SDGs Expert Group meet at UN

The International Social Science Council (ISSC) along with the United Nations Department of Social and Economic Affairs (UN-DESA), and the International Council for Science (ICSU), jointly organized an Expert Group Meeting on “Science and Sustainable Development Goals” at UN headquarters in New York from 20-21 March 2013.

The International Social Science Council was delighted to support the participation of two outstanding African scientists: Prof Mark Swilling and Dr Youba Sokona.

One of the main outcomes of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), held in Rio de Janeiro in June 2012, was the agreement by Member States to launch a process to develop a set of sustainable development goals (SDGs).  A 30-member Open Working Group (OWG) of the General Assembly is tasked with preparing a proposal on the SDGs. The Rio+20 outcome document provides that the OWG should develop modalities to ensure the full involvement of relevant stakeholders, including the scientific community.

The meeting brought together some 30 scientists from different disciplines, including natural, social and economic sciences, and humanities, with research experience in areas related to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), as well as science-policy experts — with the aim  to provide an entry point for the scientific community to inform the work of the OWG in conceptualising and formulating the SDGs.

The two-day meeting focused on what is the best available scientific research to inform the process of formulating the SDGs. At the end of the two-day session, the Expert Group met with policy makers involved in the intergovernmental discussions on the SDGs, including members of the OWG, to debrief them on the outcomes of the meeting. An extensive meeting report will be posted soon on the dedicated page of UN Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform website.