This is how the concept of sustainable development was defined in the 1987 report of the Brundtland Commission tasked by the UN to formulate a global agenda for change to achieve sustainable development by the year 2000 and beyond. As defined back then, sustainable development encapsulates what should be a goal of the highest importance for all. No less. But now, more than 30 years later, with the world population having increased by 2.5 billion people since 1987, ever present global poverty, escalating refugee streams, failure to achieve unity of effort in addressing climate change and challenges to free trade, one might ask whether sustainability is a reachable reality or merely a utopian dream.
However, giving up on sustainability is not an option. During the 70th General Assembly in 2015, the UN adopted a resolution to transform our world with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the motto “Leave no one behind”. The agenda contains 17 ambitious goals which show that sustainable development is a much broader concept than environmental protection. These goals reveal the many facets of sustainability and an all-encompassing approach to overcome various challenges and achieve sustainable development.
Choosing sustainability as the main theme of the 57th International Young Lawyers’ Congress in Rome may be a small step in the grand scheme of things, but it rightly follows two other topics that we have been discussing at the 2017 Tokyo Congress and the 2018 Brussels Congress: artificial intelligence and globalisation. In short, how do we make our digitalised and globalised world sustainable? It is without question a relevant topic for a global association like AIJA. Awareness and action are needed, and there is undoubtedly a legal response to the challenge that is sustainable development.
We are therefore very pleased to invite young legal professionals from all around the world to join us for an inspiring and ambitious scientific programme. Think of sustainability as more than an abstract aspiration, and you will realise that there are numerous aspects of sustainability to consider, many or all of which have impacted or will impact your field of law. As lawyers, we have a role to play in the sustainable development of the world.
We look forward to seeing you in one of the world’s oldest and most fantastic cities that has managed to sustain life for 28 centuries: The Eternal City of Rome!
57th International Young Lawyers’ Congress – Work Coordinators
Jean-Philippe Arroyo, JP Karsenty & Associés, France
Tiziana di Ciommo, PwC, Spain
Niels Jørn Friborg, Hafnia Law Firm, Denmark