Forward Thinkers: Webinar Series 2021

This webinar series is designed for forward-thinkers:  decision-makers from the policy level, civil society, science, and business. We are sharing and discussing existing and proven policy solutions to tackle the world’s most urgent challenges: climate change, loss of ecosystems, the food crisis, rights of children and youth, protection from hazardous chemicals and peace and disarmament.

Grown from the conviction that solutions for the most essential challenges to humanity’s future exist, Forward Thinkers Webinars highlight awarded exemplary policy solutions of the Future Policy Award – and beyond. The presented solutions contribute to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. Councillors of the World Future Council and Winners of the Future Policy Award will share their insights and expertise. The webinars will go alongside UN international days, taking place Thursdays around international UN days.

Launched in 2007, the World Future Council works to pass on a healthy planet and just societies to our children and grandchildren with a focus on identifying and spreading effective, future-just policy solutions.

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Forum CSR Partner Forward Thinkers

Thursday 11 March 2021

Protecting children in Africa from (sexual) violence during the pandemic

On the occasion of the International Women’s Day 2021, we will discuss the surge of physical and sexual violence against women, girls and their children. Children’s exposure to increased protection risks has been heightened by the global COVID-19 pandemic in Africa and worldwide.

We will highlight proven solutions for child protection measures in the African context and discuss the potential of the One Stop Centre model, in helping address violence against girls, boys and young women. Most of the mitigating measures adopted by many countries to address the pandemic have resulted in disruptions to the everyday routines, environment and safety of children. The One Stop Centre model as an intervention tool has been proven to be among the most effective response measures in the area of child protection. In 2015 the renowned Future Policy Award awarded Zanzibar’s Children’s Act with its comprehensive child protection system.


  • Dr. Nkatha Murungi, Assistant Director of the Centre for Human Rights, Senior Lecturer – Faculty of Law at the University of Pretoria, South Africa, and WFC Councillor (confirmed)
  • Bashiratu Kamal, Gender and Labour Specialist, Ghana (confirmed)
  • Mkasi Abdallah Rajab, Principal Child Protection Officer, Ministry of Health, Social Welfare, Elders, Gender and Children, Zanzibar (confirmed)
  • Halima Salum, Former Deputy Principal Secretary, Ministry of Health, Zanzibar (invited)
  • Prof. Ebenezer Badoe, Paediatric Neurologist, Child Protection Specialist, Korle-Bu Teaching hospital (confirmed)
  • Abena Aprekua Bedu-Aboagye, Principal Programme Officer, Child Protection, Ministry of Gender and Social Protection, Ghana (confirmed)
  • Moderator: Ramana Shareef – WFC Consultant, Media and Communication for Development Specialist

Thursday, 11 March 2021 | 11 a.m. CET | Free Admission

Thursday 18 March 2021

Covid 19: Forests offering solutions to recovery

The UN Day of Forests celebrates and raises awareness of the importance of all types of forests. On each International Day of Forests, countries are encouraged to undertake local, national, and international efforts to organize activities involving forests and trees, such as tree planting campaigns. The theme for 2021 is “Forest restoration: a path to recovery and well-being”.

Our webinar will highlight the significant role forests play for the health of people, animals, and the environment. It will highlight the Future Policy Gold Award Winner Rwanda’s Forest Policy. We will also hear about the Great Green Wall for the Sahara and the Sahel Initiative, the most ambitious climate-change adaptation and mitigation response under implementation worldwide. It seeks to restore 100 million hectares of degraded land, sequester 250 million tonnes of carbon and create 10 million green jobs by 2030, while greening landscapes in an 8 000 km belt across Africa’s drylands. Vast areas of degraded land elsewhere would also become highly productive again if restored with local tree species and other vegetation. The webinar is part of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, which aims to accelerate action for the protection and restoration of ecosystems all around the world, for the benefit of people and nature.


  • Jan McAlpine, former Director, UN Forum on Forests, Councillor, World Future Council (confirmed)
  • Wanjira Mathai, Vice President and Regional Director for Africa, World Resources Institute, Chair, Wangari Maathai Foundation, and Councillor, World Future Council (confirmed)
  • Dr. Jeanne D’Arc Mujawamarija, Minister of Environment (confirmed)
  • Ibrahim Thiaw, Executive Secretary, UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) (invited)
  • Moderator: Alexandra Wandel, Chair, Management Board, World Future Council (confirmed)
  • More speakers will be confirmed soon!

