Heroes of Environmental Diplomacy: Profiles in Courage 

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What is Sustainable Development

I was interviewed by James Silverman earlier in the year on his platform U&i which is the idea that individuals and communities are the fundamental drivers for sustainable change. It’s about you and I leading the change to achieve sustainable development.

"What is Sustainable Development and what are the SDGs? The global goals and agenda 2030 are being implemented across the world- what needs to be done to implement them effectively, but also ensure the goals are making the right changes?

We talk to Felix Dodds about this question. Felix was instrumental in getting SDG 11 into the goals, sustainable cities and communities. He has global networks and has published, multiple books and articles on the subject."

You can find the interview here. 

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Why Stakeholder Coalitions Could Be Key to the Glasgow Climate Summit’s Success

A new article in Inter Press Service

by Felix Dodds and Chris Spence

The past few weeks brought a burst of optimism on the climate front. It began on April 18 with the US-China announcement on climate cooperation. This was followed in quick succession by the EU Parliament’s vote to cut emissions 55% by 2030, the UK’s promise of a 78% cut by 2035, Japan nearly doubling their commitment from 26% to 46% based on 2013 levels and US President Biden’s pledge of a 50-52% reduction, also by 2030 (compared with 2005 levels). Since such cuts offer a clear pathway to limit temperature growth, only the most ardent cynic would deny it has been a great start to the run up to Glasgow. Not to mention the announcement by a court in the Netherlands  as we wrote this article (26th of May) that Shell will need to reduce its carbon emissions by 45% by 2030 on 2019 levels this could result in a wave of court action against fossil fuel companies. 

An important question now is how do we use the Glasgow Climate Summit to build on governments’ good intentions?  

As we noted in a recent article published in IPS, the limitations on in-person meetings in a Covid-hit world are a particular problem for such a complex, high-stakes process. The Bureau managing the preparatory process for Glasgow recently announced its intention to hold virtual “informal meetings” starting next week. While we welcome the resumption of such discussions under the UN umbrella and can see a benefit to online discussions, these will only get us so far. 

We hope diplomats, key stakeholders and journalists will be able to meet in person prior to the formal start of the Glasgow Summit, perhaps in October under a negotiating ‘bubble’ in Italy (which is hosting the G20 on the 30th and 31st of October) and the UK (which is hosting the Summit from November 1-12). 

The current work being undertaken on COVID vaccine passports should make such in-person gatherings quite feasible, with the EU advancing plans in recent days to introduce them as early as July Furthermore, the UK’s offer to provide vaccinations to developing country delegations is a welcome move and should be expanded to other stakeholders. Continues in Inter Press Service here.

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Interview with Felix Dodds on the book Stakeholder Democracy

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My new book is out - Implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: Governance Challenges

My latest book is out 'Implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development' edited with Meriem El HilaliSungjun KimSamuel Victor MakweUlrich NicklasCristina PopescuDavid BanisarQuinn McKew this is the fifth book that the Friends of Governance for Sustainable Development has produced to share widely the papers that were presented at the workshops for member States to discuss. The Group recognizes that there is an inextricable link between good governance and sustainable development and that, as the 2030 Agenda is implemented, governance challenges will need discussion and action at all levels and by all institutions.

In 2020, the Group of Friends convened UN officials, experts, and representatives from government at four participatory workshops on relevant governance issues. The workshops were organized in partnership with UN-DESA Office of Intergovernmental Support and Coordination for Sustainable Development focusing on advancing the 2030 Agenda into the HLPF’s Second Cycle, and lessons learnt from the first cycle.The Group of Friends in 2021 will continue to be a place for discussions of the institutional architecture for the 2030 Agenda’s implementation, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, the Paris Climate Agreement and their follow-up and review.

We expect the present publication to be a useful input for the ongoing discussions about the institutional architecture for the 2030 Agenda. The first workshop looked at Implementing the 2016 QCPR resolution and this agenda has already captured the imagination of this generation. The second workshop looked at the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on global governance and issues of transparency, responsiveness and accountability.

