ICSD 2019

  • September 24 – 25, 2019 Alfred Lerner Hall, Columbia University, New York, USA
  • @ICSD_Conf #ICSD2019

Registration is now open!

The deadline to submit an abstract has now passed. Decision letters for abstracts will be sent by June 1st.

The theme of 2019 is “Good Practice: Models, Partnerships, and Capacity Building for the SDGs.” Subscribe to our newsletter and follow us on Twitter to stay up to date on announcements regarding the 2019 conference!

Featured Speakers

  • Balaraba Aliyu-Inuwa Commissioner of the Ministry of Public Works and Infrastructure, Kaduna State, Nigeria

    Balaraba Aliyu-Inuwa, a development practitioner, is the current Commissioner Public Works and Infrastructure in Kaduna State. She is the first woman to be appointed to that role in Kaduna State. Previously she was the Commissioner for Works, Housing and Transport.

    Prior to her appoint as Commissioner for Works, Housing and Transport, she served as the Commissioner for Rural and Community Development and coordinated the design and delivery of the Kaduna Rural Development Program (KRDP). Previously she also worked as an Education Specialist and Deputy Program Director for the Earth Institute, Columbia University, on the Nigeria MDG Scale up Program based in Abuja.

  • Pat Brown CEO & Founder, Impossible Foods

    Patrick O. Brown is CEO and founder of Impossible Foods, a company at the forefront of making nutritious, delicious meat and dairy products from plants to satisfy meat lovers and address the environmental impact of animal farming.

    The idea for Impossible Foods came to Pat while he was on sabbatical from his position as an HHMI investigator and professor of biochemistry at the Stanford University School of Medicine. In reflecting on how he could use his training and experience to make the largest positive impact on the world, he realized there was a way to make delicious, affordable meat and dairy products, directly from plants – that would be better for the environment and for consumers. In 2011, Pat chose to devote himself full time to Impossible Foods.

    After receiving his BA, MD and PhD (in Biochemistry) at the University of Chicago, Pat completed a residency in pediatrics at Chicago’s Children’s Memorial Hospital. As a fellow with Mike Bishop and Harold Varmus, he defined the mechanism by which HIV and other retroviruses incorporate their genes into the genomes of the cells they infect.

    At Stanford, Pat and colleagues developed DNA microarrays – a new technology that made it possible to monitor the activity of all the genes in a genome – along with the first methods for analyzing, visualizing and interpreting global gene expression programs.

    He pioneered the use of gene expression patterns to classify cancers and improve prediction of their clinical course. He has also been a leader in making scientific and medical research results freely available to scientists, physicians and the public. With Harold Varmus, then Director of the National Institutes of Health, and Berkeley professor Michael Eisen, he founded the Public Library of Science, a nonprofit scientific publisher that has transformed the publishing industry by making scientific and medical research results freely available to the public.

    He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Medicine and recipient of the American Cancer Society Medal of Honor. He is also the co-founder of Lyrical Foods, Inc., maker of Kite Hill artisanal nut-milk-based cheeses and yogurts.

  • John Lavis Director, McMaster Health Forum, McMaster University

    John N. Lavis, MD PhD. He is the Director of the McMaster Health Forum (and Forum+), and Professor in the Department of Health Evidence and Impact at McMaster University. John Lavis is relied on by policymakers and stakeholders in Canada and a broad range of countries internationally to harness research evidence, citizen values and stakeholder insights to strengthen health and social systems and get the right programs, services and products to the people who need them. He founded and continues to direct the  McMaster Health Forum and has now launched Forum+ to expand
    the Forum’s work into social systems and supporting the achievement of the Sustainable Development
    Goals. He holds an MD from Queen's University, an MSc from the London School of Economics, and a PhD (in
    Health Policy) from Harvard University.

  • Hadiza Sabuwa Balarabe Deputy Governor, Kaduna State, Nigeria

    Dr. Hadiza Sabuwa Balarabe was a consultant public health physician before she was elected Deputy Governor of Kaduna State. She is the first woman elected as Deputy Governor in Kaduna State and has worked for more than two decades in the medicine and public health field.

