The Global Commission on Science Missions for Sustainability

Meeting the goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and securing a just and sustainable future will depend on a massive mobilization of sustainability science globally. In order to meet this goal, in 2021 the ISC launched the Global Commission on Science Missions for Sustainability.

The Global Commission is co-chaired by Irina Bokova, former Bulgarian Foreign Minister and Director General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and Helen Clark, former Prime Minister of New Zealand and previous administrator of the United Nations Development Programme. The Commission is tasked with co-designing and mobilizing support for a global fund of US$100 m per year for mission-oriented science.

‘Science is a critical lever for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. To make the societal transition towards sustainability, we need to unleash the full potential of science.’

Irina Bokova, former Bulgarian Foreign Minister and Director General of UNESCO

The launch of the Commission represents the ISC’s contribution to the evolution of the Decade of Global Sustainability Science Action launched in 2019 and enabled by the Global Forum of Funders. This is an open platform that seeks to scale up collective action within funding and science systems throughout the world in order to maximize the impact of science towards the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The second Global Forum of Funders, which was held remotely in April 2021, resulted in finalization of the Unleashing Science: Delivering Missions for SustainabilityReport and A Synthesis of Research Gaps for science to enable societies to accomplish the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.


Cover of the publication Unleashing Science

Unleashing Science: Delivering Missions for Sustainability

International Science Council, 2021.

DOI: 10.24948/2021.04


The Unleashing Science report sets out an ambitious approach to produce actionable knowledge through a set of sustainability science missions in the critical areas of food, energy and climate, health and wellbeing, water, and urban areas. The findings are based on an open global call for input led by the ISC through 2020.

Following the launch of the Commission in December 2021, the Technical Advisory Group has started work. The Commission will report in 2023.

Next ➡ “Bouncing Forward Sustainably: Pathways to a post-COVID world”


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