With the upcoming High Level Political Forum, how could the pandemic be reflected in Voluntary National Reports? The third workshop looked at the imperative of combating corruption, illicit financial flows and recovering and returning stolen assets as a means for financing for development in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. The final one looked at climate change and governance preparing for the now 2021 Glasgow UNFCCC COP.We know that sustainable development will only become a reality if we have the enabling environment for it to happen. Good governance will be pivotal for implementing, reviewing and improving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. We hope that this publication contributes to addressing the challenges we will be facing over the coming years to 2030.


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Interview with Felix Dodds on the SDGs

Governmental futures and the SDGs with Felix Dodds: Inside Ideas with Marc Buckley

I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Marc Buckley for his podcast. You can listen to the podcast here.

I discuss the evolution of the SDGs and where we are going in the future.

Should you want to watch it as a  video it is also available online on

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Felix - launches the New World Frontier Consultancy

New World Frontiers is a consultancy and advisory firm offering specialized services in:

  • stakeholder engagement,
  • advocacy, and
  • risk management

 About The Consultancy — New World Frontiers

Felix Dodds established New World Frontiers Consultancy to help governments, international agencies, NGOs, and other stakeholders as they continue to lobby and engage in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (A2030), the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Paris Climate Agreement and other multilateral environmental agreements.

New World Frontiers brings expert practitioners with over four decades of firsthand experience and knowledge as well as the historical perspective and background on these issues that ‘being there’ brings. As we work to overcome the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and the challenge of climate change to build a better, more sustainable relationship with our world and all who live on it, expert advice on A2030 and the SDGs is more important than ever. Our work empowers governments, international and regional organizations, NGOs, academia, the private sector, and other stakeholders to make a meaningful difference in the lives of people through sustainable development

About Our Founder — Felix Dodds

Felix Dodds has been an advisor, facilitator, mentor, advocate, researcher, and author, working with governments, international agencies, NGOs, private sector, sub national governments and other stakeholders and to help address the challenging environmental and sustainability challenges of the twenty-first century. He has written or edited over 20 books on sustainable development including:

  • Negotiating the Sustainable Development Goals,
  • Only One Earth (written with the father of sustainable development Maurice Strong),
  • Stakeholder Democracy,
  • Climate Change and Energy Insecurity,
  • Biodiversity and Ecosystem Insecurity,
  • The Water, Food, Energy, and Climate Nexus and
  • four volumes on Governance for Sustainable Development.

New World Frontiers works with organizations in three main ways:

  • Stakeholder Engagement– improving decision-making processes with broader societal involvement
  • Advocacy– helping organizations find a voice in decision-making processes.
  • Risk Management– helping organizations, companies, governments at all levels to integrate global sustainable development agreements such as the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Climate Agreement into their operations.

Felix and the New World Frontiers (NWF) team have been at the forefront of many of the major sustainable development policy developments globally. NWF works to help stakeholders focus their lobbying to enable policymakers to make better decisions. NWF has developed some of the most successful multi-stakeholder policy dialogues. NWF brings four decades of experience to fostering stakeholder engagement working with governments, international agencies, NGOs and other stakeholders.

More details in New World Frontiers brochure downloadable here

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Snow Angel - UNC Stakeholder Engagement Method

Watch the video here.

On the 10th of November UNDESA held a workshop for member states that are intending to present their Voluntary National Reviews to the UN High Level Political Forum in 2021. A number of experts were invited to attend the Knowledge Exchange for 2021 VNR Countries including Felix Dodds from the Water Institute at the University of North Carolina. He presented the UNC Snow Angel approach to stakeholder engagement to the workshop as follows.

This approach is based on the work of the University of North Carolina as part of a six-university research project on Governance of Disaster Risk Reduction and Resilience for Sustainable Development.

The theory of change we are advocating is that the involvement of stakeholders in decision making creates better-informed decisions that are more likely to garner support and implementation from impacted stakeholder groups and individuals.

We have developed the UNC Snow Angel approach for stakeholder engagement which draws inspiration from the ecological footprint and ecological rucksacks approaches. The ecological footprint measures your resource consumption while the rucksack considers the degree of stress exerted on the environment.

The Snow Angel method also expands on the existing snowball approach to identifying stakeholders. The snowball method starts with a few defined stakeholders and asks them to identify new stakeholder categories, organizations, and further contacts. While this is helpful for researchers and requires little capacity, this method can unintentionally limit the scope of included stakeholders. 

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