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A pivotal year for global policy: the ISC’s involvement with the UN in 2023

Take a look at the ISC’s plans with the United Nations for 2023, including the upcoming Mid-term Review of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, strategic foresight with UNEP, addressing youth mental health with WHO, supporting the development of an international Plastic Pollution Treaty, preparing for the UN Water Conference and ongoing work on the Sustainable Development Goals.

The Council’s ambition is to become the go-to organization for scientific expertise and advice at the global level. The ISC strategy in the intergovernmental system report examines this objective and makes recommendations to the ISC on its strategy.

flag poles and rainbow ribbons

ISC strategy in the intergovernmental system

This report makes recommendations to the ISC on its strategy in the intergovernmental system.

DOI: 10.24849/2021.11

Launching 1 March: Mid-Term Review of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction

2023 marks the midpoint in the implementation period of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, providing a major opportunity to review and bolster implementation of the Framework moving towards 2030, and importantly, strengthen the integration with other international agreements, including the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development. This stocktaking exercise will look at progress to date, the changing context – including in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic and other global crises – and at opportunities to tackle underlying root causes of disasters and risk creation processes that span across sectors and scales.


The report will be launched on line for a Q&A as well as in person at the VIII Regional Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in the Americas and the Caribbean.

How we’re involved

– The ISC has established a multi-disciplinary expert group to contribute to the Mid-Term Review (MTR) of the Sendai Framework led by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR).

– The group worked through 2022 to develop a short report which will be published in the beginning of 2023 and provides a key input from the Science and Technology Community Major Group in the intergovernmental process. The report draws on scientific knowledge from all disciplines to address risks more holistically and enhance prevention and preparedness in all policy areas in the face of mounting disasters impacts.

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volcanic eruption

Disaster Risk Reduction Day 2022: better to prepare than repair

On the 2022 International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction, we took the opportunity to reflect on the progress being made in reducing disaster risk and losses in lives, livelihoods, and health.

Our work on Strategic Foresight with UNEP

The ISC and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) recently announced a partnership to support closer cooperation on strengthening the capacity of science to achieve common objectives on environmental sustainability, including work on strategic foresight and horizon-scanning of environmental trends and signals, among other key areas.

How we’re involved

– The Council will work hand-in-hand with UNEP to design and deliver an Environmental Horizon scanning exercise, which will involve looking at potential and emerging environmental issues and their impacts.

– The ISC has opened the call for experts to join the UNEP-ISC Foresight Expert Panel

– There is also an invitation to ISC Members and their networks to second experts on horizon scanning and foresight for UNEP.

– A report on strategic foresight is foreseen for early 2024.

Addressing youth mental health with WHO

The ISC and the World Health Organization (WHO) have signed an agreement to further mutual scientific cooperation for global health and sustainable development building on the successful collaboration around the COVID-19 Scenarios work led by the ISC. The first project of this partnership will focus on developing a comprehensive understanding of the factors that contribute to the reported decline in mental health among young people, and on identifying effective strategies to address these problems.

How we’re involved

– In 2023 the ISC is undertaking scoping work to identify key issues, knowledge needs and bodies of knowledge to draw from. The foreseen consultations will bring together leading experts in the fields of mental health, youth development, and related disciplines to discuss the current state of knowledge on youth mental health and to identify key research questions that need to be addressed.

Towards an international Plastic Pollution Treaty

The international community is taking steps to address the pressing issue of plastic pollution by organizing negotiation talks on the creation of a legally binding treaty, the first of which took place in November 2022. The International Science Council (ISC) has facilitated the participation of experts in this first meeting and is supporting integrated scientific inputs into the multifaceted challenges related to plastic pollution. The hope is that the treaty, once finalized and implemented, will have far-reaching effects in addressing the problem of plastic pollution, which is affecting not only our oceans but also the land and the health of humans and the environment.

How we’re involved

– The Council is consulting with experts to contribute to the process through policy briefs and statements and is supporting the engagement of scientists across the natural and social sciences to be part of the deliberations and share the latest scientific evidence.

