SDG Action Weekend – Accelerating Multilateralism with Transformations in Science Policy Practice Interfaces

16 September 2023, 14:15 to 15:45 (EDT) Conference Room 12, UN Headquarters, New York
SDG Action Weekend – Accelerating Multilateralism with Transformations in Science Policy Practice Interfaces

Watch the event recording:

Current events demonstrate the confluence of crises that has exacerbated challenges to sustainable development across all nations, prohibiting progress toward achieving the sustainable development goals. SDG 17–strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development–highlights the necessity for creating multilateral partnerships that transcend public and private boundaries to develop the capacity of all nations to meet the sustainable development goals. For Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and Least Developed Countries (LDCs), collaboration and information sharing with more developed nations is essential for developing the capacity of less developed nations. SIDS face unique challenges caused by climate change such as rising sea levels, food insecurity, and risk for biodiversity, and all island nations need to join together in an effort to curb climate change and advance the UN Common Agenda. The SIDS Accelerated Modalities of Action (SAMOA) Pathway serves as a framework for member states to work together to create innovative solutions for these unique challenges and propel SIDS forward in achieving the SDGs.

Higher education is uniquely situated to accelerate capacity strengthening in SIDS in line with the SAMOA Pathway. As centers of learning and research, Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) are natural incubators of the innovative solutions required to meet the 2030 timeline. HEIs are also based in local communities and can support transformations from the ground up. Lastly, HEIs should be the core of the science-technology-policy interface through research and innovation labs, international science conferences, and collaboration on policy creation with local and national governments. Partnerships with diverse stakeholders, such as governments, philanthropists, civil society, academia, and the private sector can further inspire and incubate innovation within HEIs to be shared across borders.

More developed island nations, such as Ireland and New Zealand, have a responsibility to smaller, less developed SIDS and LDCs to assist in their capacity development and infrastructure improvement. Developing innovation capacity in higher education settings can lead to further science and research collaborations across member states. These innovations can inspire innovative, multilateral policies in alignment with the SDGs. Overall, in line with the SAMOA Pathway, island nations need to work across borders to collaborate, innovate, and accelerate the science-technology-policy interface and higher education is an important starting point.

The side event will outline the crucial role of the science-technology-policy-practice interfaces, including traditional knowledge, towards implementing effective partnerships to build capacities globally but also in SIDS and LDCs.

These SDG interfaces are shown to have practical implications such as strengthening public health systems, disaster risk reduction (DRR) and preparedness systems, and ocean sustainability. The international scientific and technological community focuses on many challenges faced by LDCs and SIDS (e.g., climate change, gender equality, zero-emission renewable energy, and non-communicable diseases) but an increased effort needs to be undertaken to jointly work on, using local knowledge, building capacity in LDCs and SIDS.

Speakers will argue that the current knowledge for the SDGs in the Global Science Commons is far inside the knowledge frontier required to create a sustainable operating space for humanity. Knowledge is not always free to access or oriented to the public good. Open science for the SDGs needs to be embedded in the Global Science community as a norm. Science needs to be incentivized to build capacities in institutions in lower income settings, to ensure the Global Science Commons can deliver a safe space for all humanity. Science needs to be disseminated and shared at great speed across the 17 SDG targets. The side-event will outline the role that the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) and the International Science Council (ISC) play in Science-Policy-Practice partnerships to achieve these objectives.


David Donoghue, Former PR of Ireland to the UN in New York, co-facilitator of the IGN on the 2030 Agenda, Member of the SDSN Leadership Council

Run of Show

Opening Remarks

Presentations by Speakers

Closing Remarks

Contacts for Questions: 

Patrick Paul Walsh, 
Amber Webb,
Helen Perham,

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