To achieve the 17 ambitious goals that aim to reduce inequality and poverty; promote prosperity and peace; protect our planet; and encourage global partnership, scientific knowledge from across all disciplines must have a major role to play in identifying transformative pathways towards the sustainable and equitable use of planetary resources.

    The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

    An improved understanding of the globally coupled natural, physical and social systems of our planet, and the identification of tractable pathways for sustainable and equitable development, are major and urgent tasks.

    The 2030 Agenda, and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), agreed in 2015 by all 193 Member States of the United Nations, provide an integrated framework for this work. Science is vital to the development and implementation of this agenda and of related post-2015 agendas such as the Paris Agreement under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the New Urban Agenda (UN-Habitat), and the Sendai Framework of the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR).

    The ISC’s projects and programmes under Domain One include:

    • 1.1 International science for global sustainability – Addressing complexity, supporting policy coherence: Increased relevance and impact of international scientific input, advice and influence within global policy processes related to the 2030 Agenda.
    • 1.2 SDG interactions as a national policy driver: Accelerated implementation of the 2030 Agenda through support for interactions-based research and policy prioritization and programming at all levels of governance.

    Further Reading

    1. Dominant research modes are not enough to guide the societal transformations necessary to achieve the 2030 Agenda. Researchers, practitioners, decision makers, funders and civil society should work together to achieve universally accessible and mutually benefcial sustainability science. Read Peter Messerli et al in this Nature Sustainability piece published in September 2019.
    2. With just over 10 years to go to achieve the 17 ambitious goals of the UN’s 2030 Agenda, more than 80 science funders, representing international development aid agencies, private foundations and national research councils have called for greater collaboration among science funders and the research community to address the world’s most pressing challenges, as exemplified by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Read more.


    Domain One, along with the ISC’s three other domains – The Digital Revolution, Science in Policy and Public Discourse and The Evolution of Science and Science Systems – can be found in the Council’s Action Plan and in greater detail in the full working papers below.

    Work with the ISC to Advance Science as a Global Public Good. secretariat@council.science


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