31 March 2020
virtual, worldwide

The World in 2050 Writing Meeting 2020

The World in 2050 Initiative meets virtually to work on its next report focusing on innovations for sustainability and implications of COVID-19

Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

The World in 2050 (TWI2050) initiative meets virtually to develop its 2020 report.

The focus will be on innovations for sustainability and COVID-19. 

The world and almost all regions are currently off course from achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Yet with bold and appropriate changes in values and deployment of policy instruments, the world can be steered towards achieving the SDGs by 2030 and providing a just and equitable future for all on a stable and resilient planet. These changes need to be based on the fact that sustainable development is a societal as well as an environmental challenge. The key is to invest in future priorities such as high-quality schools, improved health systems, efficiency and zero-carbon energy, environmental conservation and restoration, better food systems, more sustainable lifestyles, good governance institutions, and global cooperation initiatives to leverage dynamics towards the implementation of the SDGs.

Despite the magnitude of the challenge and the current trajectory, the transformation to a sustainable future is achievable – we have the knowledge, means and capacity. However, at this point in time there is a general lack of political will within many governments across the globe to mobilize the necessary resources and make the required policy and structural changes. It is critically important that the level of global commitment and cooperation displayed during the development of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda continue unabated and strengthened during this critical implementation phase.

A new wave of nationalism, populism, ethnic awareness, and loss of values is emerging in many countries around the world. People feel threatened by accelerating change, driven by globalization, digitalization, and also the sustainable development transformation. Most recently this has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, one of the greatest threats to humanity. The closing of the borders and ‘my country first’ attitudes have further amplified the perceived threats, failures and lack of resilience in current global economic and social systems. At the same it has also resulted in some of the best human characteristics; self-sacrifice in helping others, empathy and solidarity despite the need for social distancing. This also provides an opportunity to build positive narratives oriented towards the future, human centered visions on local, national, and global levels. We need significant investments in social cohesion and robust transformative alliances to enable transformational changes towards sustainable development and to avoid societal backlashes driven by insecurity, injustice and disenfranchisement. It is even more important now to integrate social and economic goals with climate, water, oceans, biodiversity and other Earth-systems so that sustainable development is not threatened in the long term.

Participation is by invitation only.

The report will be presented at the 2020 High-level Political Forum.

The World in 2050 (TWI2050) initiative

The TWI2050 initiative endeavors to demonstrate how the objectives of sustainable development within planetary boundaries can be met, ensuring prosperity, social inclusion, and good governance for all. TWI2050 is a global research initiative launched by the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), and the Stockholm Resilience Centre (SRC). The initiative brings together a network of more than 150 participants that includes leading policymakers, analysts, modeling and analytical teams from 60 organizations from around the world to collaborate in developing pathways toward sustainable futures and the policy frameworks needed for implementing the SDGs, and more importantly, for achieving the needed transformational change.

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Last edited: 25 March 2020


Nebojsa Nakicenovic

Emeritus Research Scholar Transformative Institutional and Social Solutions Research Group - Energy, Climate, and Environment Program


International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Schlossplatz 1, A-2361 Laxenburg, Austria
Phone: (+43 2236) 807 0 Fax:(+43 2236) 71 313