The biophysical environment, socioeconomic conditions and the livelihoods of people are increasingly being impacted to the state of being in flux owing to climate change and the increase in global warming.

The 2015 COP21 in Paris proved historic, as a legally binding global climate target was agreed by all 196 member parties with the aim of capping climate change well below two degrees of warming. This landmark agreement set out a global action plan to drive a global low carbon transition. The annual pledge of $100 billion to support this process in developing countries will help advance opportunities for innovation where climate change mitigation and adaptation is most urgently required.

COP 22 in Marrakech, Morocco marked the first COP serving as the ‘Meeting of the Parties’ to the Paris Agreement – providing a platform for cross-sector stakeholders to come together to build a low carbon future. It marked the beginning of the very important process of turning the UN’s Paris Agreement into a detailed blueprint for action. The key development at COP 22 was that the context changed from agreement to actual implementation. Going ahead, climate change mitigation would be guided more by economics rather than politics.

Taking forward, this trajectory of developments; COP23 proved to be an important milestone. Notable also for the fact that it will was organised by Fiji, a small Pacific island state particularly vulnerable to the consequences of climate change like rising ocean levels and extreme weather phenomena. This opportunity with Fiji helped highlight the plight and predicament of all islands states across the globe that face immediate threat from climate change and numerous daily challenges.

While adoption of mitigation strategies and interventions as reflected through the individual Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) is a priority. However, partnerships, joint actions, collective plans and corrective policies are also the need of the hour.

The next edition of WSDS is slated for February 15-17, 2018 under the broad rubric of ‘Partnerships for a resilient planet’, which will mobilise leadership from every corner of the globe, and from every sector of human activity, to focus on deeper challenges and draw consensus for an equitable development paradigm. It will create momentum going forward by exploring the means by which enlightened solutions being employed in several parts of the world at myriad levels – local, sub-national, national and regional can be applied globally.

In last one year, the WSDS Secretariat has hosted multiple activities at different geographical locales and at the sub-national level in the Indian cities of Kolkata, Mumbai and Bengaluru to discuss issues and concerns; in the process, amalgamating unique and exclusive solutions which will ultimately be tabled at the WSDS 2018 platform.

The occasion is pivotal and opportune to combine efforts, launch joint endeavors and establish collective enterprises which will help the global community equal its challenges and meet its responsibilities.

Thematic tracks

Thematic tracks allow for discussions of considerable depth and detail on niche topics. The tracks are held as parallel break-away session on some of the most vital issues, in sync with the overall Summit theme and sub-themes. Interspersed with plenary sessions, these thematic tracks are populated by experts and key practitioners from the grassroots. In the past, we have witnessed some very innovative and engaging sessions on topics such as Linking Climate Risks to Policy & Practice; Mainstreaming Biodiversity for Responsible Business; Climate Resilient Agriculture; Resource Efficiency & Circular Economy; Realizing the Electric Mobility Vision; Challenges & Strategies to Mobilise Climate Finance; Youth Ecopreneurs; etc.

This year WSDS will be hosting 17 distinct thematic tracks, deliberating on an array of sustainable development issues and solutions

Thematic track partners