Call for Abstracts, 6th International Conference on Sustainable Development (ICSD)


The Global Association of Master's in Development Practice Programs (MDP), in collaboration with the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), will hold the Sixth Annual International Conference on Sustainable Development (ICSD) on 26-28 September, 2018, at Columbia University in New York City.

If you would like to present at the conference, please submit an abstract as directed below. The deadline for submission is May 1, 2018. The conference is also open to observers (i.e. non-presenters). Simply register on the conference website to join us!

The conference theme is Breaking Down Silos: Fostering Collaborative Action on the SDGs. The aim of the conference is to bring together persons involved in research, policy, practice, and business. Participants will share practical solutions for achieving the SDGs at local and national levels. Abstracts should be directly relevant to one of the following Topics:

  1. Linking Policy, Operations, and Workforce toward Meeting Global Health Goals
  2. Opportunities of Marine Natural Capital for Sustainable Blue Growth
  3. Metrics and frameworks for assessing Sustainable Urban Development
  4. Ensuring Public Engagement and Accountability for Sustainable Urban Development
  5. Climate Change Adaptation in Coastal Towns and Small Cities
  6. Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience Building in Agriculture
  7. Economics and Demography of Natural Disasters
  8. Clean and Affordable Energy as a Keystone for Sustainable Development
  9. Globalization, Value Chains and Decent Work
  10. Indigenous Approaches to Understanding and Practicing Sustainable Development
  11. Mainstreaming Gender in Agenda 2030: Interlinkages between Sustainable Development Goals
  12. Breaking Down Silos in Government Administration
  13. Breaking Down Silos in Universities: Imaginative Interdisciplinary Approaches to Sustainable Development Research, Education, and Practice
  14. Collaborative Arts & Culture to Help Achieve the SDGs
  15. What's Law Got to Do With It? Legal Preparedness for Delivering the SDGs

Interested presenters should submit an abstract of at least 300 words but not exceeding 500 words, in English, by 1 May, 2018, via the conference website. Each abstract may only be submitted once and under one Topic. Failure to answer questions on the submission form or the submission of the same abstract under multiple topics is likely to result in the abstract being declined.

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Popular Sustainable Building Materials in Use Today


The sustainable building market is one of the fastest growing markets across the globe, with 64 percent of U.S. customers wanting green homes to lower their energy consumption and 71 percent of remodelers wanting to curb energy use through green renovations. High demand means that today's remodelers will find many great materials to choose from. Here are top sustainable building materials to consider. 

Straw Bales

While straw bales aren't exactly an innovative material, they are sustainable and they deliver strong insulation for a low price point. Straw bales are used inside the house framing to create walls. When they are properly sealed, they keep the home comfortable year round. 


HempCrete uses the inner fibers of the hemp plant, which have a woody structure, to create a material that functions like concrete. HempCrete is lightweight yet strong; hemp itself is a fast-growing, renewable plant. It takes less energy to transport a load of HempCrete than concrete, due to the lower weight -- which is roughly one-eighth what concrete weighs. 

Natural Linoleum

Linoleum is easy to clean, sustainable, and can last as long as 40 years when properly installed. Natural linoleum is made of natural and renewable products including pine resin, limestone, ground cork, wood flour, and linseed oil (from flax). Linoleum that is dyed with natural pigments and installed using a low-VOC adhesive is earth friendly as well as sustainable. 


This concrete alternative uses 97 percent recycled material. It's predominantly made from fly ash, which is a naturally occurring byproduct of burning coal. Since AshCrete can prevent cracking, permeability, and shrinking, it eliminates many of the common complaints about concrete. If coal is going to be burned anyway, it makes sense to repurpose waste material in a green manner. 

Wool Insulation

Created from the fur of shorn sheep, wool insulation offers many advantages. Not only is the wool itself highly renewable (sheep need to be sheared regularly), but wool is natural, breathable, elastic and non-combustible. The insulation won't settle over time, unlike other types of loose insulation. Since wool will not catch fire, this can increase home safety. Wool continues to insulate even when wet (one reason it's popular with hikers).


Bamboo has become a favorite replacement for old growth hardwoods, which are not sustainable. Bamboo grows quickly and displays incredible tensile strength. Bamboo can replace rebar in framing or provide a luxe alternative to hardwood floors. Using locally-grown bamboo can keep costs down in remote areas, making this an affordable pick for many families. 

Recycled Denim Insulation

Created from recycled jeans and scrap denim, recycled denim insulation -- also called natural cotton fiber insulation -- is highly sustainable. By using this over fiberglass batts, homeowners can improve home comfort, improve indoor air quality, and improve acoustics. Approximately 200 tons of denim waste are diverted from landfills to create this insulation. It takes less energy to create denim insulation over fiberglass, another plus. Recyclable denim insulation typically contains 85 percent recycled material; at the end of its lifetime, the denim is 100 percent recyclable. 

Repurposed and recycled materials

Any time homeowners can repurpose or recycle something, they're keeping material out of the landfill. When renovating a home, don't forget about repurposed and recycled materials. Homeowners may purchase everything from appliances or kitchen cabinets to natural stone for patios within their community or through online brokers. Buildings materials exchanges or ReStores, which are run by Habitat for Humanity, offer donated goods and materials that can add unique charm, keep the project within budget, and make creative use of pre-existing materials, all part of a sustainable remodel. 

These materials span the price spectrum, so homeowners across all budgets can look for sustainable building materials to suit their needs. 

Author: Gary Ashton