United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

High-level International Conference Unlocking the Economic Potential for Sustainable Development

Geneva, Switzerland


One key feature of the new United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is improving access to basic services that contribute to poverty alleviation such as: sustainable and affordable energy; healthcare; education and affordable Internet/broadband; and safe drinking water. In the case of water, it is calculated that USD 20 trillion will be required to meet a target of universal access to safe drinking water by 2025.

Achieving this sustainable development goal, and others linked to basic services, is beyond the financial reach of both donors and the majority of governments.

As a result, the international community will need to develop new means of implementation based on partnerships, innovation and greater efficiency coupled with increased local expertise. The UNECE is in a unique position to contribute to these new means of implementation:

First, because of its working model which is already based on strong partnerships; Second, because of its wide range of standards, best practices and policies that support stronger partnerships, innovation, efficiency and greater local expertise.

The challenge of sustainable development is to reconcile the aspiration of current generations for economic prosperity with the need to preserve our planet for future generations. The changes required to make our production and consumption patterns more sustainable have the potential to spawn new industries and to open up new opportunities for economic growth.

This Conference will bring together leading policy makers and experts from the UNECE region to discuss how the UNECE can build on these opportunities in order to help countries unlock the economic potential for SDG implementation through international trade, innovation and public-private partnerships.

The conference will be divided into two segments, with the first focusing on the potential of trade and, particularly, agricultural trade to support SDG implementation with a focus on creating a more efficient, transparent and barrier-free trading environment. The second segment will focus on innovation policy and the promotion of PPPs, and how they can contribute to sustainable economic growth.


Related Goals