The ISC and the Sustainable Development Goals

The ISC has been continuously pushing for a sound scientific basis and strong role of science in the implementation of the SDGs. As coordinator of the Science and Technological Community Major Group for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the ISC actively mobilizes the latest scientific evidence and thinking from its membership and research networks, notably through annual position papers and engagement in key gatherings such as the STI Forum and the HLPF, to support the implementation of the SDG agenda.

In 2022, the ISC was strongly involved in the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF), the annual intergovernmental forum at which countries review and report on progress towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. Together with the World Federation of Engineering Organizations (WFEO), the ISC organized a side event in the SDG midterm review focusing on major achievements, challenges and barriers to implementation, as well as emerging lessons, actions and priorities for accelerated progress.

This year, the ISC’s engagement was particularly notable as it led the scientific review of the 2023 Global Sustainable Development Report (GSDR) at the invitation of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA). Following an open call open to Members and partners, the ISC received nominations of more than 160 experts to review the first-order draft of the GSDR, with a total 104 comments submitted by the experts over the review period. The final version of the GSDR, which provides evidence-based guidance on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, is expected to be published by September 2023 as the main instrument to inform the deliberations of the 2023 HLPF.

The ISC was also involved in the critical UN Ocean Conference, held from 6 to 8 April 2022 in Lisbon. The Council facilitated the participation of several experts from its network and released critical statements underlining the need to build on the momentum of the conference and ensuing declaration in order to change words into action on ocean protection, and ultimately achieve SDG14.

Throughout the year, the ISC was moreover involved in the preparations of the much-anticipated UN 2023 Water Conference. The Council developed a technical brief drawing on diverse inputs from its membership to highlight the importance of science and actionable knowledge in responding to current global water crises as well as emerging and future challenges.


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