Scientists, representatives from civil society and academia, and national government and intergovernmental decision makers discussed “scientific findings, methodologies, and tools that can help support evidence-based decision making for the SDGs”.
Several participants called for “mission-driven science” or a “big science approach,” where “political objectives are matched with actions, institutions, capabilities, and resources to effectively achieve them”.
The first-ever Science Day convened on the margins of the July session of the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF). Participants discussed potential strategies to ensure the acceleration of SDG implementation in an as evidence-based, strategic, and effective a manner as possible. The Day’s outcomes will shape a call to action for HLPF 2023 and the SDG Summit and inform the Summit of the Future in 2024.
The Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), UN Development Programme (UNDP), International Science Council (ISC), Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), and UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) organized the event.
The Earth Negotiations Bulletin (ENB) summary report of the meeting notes that Science Day brought together some 120 scientists, representatives from civil society and academia, and national government and intergovernmental decision makers to “discuss scientific findings, methodologies, and tools that can help support evidence-based decision making for the SDGs.”
UN General Assembly (UNGA) President Csaba Kőrösi stressed the need to create national transformation strategies based on the SDGs. He drew attention to the Group of Friends on Science for Action, created by Belgium, India, and South Africa, which, he said, “has given momentum to the role of science in shaping decisions.”
“Many speakers highlighted that SDG implementation is too slow and lamented that science was not at the heart of the SDGs when they were created,” ENB reports. Participants underscored “the need to consider how science synthesizers, networks, and bridge builders can be engaged in the science-policy interface, and how trust in science can be rebuilt.”
Participants considered examples of how “the SDGs have provided a framework for understanding issues and pursuing transformation in a more holistic way.” Several called for “mission-driven science” or a “big science approach,” where “political objectives are matched with actions, institutions, capabilities, and resources to effectively achieve them.”
Based on the Day’s discussions, ENB highlights, the organizers will develop a call to action, which will be made available on the official website of the SDG Summit as the position paper by the Scientific and Technological Community Major Group. The Day’s insights will also support the 2024 Summit of the Future.
Science Day convened on 15 July 2023 at UN Headquarters in New York, US. [ENB Coverage of Science Day: Evidence-based Strategies for SDG Acceleration]