Science and the SDGs – Statement on the stronger role for science


We are arriving at an unequalled moment. The Post-2015 Development Agenda is a unique opportunity to set an ambitious, integrated and transformational global agenda for sustainable development that is supported by a strong scientific evidence base. Scientific communities worldwide are mobilising to support the definition, implementation and monitoring of this agenda from local to global levels. Governments and other stakeholders have started discussing the declaration for a shared vision towards 2030.

Today the International Social Science Council, the International Council for Science (ICSU), and Future Earth, will present a statement which calls for a stronger role for science and technology in implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and articulates responsibilities for the scientific community in the means of implementation and monitoring. The objective is to ensure that this role is clearly inscribed in the post-2015 development agenda, to be adopted by governments at a special summit at the UN in September. There should be, above all, an explicit recognition of the essential role of science and technology for realizing Sustainable Development Goals at all levels. And among the common principles underpinning the Post-2015 Development Agenda is the need for an evidence-based approach for realizing sustainable development, particularly as advances in research may identify new risks and opportunities for sustainable development. Partnerships working across policy, scientific communities and other sectors of society will be key in this regard.

The meetings at the UN in New York this week to discuss means of implementation and global partnership for sustainable development , which are key themes for the scientific community, prove an opportunity for the scientific voice to be heard.

The ISSC together with ICSU provide international coordination and representation of science as part of the Scientific and Technological Community Major Group, and along with a host of other key partners and collaborators have been putting forward the science perspective on the Sustainable Development Goals. It is clear that the proposed UN Sustainable Development Goals will struggle to achieve their stated policy objectives without clearer, more measurable targets.