COVID-19 and Lessons Learned for Sustainable Development: The COVID-19 Recovery Scenarios for Young People in Melbourne’s Inner North Project

The Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) for Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific (SDSN AusNZPac – see below for further information) member forum on 25 November 2020 discussed what we can learn from the COVID crisis that will help us accelerate progress on the SDGs as we go forward

The forum panel was headed by Professor Jeffrey Sachs a prominent, award winning economist, and leading figure in the development of the concept of ‘sustainable development’, and of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs – link). See this link for more information on Sachs –  

I was invited to be a part of the panel and to give a short presentation on the project in the inner north. 

In the presentation I gave a brief overview of the project, including the three draft scenarios that we have developed. 

I also outlined what we saw as some of the critical lessons learned about the promise and possibility of socially just, sustainable development in a world marked by disruption, crisis, inequalities and injustice. Particularly for many young people – individually and as members of certain groups and populations. The ‘C word’ referred to in the slide below = CAPITALISM! 

The video of the entire presentation can be found here – my presentation starts at around 32:30 (although all the presentations are interesting, and it is interesting to see the ways in which an economist such as Sachs, who operates mostly at very high, intergovernmental levels, sees these crises and their challenges). 

Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) for Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific. 

The Global SDSN Network 

The Global SDSN Network 

The Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) mobilises scientific and technical expertise from academia, civil society, and the private sector in support of sustainable development problem solving at local, national, and global scales. It engages scientists, engineers, business and civil society leaders, and development practitioners and promotes solutions initiatives that demonstrate the potential of technical and business innovation to support sustainable development. In addition, it 

  • Provides expert advice and support to the post-2015 development agenda 
  • Organises Thematic Groups that mobilise global expertise in priority areas 
  • Identifies and promotes solutions that can significantly accelerate progress towards sustainable development 
  • Builds a global network involving universities, civil society and companies to accelerate practical problem solving for sustainable development 

The SDSN was launched in August 2012 under the auspices of the UN Secretary-General. It is led by Professor Jeffrey Sachs and its Secretariat is housed at Columbia University. 

SDSN Australia, New Zealand & Pacific 

SDSN Australia, New Zealand & Pacific (formerly SDSN Australia/Pacific) fosters global SDSN activities within the region by developing and promoting solutions, policies and public education. 

The roles of the Regional Network include: 

  • To mobilise SDSN Members in the region and coordinate the activities of the Regional Network 
  • To publicise regional and global SDSN activities amongst policy makers, private sector and NGOs 
  • To promote regional solutions initiatives 
  • To coordinate and contribute to the SDSN’s policy support to governments in the region 
  • To organise annual regional sustainable development meetings bringing together key actors from the region to identify and promote regional solutions initiatives 
  • To identifies opportunities for broadening the network 

The Regional Network is hosted by Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. 

Feature Image Credit


By Peter Kelly

I am a Professor of Education at Deakin University.

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