Walking Together Towards a Sustainable Future

We live in an increasingly complex world where seemingly intractable issues divide us as human beings and we remain disconnected from the natural world that sustains us. We have failed to heed the warnings of scientists of the urgency to solve foreseeable environmental problems. Global inequalities within and between countries are widening, disparities of opportunity, wealth and power persist, and gender equality remains a concern. Climate change is now affecting every country on every continent, and urgent action is needed to combat its impacts if we are to achieve any other global goal.

And yet as we look to the Indigenous peoples of the world and their knowledge to help guide us on a sustainable path, it is often they who find themselves on the front lines of the destructive forces wrought by decades of damage to our planet. How do we heal our relationships with both people and planet to walk together on a path towards more resilient societies?

With these challenges, however, comes opportunity. Canada can take an important step as part of its efforts toward reconciliation by ensuring our laws are in harmony with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). Globally, progress has been made to reduce extreme poverty. Access to education has greatly increased for both boys and girls. Innovations in communications, science, and technology hold potential to further accelerate improvements in social, economic and environmental realms.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is an ambitious 15-year plan of action for people, planet and prosperity, with 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) aimed at mobilizing efforts to end all forms of poverty, fight inequalities and tackle climate change, while ensuring that no one is left behind. It is a framework and a roadmap to coordinate and guide countries, organizations and citizens towards a sustainable future.

Complex issues require holistic approaches that are informed by diverse voices working together across sectors, disciplines, and borders. If we are to succeed in transforming our world to create the future we want, we must do so together. In a world of seemingly increasing divisiveness, how do we overcome barriers to walk together on a journey that will lead us onto on a path towards more sustainable and resilient societies?

Importantly, how do we work within our own communities to address local issues within this global framework? And what are the bold and transformative steps we desperately need to take that will allow us to travel the distance on this collective journey?

ACIC’s 2018 symposium will tackle these questions through a focus on climate change, indigenous issues, and collaboration, among others. It will be an opportunity to work across sectors and issues, erasing artificial silos and boundaries while bridging issues and voices, to promote values of pluralism, tolerance and respect.

The event will create a rich networking and learning environment through a combination of keynote speakers, panel discussions, and workshops, and will bring together international cooperation practitioners, youth, indigenous leaders, feminists, local governments, environmentalists, religious groups, issue-specific experts, advocates and academics to strengthen individual and collective capacity, and increase dialogue on making connections between the issues and the actions necessary to create a sustainable future, both locally and globally.

We hope you can join us!