As a planet, these are the best of times for us. Humanity has never known the quality of life we enjoy in this era. From better nutrition, to increased life expectancy, and the rise of democratic institutions – the world is better off today than at any time in the past. But paradoxically, these are also the worst of times. The chasm between the haves and have-nots looms larger every year. Oxfam reported last year that 62 individuals own as much wealth as 3.6 billion of the world’s poorest people.
We live in an era where the tools to create shared prosperity and a decent quality of life for everyone exist; but means to ensure that this actually happens do not. Can quality of life become a human right with social defaults that ensure physical and mental well-being? What are the choices that we must make today to ensure this? And what is the moral compass that we need to question a system designed to benefit a few of us at the cost of the many? As defined by the Sustainable Development Goals, can we actually envision a future where basic rights to education, healthcare, livelihoods, and a basic quality of life are the new “social defaults”? In a nutshell: a world where we have a lot more hope and a lot less despair.
These are complex questions with no easy answers. But it is imperative that we answer them before it is too late for our future generations. No one individual or organization has all of the insights and lived-experiences necessary to tackle these. But together – we do. This is why we are bringing together 800 carefully curated entrepreneurs, innovators, investors, corporates, academics, policy makers, and other thought- leaders from around the world to work together at the Sankalp Global Summit 2017 to learn, create, and make progress. The outcome of this work will be a Manifesto to achieve new social defaults in the developing world – a Manifesto that all of us can adopt as we invest our capital, time, and spirit in moving towards a sustainable and equitable future for all.