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Follow up on the first ‘Sufficiency Summit’ 4 May 2023

The Australian-French Association for Research and Innovation (AFRAN) has offered its support on its 2022-23 call for initiatives to Prof David Ness of the University of South Australia (UniSA) and IPCC lead author Dr Yamina Saheb of Sciences Po Paris, to organise the 1st International Sufficiency Summit via a partnership between their two institutions. Sufficiency (sobriété) was defined by the IPCC as a set of policy measures and practices that avoid demand for energy, materials, land, water and other natural resources, while ensuring wellbeing for all within planetary boundaries. Importantly, sufficiency and demand-side solutions are critical in limiting global warming to 1.5o C, with potential emission reductions in all sectors of 40-70% by 2050.


The conference, which evolved into the Sufficiency Summit, aimed to raise awareness of sufficiency, its role in mitigating climate change and social justice, and means of enacting policy changes and practices. By connecting France and Australia, including Paris and Adelaide, it was hoped to stimulate discussion on introducing Sufficiency into Australian climate change policies, where attention is almost wholly focused on increased use of renewables, energy efficiency and technological solutions. The Summit was a forerunner to the Beyond Growth Conference 2023, when Yamina Saheb highlighted the importance of sufficiency. Mutual benefits were envisaged for France and Australia, extending to the wider EU, Indo-Pacific and China.

The Sufficiency Summit, 4 May 2023

The world’s first ‘Sufficiency Summit’ was held 4 May 2023, 9 am to 12 noon (Paris time). co-hosted by Dr Yamina Saheb and Prof David Ness, co-organised by UniSA’s Sustainable Infrastructure and Resource Management (SIRM) and Centre for Enterprise Dynamics in Global Economies (C-EDGE) and the European Chair for Sustainable Development and Climate Transition of Sciences Po, and supported by AFRAN. The hybrid Summit, ran synchronously with our French partner Institute, attracted over 600 participants globally. Adelaide invited attendees included the South Australian Deputy Premier (online), Chair of State Planning Commission, Director of Department for Environment and Water, and the Lord Mayor of Adelaide. After welcome addresses by Prof Anthony Elliott (UniSA) and Ms Arancha Gonzalez Laya (Sciences Po) and a keynote by Dr Yamina Saheb, the Summit covered sufficiency in urban and human settlements, sufficiency and clothes, and sufficiency for nutrition, followed by a Ministerial Discussion and close by Prof David Ness. The event was moderated by Prof. Marc Ringel.

The summit agenda had been developed by Dr Yamina Saheb, with keynotes in each session, accompanied by discussion panels. Emphasis was given to selecting speakers and panelists based upon gender balance and regional representation, with a mix of NGOs, national agencies, financiers and researchers. Speakers from France, China, Ghana, Ireland, and Pakistan, to name a few, contributed to understanding the scope and range of the Sufficiency topic.

The Summit’s success was greatly assisted by the organising team including, from UniSA, Prof Allan O’Connor (C-EDGE), Assoc Prof Ke Xing (SIRM), and Ms Nancy Spork (C-EDGE), and the Sciences Po team including Ms Valeria de los Cavares of the EU Chair for Sustainable Development and the Climate Transition – who prepared and edited a recording of the summit. AFRAN support was invaluable in establishing a Web Platform, while the World Resources Forum assisted with promoting the event. UniSA and WRF had co-hosted a global webinar on Sufficiency Policies: A key Enabler of Sustainable and Fair Resource Use on 5 December 2022.

Reflexions and further questions are already on their way to explore the next steps leading to more in-depth conversations and ‘round table’ discussions, seeding partnerships, developing a research agenda (Sciences Po, UniSA, others), seeking funding and other support, and considering policy options.


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