips included conscious consumption; recycling, repairing, reusing old items; composting; refusing plastic packaging and single use plastic; taking leadership and raising awareness about these practices in one’s proximity to build a zero waste movement.
All in all, it is necessary to emphasise the link between public health and environment - it is not enough yet -, and find viable solutions in order to leave behind us a healthier planet.
Roundtable 4 - POL - SDG11 Integrating Sustainability into Common Sense: What Can You Do as an Individual? Ms. Melinda Vรกrfi: Co-Founder of Impact Hub Budapest The first segment focused on how corporations in the fashion industry exploit low-salary labour in developing countries, exposing them to dangerous working conditions. Individuals have therefore a responsibility to buy more durable quality clothing and to avoid companies that have been proven to exploit employees. Often a small act can make a difference: the amount of electricity we use or the building materials our homes are made of can promote green and sustainable economies. Furthermore, reducing consumption of over-packaged products and avoidance of single-use plastic, such as straws, is desirable. The importance of a sustainable diet has also been highlighted. The consumption of animal-based food is known to contribute to a higher ecological footprint, as well as elevated health risks. By switching to a primarily plant-based diet, ordinary individuals can do a lot for the environment, as well as for reducing the overall expenses of public healthcare. It has been pointed out that, although governments and firms can have a wider impact than individuals, deep change is achievable through conscious behaviour of consumers. Finally, the importance of fact-checking information was emphasised.
Roundtable 5 - ENV - SDG9 How to Study Nature and Design the World: Biomimicry Mr. Péter L. Molnár: Co-Founder of Maform The roundtable on biomimicry was led by Péter Molnár, cofounder of the design company Maform, which is trying to find inspiration in biomimicry for their products. The discussion mainly focused on providing participants with general understanding of the topic as well as providing sources and inspiration for exploring the field. To put it shortly, biomimicry is about using patterns in nature to create structures, essentially learning from it and mimicking it. If we design products based on biomimicry, we can design products with less material and less energy demand. Natural design principles have an advantage in efficiency due to their evolutionary nature. It is no longer just about green design; it is holistic, integrated thinking. Such solutions are becoming more popular than sustainability itself. The three ways to execute a biomimicry project were laid out. The first is direct biomimicry – when we copy form or function of nature. Secondly, it could be learning nature’s ways – when we are utilizing natural formulas. Lastly, there is a level of understanding nature encompassing all previous steps which will lead to sustainable thinking.
Sometimes we disagree, but at the end of the day we want the same Dr. Tamás Pesuth and Dr. Andrew Cartwright discuss the future of V4 sustainability 25
Next? A New V4 Blueprint! Sustainability Vision for the Visegrad Group Our primary objective is to change the way decision-makers think of sustainability in the V4. More than that, we would like to see the V4 take lead in the global push for a sustainable world. But that will not happen if we do not have a clear idea of how to transform ourselves. For that end, V4SDG commits itself to developing a Sustainability Vision for the V4, a new blueprint for structuring cooperation in Central Europe, with the help of young leaders and eager professionals. Over the course of our forums, we will be collecting ideas specifically for our Vision, and hold tailor-made drafting workshops, where participants can directly engage with the development of the final document. Two foundational ideas guide us: 1) We are convinced that the V4 could best face its own issues by not simply embracing sustainability, but stepping to the forefront of the fight against long-term environmental, social and economic threats. Leadership inspires us! 2) We also believe that our Groupâ€™s experience with 40 years of Communism and deprivation equips us with unique skills to mediate between developed and developing nations in the quest for the goals of Agenda 2030.
Who is behind V4SDG? The Team and our Supporters As we said, V4SDG is a youth-led non-profit initiative. It is built by number of young professionals and university students from the Czech republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia who gained experience with sustainability and realised that in the V4 we must do more about it! We decided to revive the ‘Holnap (Tomorrow) Youth Foundation for Sustainability’ as the legal entity behind our project and managed to rally a committed team of 20 young people around it to make V4SDG happen.
András Volom, Founder of V4SDG with Ban Ki-Moon, former Secretary-General of the United Nations “The Idea of V4SDG popped into my head when I was serving as the first Youth Delegate of Hungary to the United Nations. Interacting with leaders and youth, both globally and locally, made me realise that even though sustainability is vital to my generation everywhere, our region really struggles to get the point, develop understanding and take action.”
Actors, who supported us in the planning come from different sectors, and include youth representatives, private corporations, the European Commission, Governments, the European Partners for the Environment, the Sustainable Development Solutions Network Youth, as well as the United Nations Major Group on Children and Youth, who granted V4SDG membership, making it possible for us to participate in the framework of the United Nations.
We have embarked on a journey to make the V4 and its citizens leaders in sustainability - join us in this endeavour! 27
Consider Supporting Us! Partnership and Sponsorship V4SDG is the new kid on the block, therefore we actively seek opportunities to learn, cooperate and partner with organisations and actors passionate about making sustainability a reality.
Partnership and Participation CZ & SK: Dominik Porvaznik, firstname.lastname@example.org, +421-94-413-1613 HU & PL: Federika Fait, email@example.com, +36-20-415-8011
Sponsorship Think about your organisationâ€™s social responsibility and support us with a financial contribution, materials, services or connections. Contact us to discuss details! Focal point: Krisztina Zalnoky, firstname.lastname@example.org, +36-20-551-8427 Feel free to get in touch with us regarding the details either via the contacts provided on the inside of the cover, or via the ones here!
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