Among the various commitments aimed at achieving innovation models in society, in economic and labor processes and in environmental contexts, the States General of Innovation participate in the activities of ASviS – Alliance for Sustainable Development – committed to achieving the goals set by the UN for 2030.
The Annual Assembly was held on December 17, 2018 ASviS at the headquarters of Confcooperative in Via Torino in Rome.
Dunia Pepe, together with other SGI members, is delegated to take part in the ASviS working groups.
We are pleased to publish your meeting report.
The ASviS spokesman Enrico Giovannini wanted to underline, first of all, how the Alliance witnessed, also in 2018, a significant growth in members. For 2019, the goal is to reach a thousand events in the Festival and strengthen the models of education and awareness of sustainable development. During the Assembly, the final balance sheet for 2018 and the planning guidelines for 2019 were approved.
The Italian Alliance for sustainable development, Giovannini explained, has more than 220 member organizations, with the participation of many of the most significant subjects of civil society. The working groups set up and operating within it address not only the challenges of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals but also transversal issues such as culture, industry, finance, making use of the contribution of over 300 experts from member organizations, united in a dialectical work for the formulation of common proposals.
"In 2018, the Alliance achieved numerous and important results exceeding what was initially foreseen, establishing itself as one of the most dynamic realities of Italian civil society". In particular:
- ASviS represents the broadest coalition of civil society ever formed in Italy;
- in international comparison, ASviS is considered a unique case in terms of number of members and extent of the field of activity;
- the presence in the media and the influence of the Alliance in the public debate have grown considerably and today Italian society has a much higher awareness of Agenda 2030 than in the recent past;
- the Alliance's proposals had a decisive influence on the governance design of the National Sustainable Development Strategy, approved by the CIPE in December 2017, and on the contents of the Prime Minister's directive of March 2018.
In 2018, ASviS's commitment to developing and proposing policy saw two fundamental moments: before the elections, the Alliance met with all the parties and movements, on the basis of its proposals summarized in a handbook. This action has found significant confirmation in the adherence to the ideas of the Alliance by almost all the forces competing in the elections. On 4 October 2018, the ASviS 2018 Report on Italy and the Sustainable Development Goals was presented at the Chamber of Deputies, the analyzes of which, for the first time, also extended to the regional dimension.
The second Sustainable Development Festival, which took place between May and June, recorded 702 events throughout the country, more than triple the previous edition of this event, with a significant contribution from Rus, the Network of Universities for sustainable development, and of numerous cities such as Bologna, Parma, Bari.
The Alliance's communication action was strengthened through the site, which saw traffic doubled compared to 2017 with over 220,000 individual users, and social media, where followers grew from 3,500 to over 15,700 on Facebook and from 1,650 to 6,800 on Twitter, while systematic video communication was also launched through a weekly news programme.
In the field of education for sustainable development, 2018 saw the implementation of numerous activities, starting with the first Summer School organized by ASviS in collaboration with other subjects in Siena. ASviS also continued the dialogue established with the Miur starting from a Memorandum of Understanding signed at the end of 2016. In particular, in 2018 the second edition of the ASviS-Miur national competition was held for Italian schools on SDGs, entitled “Let's score 17 goals. Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”. The e-learning course illustrating the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs system was made available to Italian teachers and was followed by around 33,000 people.
The activity of ASviS has also been strengthened in the creation of original and innovative statistical and analytical tools to analyze the path towards the SDGs. In addition to national indicators, this year the Alliance has also produced composite indicators to measure the dynamics of the European Union and individual countries.
Starting from the year 2018, the ASviS Report has analyzed Italy's progress in implementing the 2030 Agenda also at a regional level, monitoring on the basis of a set of statistical data, the country's distance from the 17 Sustainable Development Goals and highlighting the steps taken during the year. On the occasion of the ASviS Report, the composite indicators were therefore also published which summarize, on the basis of almost 80 elementary statistical indicators, the trend, for each SDG, of each region with respect to Italy.
Since its birth in 2016, the Alliance has grown strongly, setting increasingly advanced goals. The greatest commitment, to bring Italy on a path of sustainable development, is certainly that of stimulating politics towards coordinated action for the achievement of the Objectives of the 2030 Agenda, a coordination that can only be achieved by involving the whole government through the Presidency of the Council, because sustainability is not only environmental, but also social and economic.
We must intensify our work in Italian society, explains Giovannini, make our proposals ever more concrete and stringent, support the regions and metropolitan cities in drawing up their own sustainable development plans. The world of business and finance is gradually appreciating the importance of the transition to sustainable development. In the future, the circular economy will be the parameter of success in production and in comparison with the market. The growth of "impact finance", attentive to the values of the environment, sociality and governance, imposes on companies new criteria for analyzing their activities against their own stakeholders. It will be appropriate, albeit in a simplified form, to extend non-financial reporting to medium-sized enterprises as well, to allow them to access "green finance".
“Finally Europe. We know well, observes Giovannini, that there is no way to implement a policy of sustainability if there is no European concert. The forthcoming elections will be a great opportunity for reflection and stimulus to align the programs of the parties and of the future Commission with the objectives of the 2030 Agenda". ASviS for its part will continue to make proposals, dealing with the parties, defending the values of solidarity, environmentalism and international cooperation which are indispensable for achieving the Objectives. During 2019, the attentions of ASviS si will focus particularly on the issues of poverty, the energy transition and the possibilities for the development of the circular economy which could represent a great revolution.
