Cape Town will host the 6th World Sustainability Forum at the Cape Sun Hotel on 27 and 28 January 2017. This prominent event, held for the first time in Africa, will include many illustrious South African and international experts, such as Her Excellency Graça Machel (Sustainable Development Advocate for the United Nations, Mozambique), Joyene Isaacs (HoD Agriculture Western Cape Government), Jeffrey Sachs (Columbia University, USA), Max Bergman (SRaM, University of Basel), Mark New (Pro Vice-Chancellor, University of Cape Town), Frans Swanepoel (FutureAfrica, University of Pretoria) and Francis Petersen (Vice-Chancellor-designate, University of the Free State). The Forum will provide a stage for national and international debates on sustainability in South Africa, the African continent, and about international perspectives on sustainability. It brings together researchers and representatives from government and the business sector to discuss a wide-ranging set of issues associated with sustainability, including food security, water and energy scarcity, mining, poverty reduction, climate change, and urbanisation.
The next few decades will be marked by profound changes in the relationships between global economics, national societies, and the environment. We have entered what some call the Anthropocene, an age in which human activity dominates the climate and the environment. These changes will have numerous consequences on societies around the globe. South Africa and Africa will play a central role, for better or worse, in creating opportunities and risks during these changing times as Africa is profoundly influencing and being influenced by global developments.
The adoption of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in September 2015 was accompanied by what insiders considered an optimism they have not experienced in relation to UN resolutions before. The relative efficiency in the drafting, the lack of trenches between East and West, or between North and South, and the unanimity of support of the 193 countries speak volumes. In stark contrast, sustainability seems to go against a changing economic and political tide, where waves of nationalism and protectionism from some of the most powerful countries risk the wellbeing of the rest of the world. The 6th World Sustainability Forum will enable fruitful exchanges, which sensitise South African and international communities to the global urgency and specifics of sustainability.
The Forum will showcase the work of internationally renowned researchers and include more than 150 presentations. During the conference dinner, the World Sustainability Award, associated with a US$ 100 000 prize, will be announced, as well as the Emerging Sustainability Leader Award, associated with a US$ 10 000 prize. The prizes are sponsored by the MDPI Sustainability Foundation and Sustainability, an academic open access journal by MDPI. The World Sustainability Forum is preceded by the Postgraduate Forum on Sustainability, which will introduce more than 100 young scholars from South Africa and the African continent to sustainability research. Both events are organized and sponsored by the University of Cape Town, the University of the Western Cape, the University of Basel, MDPI, and by the National Research Foundation of South Africa.
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