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The UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) has released the first five chapters of the 2016 Global Sustainable Development Report (GSDR) in preparation for the 2016 High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), which is convening under the theme, ‘Ensuring that no one is left behind.' The 2016 report builds on the GSDR 2014 and 2015 reports, presenting an "assessment of assessments," with a focus on the science-policy interface and the SDGs as an integrated system.

hlpf1 July 2016: The UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) has released the first five chapters of the 2016 Global Sustainable Development Report (GSDR) in preparation for the 2016 High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), which is convening under the theme, ‘Ensuring that no one is left behind.’ The 2016 report builds on the GSDR 2014 and 2015 reports, presenting an “assessment of assessments,” with a focus on the science-policy interface and the SDGs as an integrated system.

“Inclusiveness cannot be treated as an afterthought or even mainstreamed in other areas,” according to Chapter One, which is titled, ‘”Ensuring that no one is left behind” and the 2030 Agenda.’ The report adds that inclusiveness must be an integral part of institutional design, functioning of research and development, and infrastructure planning and development to ensure no one is left behind in 2030. The chapter examines various development strategies (economy-wide growth strategies, social protection systems and area-based and sectoral strategies) to analyze how they address the idea of leaving no one behind. It highlights gender equality and health as sectors in which reaching the furthest behind has been the focus of policy discussions and efforts. Finally, the chapter suggests systematically collecting more scientific evidence on how existing development strategies reach the furthest behind, beginning with an inventory of meta-studies on development interventions in different SDG areas.

Chapter Two, titled ‘The infrastructure-inequality-resilience nexus,’ describes interconnections among infrastructure, inequality and resilience, and synthesizes scientific analyses on the synergies and trade-offs among them. It finds that research on linkages from resilience to inequality and from resilience to infrastructure are not well documented, and suggests further research. The chapter proposes focusing on efficiency and equity goals to harness synergies among infrastructure, inequality and resilience, as well as cross-disciplinary collaboration and engagement.

Chapter Three, titled ‘Technologies for inclusiveness,’ presents the perspectives of 158 scientists on the most promising actions and policy elements to leverage technology for the SDGs, under the following themes: strengthening national systems of innovation to accelerate technology progress; plans, roadmaps and integrated assessment; putting technology at the service of inclusion; building institutions that support sustainable technology progress; bio-tech; digital tech; nano-tech; neuro-tech; green-tech; and other areas.

Chapter Four, titled ‘Inclusive Institutions for sustainable development,’ discusses the importance of institutions in achieving the SDGs. It underscores the potential role of National Councils on Sustainable Development (NCSDs) and parliaments in promoting inclusion in the 2030 Agenda. The chapter notes a lack of empirical data on the topic, and suggests collecting evidence on the role of institutions in fostering inclusiveness, as well as on what combination of institutional elements and institutions can address specific SDGs and targets.

Chapter Five, titled ‘Emerging science issues and solutions for the attention of decision makers,’ presents approaches for identifying and prioritizing emerging issues for the consideration of the HLPF. It explains that preparation of the 2016 GSDR included: material on selected issues from emerging issue identification mechanisms within the UN system; identification of emerging issues and research priorities by national academies of sciences; selected issues from leading academic journals; and a summary of relevant points form crowd sourced science briefs.

The chapter suggests criteria for filtering emerging issues for consideration by policymakers at the HLPF, including its relation to the SDGs, and presents a list of 20 emerging issues. The top five are: establishing governance mechanisms for the SDGs at global, regional, national and local levels; coping with the increasing impacts of climate change; addressing political instability and social unrest from increased income and wealth inequalities; ensuring access to affordable, sustainable, reliable, and modern energy services for all; and accelerating the implementation of environmentally-friendly renewable energy.

The GSDR 2016 conclusion chapter brief, full report and executive summary will be released later in July. [GSDR 2016 Website] [Chapter 1 Brief] [Chapter 2 Brief] [Chapter 3 Brief] [Chapter 4 Brief] [Chapter 5 Brief]


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