The processes oriented towards sustainability, Enrico Giovannini observes, are growing a lot in companies, in civil society and also at an international level. However, as the ASviS 2018 Report revealed, both at national and European level, there is still little clarity on the structure of the governance which should bring about the epochal transformation indicated by the 2030 Agenda. In Italy, coordination between government policies for sustainable development has not actually been implemented. There are interventions in the budget law that go in the right direction, but there is still a lack of an overall picture and a clear direction from management.
Precisely in this sense it is possible to say, from Enrico Giovannini's perspective, that… “we are not here. Looking at the available data and the concrete actions taken in the last three years, it begins to become evident that the world, Europe and Italy are unlikely to respect the commitments solemnly made on 25 September 2015, with the signing of the 2030 Agenda for the Sustainable Development. Despite the improvement observed in many global indicators relating to economic and social issues, and the actions taken in the right direction by many countries, thousands of businesses and cities, the cultural discontinuity and strategic choices necessary have not yet been determined to achieve, by 2030, the 17 Sustainable Development Goals to which all world leaders have committed".
As far as Italy is concerned, the bpolitical issues that could qualify ASviS in 2019 should therefore concern, first of all, the promotion of an annual law for sustainable development that brings together the proposals of the working groups. It's not easy to achieve, but the birth of the parliamentary intergroup on sustainable development, which needs to be expanded to cover all political forces, could be an opportunity in this direction.
The second aspect is the collection of signatures for the inclusion of sustainable development in the Constitution. For ASviS it is a push to ensure that this proposal is shared by the entire Parliament, because by touching the first part of the Constitution it is essential that we approach unanimous consent.
The third important aspect, which has a strong political component, is the regionalization of the Agenda: if the Regions effectively adopt the proposal to develop regional sustainable development strategies, ASviS could support the various initiatives by creating a network of joint actions which then perhaps they could be transferred to the state level.
A final important element during the year is the European theme, i.e. understanding how the 2030 Agenda will be implemented in the programmatic profile of the various political forces and in the priorities that the future Commission will propose.
Civil society forces such as ASviS can play a role to show the next Commission and the next parliamentary majority the benefits of choosing a fully sustainable future. We know there are resistances. Not all businesses are ready to take the leap, not all governments are ready, not all citizens are ready, but it is clear that neither the European Commission, nor the Council, nor Parliament alone will be able to win back the hearts of Europeans only thanks to a single regulation or a single correct directive; they will only do so if civil society manages to share and support the project of a Europe that is the world champion of sustainable development. This is up to the intelligence of politics.
ASviS is also trying to address some very important issues, linked in different ways to the objectives of sustainable development, such as climate change, inequalities, unemployment and young people. In the first place, it will be necessary to understand how the basic income, which should be, will be positioned an intervention for the unemployed and therefore to favor access to work, but which in any case cannot affect all the poor. In Italy today there are even 300,000 minors in absolute poverty, who clearly cannot be sent to work. “The second hot topic, according to Giovannini, will be the energy and climate transition: what measures does Italy intend to take to implement the sharp cut in emissions already established at European level? We know that Italy has a share of renewables that is already higher than the 2020 target, but we don't have a plan on how to move forward. There are very important economic implications and consequences”.
With regard to the role of businesses and finance, according to Giovannini, it is possible to draw a significant parallel: “… a Marxist would say that globalization was an invention of capitalism to avoid implosion, because by expanding the market to billions of people it has certainly given such a boost as to gain many years compared to the hypothesis of a collapse determined by the reduction of growth rate of the economy. I wonder if one day someone will say that the transition to sustainable development will be a new way that capitalism has invented to avoid its collapse. This reflection made me think that we need leadership: even globalization did not start from the bottom, there have been political leaders who have decided to let China enter the WTO and open the markets, generating a process that has raised billions of people of poverty, even if it has accelerated the process of destruction of the planet”.
Today perhaps we have the opportunity to truly create, with adequate leadership, a new narrative for sustainable capitalism and, probably, companies see this opportunity too. Such a transformation also has important statistical-accounting implications. Just as globalization has undermined the meaning of the national GDP (the estimate of which has lost precision due to the activities of multinationals), with the circular economy we must also change the criteria for evaluating companies. If a company or sector switches to a circular economy which drastically reduces the cost of materials, raw materials and intermediate goods, this innovation may not change the main indicator of competitiveness at all, which is given by the cost of labor per unit of product.
Globalization, with competition from low-wage emerging countries, has pushed down labor costs in industrialized countries and fueled a rapacious capitalism. But if the trend towards sustainable development goes towards reducing the other 70% of costs, how will the world work? We don't even have the measuring tools to tell. And yet, we must equip ourselves to measure that epochal change that will perhaps save us.
A final observation by Enrico Giovannini in response to an interview by Donato Speroni concerns his judgment on the Alliance for sustainable development. To the question: "Did you expect it like this?" Giovannini replies: “I dreamed about it like this. I mean a plural subject, but truly plural, capable, with all the difficulties and also the inevitable superficialities of the case, of holding together parts of civil society that do not necessarily think in the same way”. The alliance has brought together males and females, young and old. If today in Italy we talk about the UN Agenda 2030, for the protection and development of the planet, it is largely thanks to ASviS. The Alliance has also become a point of reference for subjects far from these issues who were not initially involved in the slightest.