From 7 – 9th November the 4th Symposium on Innovation for Sustainable Development took place in Brussels, Belgium. The workshop, organized by inno4sd.net, brought together a variety of international stakeholders to discuss policies and partnerships for a sustainable transition. Following up on our joint workshop in May, FSLCI was invited to join the workshop discussions.

During today’s last session of the workshop participants came up with a number of key take aways from the symposium. They highlighted that when it comes to supporting sustainable innovation, there is no lack of resources, but accessibility. They also noted that in general solutions to achieve a transition towards sustainable development would exist, yet their application and scaling up be hampered by a combination of hurdles (economic, political, social etc.). Participants also highlighted the general lack of awareness and understanding of the Sustainable Development Goals among the general public and called on the expert community to develop tailored messages that could also be used by a broad range of multipliers to reach a wider audience.

Participants also noted that incomplete information should not be a reason not to act, given the urgency of the multiple sustainability challenges that we are facing. While the need for long-term vision, roadmaps and strategic plans was recognized, people also highlighted the necessity to test solutions on the short term and adjust if necessary, rather then to wait. A shift from consumer-centered innovation towards life focussed innovation was also called for along with the need to better understand collective dynamics.

Finally participants highlighted the need to make knowledge more accessible and sharable and called for experts to create a greater sense of urgency around addressing sustainability. They also suggested to strengthen multilateral cooperation and learning exchanges across borders.

In summary, the workshop served as a great meeting point the brought together various stakeholders from a wide range of networks and initiatives. In going forward, the Inno4SD network will continue to serve as a facilitator on the meta-network level and we look forward to remaining engaged in their activities.

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