The special issue aims to highlight the evolving potential of big data analytics to enable a comprehensive understanding of complex Earth system processes and cutting-edge engineering for sustainable solutions to global challenges. It features important contributions from the community of science and engineering, led by the International Science Council and World Federation of Engineering Organizations.
The relevance of big data
We all are aware that the modern digital framework has enabled several innovations in science and technology that have facilitated our analytical capabilities, providing us with insights into data that were not possible a few decades before. As a result, we are witnessing an exponential growth in digital services and solutions in various aspects of human society. Almost all domains of science are exploring the prospects of digital applications. In the process of digitalization, big data provides us with new ideas and methods to understand Earth and undertake the epic mission of sustainable development with a new impetus.
Big data for sustainable development
Transforming our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development provides a comprehensive program to collectively address several global challenges, such as disaster risk reduction, climate change, food security, and environmental protection. However, gaps in data and methods to evaluate several indicators restrict effective compliance and implementation in several nations of the world.
Therefore, there is a need to improve data access and information sharing among different organization and countries. This is possible only through democratization of digital resources, information, data, and above all scientific knowledge. This is especially true for fields in natural sciences and engineering where comprehensive knowledge of complex interactions between different ecological and environmental systems is needed to respond to shared challenges.
See the ISC’s project on Digitalization and Sustainability
Acknowledging the transformational force of the new digital technologies, this project aims to maximize their benefits for science and for the achievement of the SDGs.
There are opportunities within the United Nations Technology Facilitation Mechanism framework to improve digitalization and networking of scientific data and information. This will not only enable the flow of knowledge and information to all parts of the world but also help to foster and empower young talent to innovate and devise solutions for their communities using resources and information shared globally. Working to exploit these opportunities, CBAS, as an international research center, will work within the context of a “science for sustainability” framework, and develop scientific products, methods, and technologies from global to local scales to ensure global access to the latest, most reliable information on the SDG indicators. It will also work to mobilize the technological and data resources necessary to analyze and visualize information for informed actions and policies, with fair and open access to all.
Introduction to CBAS
On 22 September 2020, China announced during the General Debate of the 75th Session of the United Nations General Assembly that it will set up an International Research Center of Big Data for Sustainable Development Goals.
CBAS aims to harness big data to serve Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, featuring multidisciplinary research related to Earth system science, social and economic sciences, as well as sustainability science. It is devoted to monitoring and evaluating indicators of the sustainable development goals in the areas where big data plays a key role.
CBAS works towards a vision where data is open and accessible across borders and disciplines, technology is available to support the entire policymaking process, and knowledge and ideas are communicated and grown, especially among developing countries.
Motivated to ensure collective development, CBAS has five key missions:
1) Develop SDG data infrastructure and information products;
2) Develop and launch a series of SDG satellites;
3) Provide new knowledge for SDG monitoring and evaluation;
4) Establish a think tank for science, technology, and innovation to promote SDGs; and
5) Provide capacity development for SDGs in developing countries.
The ISC, together with the World Federation of Engineering Organizations (WFEO), is a co-organizing partner of the Scientific and Technological Community Major Group at the United Nations. In this role, we secure a mandate for science at the UN and integrate science in major global policy processes, such as the implementation and monitoring of the 2030 Agenda.
Image by United Nations Photo on Flickr.
Cultivating a proactive approach to crises: first meeting of the UNEP/ISC foresight expert panel
"The making of the Golden Record of our century": daring to pursue mission-oriented science
To achieve sustainable development, the world needs to mobilize around a big science approach once more
Proclamation of the International Decade of Sciences for Sustainable Development by the United Nations General Assembly
Global science needs a new approach to tackle climate change and complex sustainability question
The ISC addresses the UN High Level Political Forum and meets with the UN Secretary General
Ambitious global $1 billion per year ‘mission science’ model needed to win on sustainable development in time, warn experts
Charting a New Course: Science Day to Pioneer Evidence-Based Strategies for SDG Acceleration at the HLPF 2023
A Model for Implementing Mission Science for Sustainability: proposed by the Technical Advisory Group to the Global Commission on Science Missions for Sustainability
Frontiers Planet Prize, second edition: celebrating the world’s most innovative sustainability scientists
Protecting the ocean: 5 essential reads on invasive species, overfishing and other threats to sea life
The ISC at the Second Session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee on Plastic Pollution
Nurturing a Sustainable Future: Collaboration, Empowerment, Trust, and Resilience in Science at the ISC Mid-term Members Meeting
From Antarctica to Space: updates from Affiliated Bodies on Day 3 of ISC Mid-term meeting
Unprecedented and Unfinished, Second Edition
ISC's nomination track ensures transdisciplinary and global representation in UNEP's Scientific Advisory Group for GEO-7 Assessment
Launch of the LIRA 2030 Africa reports highlighting key achievements and lessons learned from advancing transdisciplinary science in Africa
LIRA 2030 Africa: Learning from Practising Transdisciplinary Research for Sustainable Development in African Cities
UN 2023 Water Conference carries new engagements towards realizing SDG6 and future avenues for a decade of action
IPCC report: the world must cut emissions and urgently adapt to the new climate realities
Delivering actionable and science-based water solutions: new ISC policy brief launched ahead of the 2023 UN Water Conference
Achieving gender equality in Science, Technology and Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)– when will we get there?
