Sustainability and Large-Scale Events: The Case of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy and the Application of Sustainable Development Goals

  •  Chiara Di Gerio    
  •  Gloria Fiorani    
  •  Giuseppe Paciullo    


Large-scale events, which are characterised by a dynamic complexity involving different national public administrations and institutional levels, require special attention in order to select adequate event management systems. Consequently, the analysis of a best practice event may be useful to identify the main variables, in terms of sustainable strategic planning, execution and control –required to achieve the greatest level of efficiency with regard to cost optimisation and quality of service delivery– along with exhorting the public sector to seek a structural renovation that makes better use of its available resources and fosters global sustainable growth. From this perspective, one such relevant experience has been the Italian case of the 2016 Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, coordinated by the Prefect of Rome. Indeed, the latter decided to adopt actions consistent with sustainability standards due to an inter-institutional network design and the engagement of institutions at different levels. Within a very short period, the Prefect of Rome achieved three main results: the coordination of the activities of the working groups, the integration of internal and external surveillance and communication systems, and collaboration with higher education institutions to acquire and disseminate knowledge. Accordingly, the aim of this paper is to describe and analyse this best practice event organised and managed by the Italian public administration with reference to the achievement of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). To systemise and combine the outcomes of these processes, as well as to evaluate whether they were consistent with sustainable development, the systems thinking technique was used. This paper explores the concept of sustainable development and focuses on its traditional social, environmental and economic pillars within the context of planned events such as the 2016 Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy.

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