3. Increasing evidence-informed decision-making in policy, discourse and action

In its first full year of operation, the ISC expanded its work to ensure that science is integrated into international policy development. It did this through expanding its connections within global policy fora, facilitating the participation of scientists in policy processes, and providing advice on how to harness science to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and other policy priorities.

Multi-stakeholder Forum on STI for the Sustainable Development Goals

The theme of the May 2019 STI (Science, Technology and Innovation) Forum was science, technology and innovation for ensuring inclusiveness and equality. Representatives of the Council, together with Climate Change Education Across the Curricula Across the Globe (TROP ICSU), participated in a series of side events, speaking on topics such as improving scientific input to the SDGs, and Earth and environmental education for sustainable development.

The annual STI Forum provides a venue for the science and technology community to explore opportunities for collaboration and to join efforts towards the development, transfer and uptake of relevant technologies for the SDGs.

High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development

The July 2019 High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) held in New York focused on six of the SDGs: SDG4 (Education); SDG8 (Economic Growth); SDG10 (Inequality); SDG13 (Climate Action); SDG16 (Peace) and SDG17 (Partnerships), under the theme of ‘Empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality’. The HLPF is the United Nations’ main platform on sustainable development and it has a central role in the follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the SDGs at the global level.

ISC CEO Heide Hackmann spoke during the HLPF plenary session dedicated to the Global Sustainable Development Report (GSDR) 2019. Hackmann highlighted the ISC’s work at the science–policy interface and introduced an initiative launched at the Global Forum of Funders and calling for a ‘Decade of Global Sustainability Science Action’ in order to further the impact of investments in SDG-related research.

As co-coordinator with the World Federation of Engineering Organizations of the Scientific and Technological Community Major Group (STC MG), the ISC delivered a statement stressing the importance of identifying synergies between the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement on climate change to enable more effective and ambitious national action for implementing both frameworks.

Together with the World Federation of Engineering Organizations, the ISC organized a side event on the lessons learned in the science–technology–policy interface during the first cycle of the HLPF. The event addressed the impact of science–policy tools and reports such as the GSDR, as well as how the role and contributions of the STC MG could be strengthened. An SDG learning lab on ‘Practices and approaches on quality education towards environment and climate action’, including findings and teaching tools emerging from the TROP ICSU project, was hosted by the ISC in conjunction with the International Federation of Social Workers and Harvard University. In another side event exploring the impact of the digital revolution on sustainable development, Hackmann underscored the importance of developing data platforms, such as the African Open Science Platform, to build greater interactions between digitization and the SDGs.

See the 2020 Update

Climate Action Summit

The United Nations Climate Action Summit which took place in September 2019 was designed to be a springboard for the decisions to be taken in 2020 under the Paris Agreement on climate change. The Council was present, with President Daya Reddy speaking at the launch event for an important synthesis report, United in Science, commissioned by the United Nation’s Secretary General’s Science Advisory Group and including a chapter on the Future Earth programme. The report highlights the urgent need for the development of concrete actions that halt global warming and the worst effects of climate change. “United in science, building and deploying knowledge together, we can succeed” said Reddy.

Watch Daya Reddy’s full speech:

Photo: coldsnowstorm, iStock

Next up: ‘Science multilateralism’ in action: building recognition of the ISC within the UN system ▶