  • Jeffrey Sachs University Professor, Columbia University; Director, Sustainable Development Solutions Network

    Jeffrey D. Sachs is a world-renowned professor of economics, leader in sustainable development, senior UN advisor, bestselling author, and syndicated columnist whose monthly newspaper columns appear in more than 100 countries. He is the co-recipient of the 2015 Blue Planet Prize, the leading global prize for environmental leadership, and many other international awards and honors. He has twice been named among Time magazine’s 100 most influential world leaders. He was called by the New York Times, “probably the most important economist in the world,” and by Time magazine, “the world’s best known economist.” A survey by The Economist in 2011 ranked Professor Sachs as amongst the world’s three most influential living economists of the first decade of the 21st century.

    Professor Sachs serves as the Director of the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University. He is University Professor at Columbia University, the university’s highest academic rank. During 2002 to 2016 he served as the Director of the Earth Institute. Sachs has served as a Special Advisor to United Nations Secretaries-General António Guterres, Ban Ki-moon, Kofi Annan. He is a Distinguished Fellow of the International Institute of Applied Systems Analysis in Laxenburg, Austria.

    Sachs is currently Director of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network under the auspices of UN Secretary-General António Guterres, and a Commissioner of the ITU/UNESCO Broadband Commission for Development. He is Chair and Founder of SDG USA, a non-governmental initiative to promote the Sustainable Development Goal concepts in the United States. Sachs is also co-founder and Chief Strategist of Millennium Promise Alliance, and was director of the Millennium Villages Project (2005-2015).

    Sachs has authored and edited numerous books, including three New York Times bestsellers: The End of Poverty (2005), Common Wealth: Economics for a Crowded Planet (2008), and The Price of Civilization (2011). His recent books include: To Move the World: JFK’s Quest for Peace (2013), The Age of Sustainable Development (2015) and Building the New American Economy: Smart, Fair & Sustainable (2017).

  • David Smith Coordinator, Institute for Sustainable Development, The University of the West Indies

    David C. Smith, PhD (Zoology) is the Coordinator of the Institute for Sustainable Development (ISD) and Director of the Centre for Environmental Management (CEM). He is also Coordinator of the University Consortium of Small Island States (UCSIS) and Caribbean Coordinator for the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (UNSDSN). He is a member of the Independent Group of Scientists who will prepare the 2019 UN Global Sustainable Development Report.

    Dr Smith has many years of experience in academia, civil society, the private sector and the United Nations, focusing on Sustainable Development, Biodiversity Conservation, Climate Change, and Disaster Risk Reduction. He initiated Jamaica's first debt-for-nature swap and played a key role in establishing the Jamaica National Parks Trust Fund and the Environmental Foundation of Jamaica. He was instrumental in the successful development of proposals for a number of UWI projects in sustainable development research, distance teaching, knowledge management, disaster risk management and hazard mapping. He is also one of the Principal Investigators for the Enhancing Knowledge and Application of Comprehensive Disaster Management (EKACDM) Initiative, a regional project.

    Dr Smith has worked at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Jamaica Country Office, from 2002 to 2008, where he had responsibility for Energy, the Environment, Climate Change and Disaster Management. He was also Co-Chair of the UN technical team on disasters in Jamaica. At the UNDP, Dr Smith developed and managed a programme folio which included two regional projects operating in multiple countries within the Caribbean: The Integrating Watershed and Coastal Area Management project jointly managed with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) which strengthened watershed and coastal zone management in eight Caribbean countries and the ECHO-funded Weather Radar project which strengthened capacity for early warning mechanisms in Jamaica, Haiti and the Dominican Republic. In September 2007, he was appointed Assistant Resident Representative (Programme). During his tenure at the UNDP, he raised funds for National Capacity Self Assessments, National Biodiversity and Action Plans, Protected Areas and the obligations of Jamaica and the Bahamas under the Montréal Protocol. He also established the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Small Grants Programme for Jamaica and managed its establishment in the Bahamas.