Thursday, 18 March 2021 | 4pm CET | Free Admission

Thursday 8 April 2021

From children’s health to public health and universal health coverage

This webinar will focus on the importance of public health, beginning with children’s health and turning to public health policies. This year’s Future Policy Award 2020/21 focuses on the protection against hazardous chemicals, which includes highlighting their impact on children and their early development. Although winning policies, for instance protecting against lead exposure and EPPs, are yet to be revealed, in this webinar we will turn to the importance of health as a whole. Distinguished experts will explain the impact of hazardous chemicals on children, as well as the economic repercussions of early childhood pollution, while Universal Health Coverage has become a renewed focus of debate at the world stage due to the Covid-19 pandemic. In light of World Health Day, these topics deserve particular attention.



  • Maria Fernanda Espinosa – President of the 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly, Councillor, World Future Council (confirmed)
  • Alexandra Wandel – Chair, Management Board, World Future Council (confirmed)
  • Baskut Tuncak – Attorney, scientist, former UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and toxics (2014-2020) (confirmed)
  • Leonardo Trasande, MD, MPP – Leo is an internationally renowned leader in children’s environmental health.  (confirmed)
  • Moderator: Henna Hundal – Journalist; Advisor of the Canadian government on its Covid-19 response. (confirmed)


Thursday, 8 April 2021 | 4pm CEST | Free Admission

Thursday 20 May 2021

Preventing pandemics: Living in harmony with nature

The International Day for Biological Diversity (or World Biodiversity Day) is a United Nations international day for the promotion of biodiversity issues. The World Future Council and the Convention on Biodiversity (CBD) have awarded the world’s best biodiversity policies with the Future Policy Award. Costa Rica’s Biodiversity Policy received the Gold Award.

This webinar will also present why Costa Rica is so successful in biodiversity conservation and what the country is proposing as Global Deal for Nature to be adopted at COP 15 in Kunming, China later in the year. The CBD will also outline why governments need to adopt ambitious plans to implement broad-based action to bring about a transformation in society’s relationship with biodiversity.

The webinar will also present the research results of our handbook for policymakers on preventing pandemics with future just biodiversity policies. Because science is clear: In order to prevent future pandemics, we need to protect ecosystems and biodiversity. Covid-19, Ebola, Aids, SARS und MERS were all caused by viruses jumping from animals to humans. The destruction of nature makes future pandemics more likely.  More than ever, we need exemplary policies to protect biodiversity.

The webinar is part of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, which aims to accelerate action for the protection and restoration of ecosystems all around the world, for the benefit of people and nature.


  • Julia Marton-Lefevre, Member of the Bureau of IPBES and Councillor, World Future Council, former Director General, International Union for the Conversation of Nature (IUCN) (confirmed)
  • Andrea Meza, Minister of Environment and Energy of Costa Rica, Future Policy Gold Award Winner (invited)
  • Prof. Dr. Jorge Cabrera, author of Biodiversity Handbook on exemplary biodiversity policies, Center for International Sustainable Development Law and World Future Council (confirmed)
  • Moderator: Alexandra Wandel, Chair, Management Board, World Future Council (confirmed)

Thursday, 20 May 2021 | 4pm CEST | Free Admission

Thursday 3 June 2021

Preserving Diversity: Protecting 30 % of the oceans by 2030

June 8 is World Oceans Day, the United Nations day for celebrating the role of the oceans in our everyday life and inspiring action to protect the ocean and use marine resources sustainably. This webinar will explain the global situation, present possible solutions and explain why we need to protect large parts of the marine environment.

According to numerous scientists, at least 30 % of the oceans must be protected by 2030. Most fishing grounds are already overfished, many species of shark and even the large tuna species, such as the bluefin tuna, are almost extinct. Climate change is accelerating the extinction of these species.
To set an example, a number of states have now joined forces to form the Global Ocean Alliance (GOA). They are promoting the 30 % by 2030 target.
The webinar will present the Gold Award Winner of the Future Policy Award on Oceans and Coast: Palau’s Protected Area Network Act and Palau’s Shark Haven Act.

Additionally, the webinar addresses the need for a High Seas Treaty which must be created within the framework of the international “Law of the Sea“ (UNCLOS). It can provide the framework for such marine protected areas, among other things. There is a clear mandate from the United Nations for such a convention. The World Future Council is working actively on such a High Seas Treaty together with a number of other international environmental organisations.

The webinar is part of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, which aims to accelerate action for the protection and restoration of ecosystems all around the world, for the benefit of people and nature.


  • Anna Oposa, Co-Founder, Save Philippines Seas, Philippines, Councillor, World Future Council (confirmed)
  • Dr. Ralf Sonntag, Senior Advisor, World Future Council: Protecting 30 percent of our oceans by 2030 (confirmed)
  • Representative of Palau’s Protected Areas Network Act and Palau’s Shark Haven Act, Future Policy Gold Award Winner (Speaker to be confirmed)
  • Moderator: Alexandra Wandel, Chair, Management Board, World Future Council (confirmed)
  • More speakers to be confirmed soon!

Thursday, 3 June 2021 | 11am CEST | Free Admission

More webinars coming soon!

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