Lessons of the Social Good Summit – Part 2

Social Good Summit, New York – UN Dispatch was on hand this week for the Social Good Summit in New York, listening and reporting on ideas from around the world for the post-2015 development framework and the world we want to see in 2030. With so many innovative ideas and presentations on social good in the world today, there was a lot to cover. In our round up of SGS, we aim to present the best lessons from all three days of the event. In Part 1, fellow UN Dispatcher Penelope Chester gave her thoughts on the strategies driving many of the initiatives discussed at SGS while here we look at some of the biggest themes addressed by the panels and individual participants.

The Youth are Our Future

A major focus of this year’s SGS was youth and the next generation of global leaders for social good. Whether it was the mobilizing power of philanthro-teens in next generation philanthropy or the change young girls are already bringing to their communities through social action, panel after panel made it clear that youth will be a central component of the post-2015 development framework. With roughly 50% of the world’s population under the age of 30 – representing the largest youth generation ever – they will be the ones tasked with carrying out and building upon many of the grand ideas presented at SGS. Based off the youth participants present at SGS, they are more than up to the task but they will need the support and investment of today’s generation to realize their full potential.

Talk and Action on Climate Change

The environment and climate change has been a topic covered at SGS in the past but this year it hosted several panels dedicated to raising awareness on the devastating costs of climate change as well as the hopeful solutions that many are working on. The timing of this focus is appropriate as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change prepares to release the first part of their Fifth Assessment on global climate change later this month. Several new initiatives regarding climate change debuted including WhatILove.org and LP Recharge which aim to boost understanding of the consequences of climate change as well as motivate people to work towards real change. But it wasn’t all about awareness building and activist talk; SGS included members of the business community such as Coca-Cola’s Chief Environmental Officer Jeff Seabright as well as Bad Robot founder J.J. Abrams to discuss what the private sector is doing to combat climate change and what more can be done going forward. Over the three days of events, panelists captured the many facets of the issue of climate change from the continuing problem of energy poverty in the developing world to the need to reign in carbon use through innovative solutions and carbon pricing in both developed and developing countries.

The Changing Nature of Global Health

Another major focus of this year’s event was that of global health and the numerous creative solutions being deployed today. From empowering young leaders in mobile health and working towards an end of malaria via mobile tracking to designing better supply chains for providing glasses in developing countries and utilizing flashmobs to increase sexual education in resistant communities, change makers are doing powerful work in the global health field. With more interest in global health than ever before, new solutions are being found to the issues of cost, access and education that have historically plagued healthcare around the world.

Of course many other topics were covered and all the videos from SGS are now available online. From highlighting social good to developing effective social action, this year’s event gave us all plenty to think about until next year.