Why do we need a decade of science action?
Despite the urgency, the implementation of the SDGs is not on track and the latest predictions are that no single country will meet all of the goals by the 2030 deadline. Only an urgent, more ambitious, and well-resourced global plan of action will ensure that the goals are met.
Science has a fundamental role to play in achieving progress towards the implementation of the SDGs by providing evidence for decision-making and informing the development of more sustainable solutions. Science can accelerate transformative change by identifying the most significant interactions within the SDGs, help to fill in data gaps and monitor progress.
For an accelerated implementation of the SDGs, it is critical to build and harness scientific knowledge and capacities, particularly in low- and middle-income countries; synthesize existing knowledge; and create a ‘moon-shot’ mission for Sustainability Science.
Transformative and truly transdisciplinary research will be required to scale up the impact of science and to address something as complex as the SDGs. To really challenge the status quo, science needs to engage more with policymakers and build strong partnerships with both the public and private sectors. This requires an urgent review of the way science is done, assessed, and funded.
Hear from the science funding and scholarly community
“Overall, insufficient mobilization and reorientation of science more broadly — including its approaches, organization and funding structures — threatens to derail the 2030 Agenda. Rather than standing by and allowing ourselves to come up short, the global community must enable scientific research to fulfil its transformational potential…We believe it is time to commit to a global mission for universally accessible, mutually beneficial sustainability science. Uniting the global North and South, this joint mission will unlock the transformational capacity of research and share its gains equitably.”
Peter Messerli, Professor for Sustainable Development at the University of Bern and co-chair of the UN Global Sustainable Development Report (GSDR), et al, in Nature Sustainability, October 2019.
“Protracted conflict, forced displacement, epidemic disease, food insecurity and the degradation of our environment – these are truly global problems. They require a global response and concerted action is necessary from research funders, as it is from others in the international community. The power of our response will ultimately lie in our willingness to work together.”
Andrew Thompson, Executive Chair of the Arts and Humanities Research Council, UK
“Funders must transform their systems in order to support transdisciplinary and cross-cutting research in all 17 of the Sustainable Development Goals. We need new hybrid models of funding that will create the building blocks for impactful research that accelerates the solutions to the SDGs.”
Maria Uhle, National Science Foundation (USA), Principle Member for the USA at the Belmont Forum
“We need science to empower citizens’ active engagement in finding the solutions to the climate emergency, especially from poor and vulnerable communities.”
Mary Robinson, Former President of Ireland and ISC Patron.
“Sida is delighted to support these kinds of actions, by actively engaging the least developed countries to build on their existing research capacities at local, national and regional levels, and ultimately to contribute to solving global problems such as poverty and inequality.”
Anna Maria Oltorp, Head of Research cooperation, Sida