    Dr Smith is a past president of the Caribbean Conservation Association, served on the Association’s board for five years and was the regional Councillor for the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), with responsibility for North America and the Caribbean, chair of the Business Committee of the IUCN’s council and member of the steering committees of the IUCN commissions on Species Survival, Protected Areas as well as Communication and Education. He is also a former Executive Director of the Jamaica Conservation and Development Trust, a position he held for ten years. He sat on several Jamaica government policy development committees and the Council of the Private Sector Organization of Jamaica (PSOJ). He has done several Environmental Assessments and was instrumental in the design and implementation of Green Globe certified Environmental Management System in a major resort in Jamaica. He has also privately consulted on verification of Carbon emission reductions.

  • John Thwaites Professorial Fellow, Monash University

    John Thwaites is a Professorial Fellow, Monash University, and Chair of the Monash Sustainable Development Institute (winner Banksia Award Research and Academia 2018) and ClimateWorks Australia. He is also Chair of Melbourne Water and the Peter Cullen Water and Environment Trust. John is a Co-Chair of the Leadership Council of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (“SDSN”) launched by the Secretary General of the United Nations to provide expert advice and support to the development and implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. In 2013, John was named as one of the 100 Global Sustainability Leaders by ABC Carbon Express. John Thwaites was Deputy Premier of Victoria from 1999 until his retirement in 2007. During this period he held various Ministerial portfolios including Health, Planning, Environment, and Climate Change. He was the Minister for Water during the Millennium drought.

  • Patrick Paul Walsh Chair of International Development Studies, University College Dublin

    Patrick Paul Walsh is the Chair of International Development Studies in University College Dublin, Ireland, and a former Visiting Scholar at the Sustainable Development Solutions Network. He received a Ph.D. in Economics from the London School of Economics and Political Science. He is a Government of Ireland, Marie Curie (Brussels), IZA (Bonn), RSA (London) and REPOA (Tanzania) Fellow.

    During 1992-2007 Walsh worked in Trinity College Dublin. He left Trinity College Dublin as a College Fellow and Dean of Social and Human Sciences. He was a Visiting Professor at K.U. Leuven during 1997-1999 and a Research Scholar in the Department of Economics, Harvard University, during the academic year 2002-2003.

    He is the chair of the Academic Steering committee of the Global Association of Masters of Development Practice that is based at the Earth Institute at Columbia University. He is a member of the Social Science Committee for Science Europe. Amongst other journals he has published in the Review of Economics and Statistics, Economic Journal, Journal of Industrial Economics, International Journal of Industrial Organization, and Journal of Comparative Economics.

    His current research is on Agricultural Productivity in East Africa, Social Security for all, Socioeconomic impact of HIV/AIDS in clinical trials, Election Outcomes in Malawi, Patterns of Post-Conflict Resolution in the Great Lakes Region, Cartels and Global Food Security and issues surrounding the proposed Sustainable Development Goals, among other issues.


  1. Early Registration (TBC)

  1. Day 1 - Parallel Sessions

  2. Registration

  3. Parallel Sessions

    Agenda to be posted around August 5th.

  4. Coffee Break

  5. Parallel Session

    Agenda to be posted around August 5th.

  6. Poster Presentations and Networking Lunch

    Lunch will be served

  7. Parallel Session

    Agenda to be posted around August 5th.

  1. Day 2 - Plenary Session

  2. Registration

  3. Keynote Addresses

    Patrick Paul Walsh – Welcoming Remarks
    World Leaders Forum Keynote (Speaker TBC)
    Kapuscinski Development Lecture Keynote (Speaker TBC)
    Keynote Address – Pat Brown, Impossible Foods

  4. Coffee Break

  5. Strengthening the Research-Policy Interface for the SDGs

    John Thwaites, Monash University (Moderator)
    John Lavis, McMaster Health Forum
    Additional Speakers TBC

  6. Culture, Cities, & Communities

    Balaraba Aliyu-Inuwa, Commissioner of the Ministry of Public Works and Infrastructure, Kaduna State, Nigeria
    Hadiza Sabuwa Balarabe, Deputy Governor, Kaduna State, Nigeria
    Additional Speakers TBC

  7. Lunch Break

    Lunch on your own

  8. Closing Panel Session and Keynote Address

  1. Side Events (TBC)

Sponsors & Partners