Call to engage in Voluntary National Reviews
Distinguished lecture series - From fire to space - Basic sciences lead and shape our paths toward sustainable development
Invitation to ISC Members and their networks to second experts on horizon scanning and foresight
In wake of ‘natural’ disasters, not reducing biodiversity loss is a big missed opportunity
Concern for science and research in Afghanistan following authorities' ban on women from higher education
Contribute a blog or news item to the ISC
International Science Council deplores the exclusion of women from university education in Afghanistan and urges the Afghan authorities to reverse their decision
The ISC and UNEP to cooperate on advancing the use of science in environmental policy and decision-making
Call for nominations for authors, review editors and fellows to contribute to the drafting of the 7th edition of the Global Environment Outlook (GEO-7)
There are 8 years left to meet the UN Sustainable Development Goals, but is it enough time?
Are we in a new era of climate adaptation implementation? The role of regional governments in facilitating local action
In the face of extreme weather events, coordinated global action to address climate change is needed at COP27
Scientific review of the first-order draft of the 2023 Global Sustainable Development Report completed
ISC and WHO sign new agreement furthering mutual scientific cooperation for global health and sustainable development
Happy birthday to the Montreal Protocol – the most successful environmental treaty of all time?
Funding for resilience: Five key objectives to protect vulnerable groups through Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) Investing
WorldFAIR: Global cooperation on FAIR data policy and practice – Kick-Off Meeting introduces major new initiative to advance implementation of the FAIR data principles
What's on the horizon for scientific data services? The latest from the World Data System
Cycling towards sustainable development
Policy Brief: Harnessing data to accelerate the transition from disaster response to recovery
New Technical Advisory Group to support the Global Commission on Science Missions for Sustainability
Global Forum of Funders
Joint letter to ISC Members from ISC President, Peter Gluckman, and Acting CEO, Mathieu Denis
Joint Statement of Intent on the Digital Transformation in the International Scientific and Quality Infrastructure
World Water Day - March 22
Women Leading on Equitable and Inclusive Solutions to address the Climate Emergency: Webinar
Converging Science and Technology in a Digital Era - an overview of ISC data-related activities
The International Year of Basic Sciences for Sustainable Development proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly for 2022
Negotiations on ending global plastic pollution must be informed by scientific assessment
Strengthening the resilience of our global food system while advancing its transformation
A response to The Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response’s new report on the international health response to the COVID-19 Pandemic
High-level group appointed to lead the development of the ISC’s strategy in the intergovernmental system
Working scientist podcast: Democratizing knowledge and access to tools for sustainable development
World Logic Day, 14 January
The ISC has been honoured to have Dr Flavia Schlegel serve as its first Special Envoy for Science in Global Policy
The Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission launches the Global Ocean Science Report 2020
Kyoto Landslide Commitment launched to increase understanding on how to reduce landslide risk
Global Young Academy promote sustainable solutions to problems within global health and higher education
Transformation to Sustainability: Integrating Indigenous and Western knowledge systems for water management and governance
A Data Ecosystem to Defeat COVID-19
SDG interactions as a national policy driver
Four major international data organizations join forces to optimize the research data ecosystem, launching a COVID-19 appeal as their first joint action
Call for Expressions of Interest to Host the World Data System International Programme Office (Partial Submissions Allowed)
Why we need a UN charter
ISC commits to enhanced collaboration with UN-Habitat and UNDRR on urban health and wellbeing and disaster risk reduction
The triumphs and trials of transdisciplinary research: reflections on the un-disciplining of disciplines
External evaluation report of the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) is now available
ICSU begins review of IPBES
ICSU at the 3rd STI Forum in New York
The United Nations proclaims the International Year of the Periodic Table of Chemical Elements
Future of Science: Voices from our partners
Future of science: Voices from our partners
Future of science: Voices from our partners
SDG Interactions, gender, science-policy interface: ICSU at the High Level Political Forum
First UN Oceans conference highlights urgency to address marine pollution, warming and over-fishing
International Council for Science calls on United States to support international efforts to combat dangerous climate change
New report from scientific experts provides a unique guide to translate Sustainable Development Goals into reality
ICSU at the U.N. Ocean Conference
Committee on Data (CODATA)
World Data System (WDS)
Sustainable Development Goals
Call for pre-proposals: Advancing the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 11 on cities in Africa
NZ Government thanks IRDR and CODATA groups for their help following 2016 Kaikoura earthquake
GSDR report launches in France – High level event and workshop co-organized by ICSU, UNDESA, IDDRI and IRD
Open Data in a Big Data World
Global Sustainable Development Goals need clearer, more measurable targets, according to new report from science experts
Landmark scientifc data conference ends with strong support of data sharing for sustainability
International Council for Science endorses open access to scientific record; cautions against misuse of metrics
Nature publishes paper on SDGs by team of authors from ICSU, IGBP and other organisations
ICSU Foresight Analysis peer-reviewed
Workshop on the Description of Nanomaterials
International science community agrees on first steps to establish a global virtual library for scientific data
ICSU and Sustainable Development (2006)
At Pivotal Event in China, the International Council for Science Releases New Strategy to Strengthen International Science for the Benefit of Society
International Experts Call for New Approach to Ensure Challenges to Data Access and Management Don’t Slow Scientific Progress
Socioeconomic Data in Relation to the Integrated Global Observing Strategy Partnership IGOS-P (2004)
ICSU launches an Agenda for Action in advance of the World Summit on the Information Society