Sold out conference paves the way for UN Sustainable Development Goals

VIDEO: The 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals give hope for both companies and nations - even if they are criticized for not being sufficient. The goals were the theme of a NIRAS-led conference framing the World Prize for International Integrated Development Award to Swedish Gapminder.

16. Sep 2016

Two black fingers, a bit of saliva and some clay scratched off the wall.

The vivid picture of how members of the Banda family in Malawi are brushing their teeth is followed by that of the Västibacken Family from Uppsala in Sweden. They have two electric toothbrushes standing in their clean, tiled bathroom.

The contrasts of the World are remarkably pointed out as co-founder of the Swedish Gapminder Anna Rosling Rönnlund demonstrated the organization's latest initiative called Dollar Street. In short, Dollar Street is an image database which documents how the world population from the poorest to the richest family live and work. And as such it is an excellent example of why the United Nations has specified 17 Sustainable Development Goals to be achieved before 2030.

Gapminder awarded € 20,000

Anna Rosling's presentation was part of the conference "The Global Goals in Action", which NIRAS and DI held Friday, September 9 as the setting for the presentation of The Global Prize for International Integrated Development for just Gapminder.

Professor Lindsay Falvey, who as chairman of the prize committee had taken the trip from Melbourne, Australia, motivated the choice of Gapminder by stressing how the organization lives up to the aim of the prize of "integrating all aspects of human well-being", and how the three founders with Hans Rosling in the lead use data to change our view of the world.

"The inaugural World Prize is awarded to Hans Rosling and his Gapminder organization, which has developed epochal communications as non-profit and open source tools that makes it possible for teachers, politicians and other communicators to present holistic topics based on reliable statistics to counter myths and entrenched prejudices. It is indeed fitting that the Prize, which acknowledges the integrity of all aspects of life and learning as the basis for comfortable human existence, goes to Gapminder and Hans Rosling. The Prize seeks to maintain the legacy of past wise integrators in international development and to encourage increased integration of thinking and action across the sector. Gapminder’s leadership in this endeavor is an inspiration to us all," Lindsay Falvey noted in his speech.

Sustainability manager at Chr. Hansen A/S, Annemarie Meisling spoke about how the ingredient producing business work with integrating the SDGs into the company strategy. Specifically, Chr. Hansen A/S ended up with a number of objectives that are directly linked to a number of sub-goals in the SDG.

Bhutan measures Gross National Happiness

Finally, the former prime minister of Bhutan, Mr. Jigmi Thinley adressed the audience. His presentation put the 17 SDGs into perspective.

"For instance, happiness is not mentioned in SDGs. And basic human well-being is only mentioned in a very narrow context. Nevertheless, the Sustainable Development Goals are a good start," said Jigmi Thinley, who during his time as prime minister introduced Gross National Happiness as a key metric for Bhutan.

See the video recording from the conference below. Here, you can also see CEO Carsten Toft Boesen explain why we have chosen to sponsor the World Prize for International, Integrated Development.