– The ISC will continue to participate in intergovernmental negotiation treaty meetings on plastic pollution. This will provide an opportunity for the ISC to share its expertise and to ensure that the voice of science is heard throughout the treaty negotiation.

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Plastic pollution beach

Negotiations on ending global plastic pollution must be informed by scientific assessment

In November 2022, representatives of the scientific community called for a prominent role for scientific evidence and monitoring at the first in a series of meetings on the creation of a legally binding treaty on ending plastic pollution.

The ISC is preparing for the UN Water Conference

The United Nations will be holding a major water conference in 2023, with the goal of addressing the pressing issues of water scarcity, water quality and sustainable water management. The International Science Council has announced its commitment to support the conference by providing expert guidance on these issues.

How we’re involved

– The ISC has been engaged in the preparatory process to the conference.

– One of the key activities the ISC will be undertaking is the development of a technical brief for the water conference drawing on diverse inputs from the ISC membership. This brief will provide a scientific perspective on the current state of water resources and the challenges facing water management. It will also provide recommendations for addressing these challenges and ensuring the sustainable management of water resources.

– The ISC is also engaged in discussions on news ways of assessing, validating and applying scientific and technical knowledge to address water challenges including through participation in consultations on the proposal to establish a global water assessment led by UNESCO.

– An ISC delegation will attend the Water Conference in March 2023 in New York City, USA.

– The United Nations are seeking strong engagement from the scientific community for this conference. The ISC has been allocated registration spots for its Members, Affiliated Bodies and partners who are interested in being represented at the conference. Find out more here.

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Preparations for the UN 2023 Water Conference: how the ISC is involved

On 24 and 25 October 2022, an ISC delegation was in New York City for a stakeholder consultation and a preparatory meeting for the UN Water Conference that will take place in March 2023.

Our work on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

2023 marks the half-way point in the implementation of the SDGs and the time to take a hard look on how far we have come in implementing the SDGs and mobilizing scientific, policy and stakeholder communities at different scales to drive transformative change. As coordinator of the Science and Technology Community Major Group for the High-Level Political Forum on the SDGs, the ISC will be actively participating in various key events to support the Sustainable Development Goals. The ISC will be involved in the Multi-stakeholder Forum on Science, Technology and Innovation for the SDGs (STI Forum), which aims to bring together stakeholders from government, civil society, private sector and academia to discuss and share best practices on how science, technology and innovation can contribute to the achievement of the goals.

The ISC will also be participating in the 2023 High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), an annual event that provides a platform for monitoring progress on the SDGs, and the 2023 SDG Summit, which will provide a high-level platform for leaders to discuss and review progress on the SDGs. Through these events, the ISC will be working to promote the use of science, technology, and innovation in supporting the achievement of the SDGs.

How we’re involved

– The ISC Global Commission on Science Missions for Sustainability will share further insights and recommendations on new approaches to mobilize science and funding in support of the SDGs, building on the Unleashing Science: Delivering Missions for Sustainability report. The ISC will present an institutional and funding model in early spring 2023.

– The ISC organized the scientific review of the draft 2023 Global Sustainable Development Report which will be published ahead of the SDG Summit in September 2024.

– The ISC will also be preparing the Science and Technology Community Major Group position paper for the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) and will participate in a number of side events addressing the role of SDGs and how to ensure their implementation.

– Furthermore, the ISC will share stories of science and technology in action to promote and raise awareness of the importance of science and technology in achieving the SDGs.

Meet the ISC Global Science Policy Unit

Mobilizing scientific and policy expertise in the UN and intergovernmental processes

The Council’s partnerships and collaborations with the United Nations and intergovernmental processes are led by the Council’s Global Science Policy Unit comprised of the following colleagues, including a presence in New York with ISC Senior Advisor Anthony (Bud) Rock.

Anne-Sophie Stevance

Senior Science Officer, Head of the team

Anda Popovici

Science Officer

Photo of James Waddell

James Waddell

Science & Communications Officer

Anthony (Bud) Rock

Senior Advisor

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