To ensure that the UNWDF is a sustainable international conference, respecting the principles of sustainability, the Swiss Confederation has drawn up a list of actions and recommendations and incorporated into a sustainability concept.
Work on the sustainability concept began in December 2019. The concept was written by the Project Road to Bern team/UNWDF in cooperation with the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA), the Federal Office for Spatial Development (ARE) and the Federal Office of Energy (SFOE). To develop the concept, the project team also consulted its partners, the United Nations, the Kursaal Bern AG, the SWISS airline, Bern Welcome, Switzerland Tourism and CBM Global, who work closely with International Disability Alliance.
The conference will respect the three dimensions of sustainable development, comprising economic, social and environmental aspects. The concept focuses mainly on the environmental impact of the UNWDF 2021, as the negative consequences of the conference will impact on the environment. As a number of participants will take part in the forum online, the conference’s hybrid format will help to reduce this negative impact.
The biggest challenges will be reducing CO2 emissions and dealing with waste management and water consumption – without forgetting social and economic aspects. Of course, we also need to ensure gender equality, a balanced geographic representation, accessibility for persons with disabilities and the economic benefits that the event can bring to the region of Bern and Switzerland.
The proposed measures are mainly concerned with the following points:
- Carbon neutrality
- Social aspects
- Economic aspects
- Sustainable conferences
This is the first time that the forum is being organised with sustainability in mind. As host country, the Swiss confederation hopes to provide a setting conducive to constructive discussions to improve the use of data and ensure that no one is left behind. It also wishes to respect the environment, human beings and the local economy.
Furthermore, with this sustainability concept, the Swiss Confederation wishes to provide principles that may be useful to organisers wishing to hold sustainable events in the future. The partnerships built and maintained throughout preparation for the Forum involve the transfer of knowledge and experience to the organisers of future events. The measures and recommendations defined in this concept will certainly be useful in setting up more sustainable events in future.