If two is company and three is a crowd, what is 1097? We would call it a critical mass in the new Sustainable Development ListServe (SDG) virtual community that we launched last week.
As the announcement for this ListServe indicated, the International Institute for Sustainable Development in collaboration with the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs Division for Sustainable Development (UNDESA DSD) established this service to bring together the global community of sustainable development thinkers, planners and activists. Our aim is to highlight, support and enhance ongoing work in the field of sustainable development. We are pleased to have tapped into such an interest among our readers, with the growth of this ListServe breaking our previous record for the shortest time in which one of our lists has grown from 0 to 1000 subscribers.
As this issue of Linkages Update clearly indicates, the number of actors and actions related to global sustainable development policy are growing exponentially. Last week, members of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development gathered at UN Headquarters in New York, US, to discuss agriculture, rural development, land, drought, desertification and Africa, with many discussions focusing on the food crisis. Meanwhile, half a world away, Ministers from the Developing-8 countries were meeting in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, for a three-day Ministers’ Meeting on Food Security and adopting the Kuala Lumpur Initiative to Address Food Security. At the same time, the HarvestChoice website of the International Food Policy Research Institute was making available a data collection focused on factors relevant to crop production and marketing in sub-Saharan African agriculture, such as climate, soil and pest conditions and constraints, and access to markets. And UN Peacekeepers in Liberia were implementing the “Bangla-Bong Ideal Village” project, which aims to use food security as a strategy for building and strengthening the peace process. These stories represent examples from just one issue area.
But organizing good meetings, reports and projects is not the final step if we are to achieve good outcomes at a global scale. Communication between actors, levels and fora has become all the more important. Successful projects should be replicated and scaled up, and those involved need to identify the reasons for success and share their accumulated expertise.
Our aim with our growing number of listserves
is to encourage such communication. As the international community of policy makers and other key actors working on sustainable development continues to grow, we have made a commitment here at IISD Reporting Services to support your work through our online communities and communication tools. If the dramatic growth of our new SDG ListServe is any indicator, we believe we are on the right track.