In 2015, the United Nations (UN) General Assembly adopted the 2030 Agenda and its 17 SDGs. The conference will critically address the question of how countries can achieve the 17 SDGs of the 2030 Agenda and to provoke forward thinking on developing new methods and approaches to suit the challenges and opportunities of this new era of digital revolution. These new approaches call for actions to create different appropriate ways of doing things and of doing new things that will be essential to solve our future problems and help in the implementation of the 17 SDGs of the 2030 Agenda. Systematic search for opportunities is important for helping to ameliorate the many problems facing countries. We must therefore produce, consume and organise ourselves differently.

However, until the late 1960s, in most developed and emerging countries, the state has been the major sector responsible for promoting economic and social development, therefore, in addition to the public sector, the conference will recognize the role of the private sector together with the public sector (please refer to the United Nations Joint Inspection Unit (JIU) 2018 report on the Role of Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) in the Implementation of Agenda 2030 for more details and recommendations). The private sector can play a larger role in helping governments and academia focus investments on high-priority and high demand skills, thus young students are ready for employment the moment they graduate. The aim of the conference is to strengthening the role of both public and private sectors in achieving the UN 17 SDGs of the 2030 Agenda.

Furthermore, according to the recent report by JIU 2019 titled “Strengthening the policy research uptake in service of the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development, achieving the 17 SDGs of the 2030 Agenda also requires evidence-based policies and planning at every level and therefore the conference will also include substantial components on evidence-based research and policy planning.

More importantly, JIU 2016 report “Knowledge Management in the United nations System“, identified the important contribution of Knowledge Management (KM) to the implementation of the new holistic and collaborative approach on which the 2030 Agenda is based. JIU argued that knowledge can be the most natural integrative factor system-wide and for all the stakeholders in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.

Youth Engagement and Women Empowerment
WASD is very keen to encourage the engagement of children and youth from across the world in the conference. We are keen to make the voice of all our children and youth heard and consequently enabling the decision makers to consider those views and ideas in their big decisions. Youth are growing fast and governments allover the world expect their universities and research institutions to make a leading contribution by producing graduates ready to grasp the various opportunities generated in the digital economy. It is therefore important that all Higher Education (HE) institutions and societies to consider the youth in all their curriculum design, programs development as well as fulfilling their role as major agents in the realisation of the various future strategic visions in all countries in the world.

Women across the world have an untapped potential as a primary mover of greater development within their countries and regions. Their role is very crucial for increased development, but challenges remain. And so, significant reforms in economic, social, and political institutions must be made to create an enabling environment for women participation and empowerment. However, it appears that investments in human development are not readily translated to better economic and political outcomes for women. Unfortunately, women’s potential and crucial role in development across the world is still impeded by these economic and social factors. Women’s participation is also very important in advancing peace, unity and combating terrorism, which is a most serious threat to SD across all regions of the world. It has also been recognized that women have been largely excluded from the processes of conflict management and prevention and that their role is important in the achievement of lasting peace and security (UN, 2015). With this, there is a need to increase women’s participation in peace processes since out of 31 global peace processes from 1992 to 2011, only 4% of key stakeholder representatives were women (UN WOMEN, 2011 cited in OXFAM, 2016). Women in peacekeeping missions are also crucial given their broad set of skills that helps in improving trust in communities as a whole (OXFAM, 2016). In general, women’s participation helps in accelerating resolution and countering terrorism while ensuring that women’s rights are protected.