Sign up

ISC Fellows call for urgent action to bring Agenda 2030 back on track

Next week sees the UN’s High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) meeting in New York to review progress on the SDGs, mid-way through the 2030 Agenda. In a powerful statement "Rescuing and integrating the Global Agenda: Harnessing Science and Technology more effectively", the Fellows of the International Science Council (ISC) call for urgent, transformational and integrative action, and an end to political rhetoric and reticence.

ISC members will know that science in all its forms plays a vital role in supporting the ambitious but crucial 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. They will also probably know that this Agenda – and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that underpin it – is far from on track; the global pandemic, wars, environmental crises and economic crashes in recent years have exacerbated the lack of progress. The world is at a critical juncture where political will and collective effort are imperative if we are to build a resilient, just and sustainable future.

In the first initiative of its kind since the ISC Fellowship was established last year, ISC Fellows have prepared a joint statement that articulates the urgent need for an integrated, collaborative approach to meeting our global challenges; for capacity-building where it is most needed; and for strengthening the science-policy-society interface so that the most appropriate knowledge can be applied more effectively to the huge range of challenges we face.

Rescuing and integrating the Global Agenda: Harnessing Science and Technology more effectively

Position paper for the 2023 High-Level Political Forum, prepared by the ISC Fellows.

Released today, the statement builds on Scientific and Technological Community Major Group statements that have been prepared with the ISC and the World Federation of Engineering Organizations (WFEO) Members in previous years, and will be presented to the HLPF 2023 at a Special Event on SDG Synergies held on 16 July by the Chair of the Fellows’ Writing Group, Nebojsa Nakicenovic (“Naki”).

As Naki states, “Recognized for our commitment to bringing science to society, the ISC Fellows have rallied together to chart actionable and impactful paths for revitalizing the 2030 Agenda. We emphasize the urgent need to integrate SDGs and global frameworks, foster inclusivity and capacity-building, and strengthen the science-policy-society interface across all levels. This calls for transformative approaches to accessing, funding, and producing knowledge – business-as-usual is not an option as we must secure a sustainable future for all.

Maria Ivanova, member of the Fellows’ Writing Group, adds: “In our statement, we have endeavored to balance the stark realities of the profound and increasing challenges humanity faces with the hope and the potential for transformative collaboration. Typically, those most impacted by the rapidly changing world have limited capacity to navigate change, and building their resilience is crucial. Through the exchange of impactful stories, mutual learning, and inspiring one another, we empower ourselves to take proactive action and hold decision-makers and business communities accountable.”

You may also be interested in:

The International Science Council at the HLPF 2023

Discover how the ISC is involved in the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development 2023, an international conference to discuss effective and inclusive recovery measures to address the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and explore actionable policy guidance for the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs at all levels.

The statement places science, technology and innovation at the heart of integration, transformation and action, and offers the services of the ISC and WFEO – as the co-convenors of the STC Major Group – in accessing and integrating knowledge, and in strengthening the science-policy interface. Gong Ke, another member of the Fellows’ Writing Group and Past President of WFEO, reinforces this point: “Scientists and engineers worldwide hold the power to help deliver practical solutions to a raft of global and seemingly intractable challenges. By collaborating with diverse scientific disciplines and key communities, we stand ready to make a meaningful impact. The statement of the ISC Fellows captures this willingness: the World Federation of Engineering Organizations, alongside our co-convening partner, the International Science Council, is committed to taking action and driving change.

Reinforcing this point further, the ISC is supporting practical examples of innovative and potentially transformative methodologies that move away from business-as-usual: the Global Commission on Science Missions for Sustainability, a new institutional funding model, will also be launched next week at the HLPF, and the recently launched Group of Friends on Science for Action endeavors to strengthen evidence-informed policy-making in the UN system, as a conduit for accessing all forms of knowledge. 

ISC Members are urged to help raise the profile of this Fellows-led statement in their own national and international contexts and to use it to steer their conversations with multiple stakeholders, with the overriding message that the global science community is ready to help where it can in our collective effort to realize the SDGs.

Image by Patrick Hendry on Unsplash.

Skip to content