The Advisory Board will include seven eminent scholars as well as the Chief Scientists of UN system entities, the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Technology, and the Rector of the UN University.
The Board’s primary objective is “to provide independent insights on trends at the intersection of science, technology, ethics, governance and sustainable development”.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres has announced the creation of a Scientific Advisory Board “to advise UN leaders on breakthroughs in science and technology and [on] how to harness the benefits of these advances and mitigate potential risks.”
The Advisory Board will include seven eminent scholars as well as the Chief Scientists of UN system entities, the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Technology, and the Rector of the UN University (UNU). Serving as “a hub for a network of scientific networks,” the Board will support efforts towards a better interface between the scientific community and decision making in the UN.
The Board’s primary objective is “to provide independent insights on trends at the intersection of science, technology, ethics, governance and sustainable development.” It will collaborate with its network to support the UN’s work “for people, planet and prosperity” by “anticipating, adapting to and leveraging the latest scientific advancements.”
Acknowledging that scientific and technological progress can support progress towards the SDGs while also “giving rise to ethical, legal and political concerns that require multilateral solutions,” Guterres said the new Scientific Advisory Board “will strengthen the role of the United Nations as a reliable source of data and evidence.”
The critical role of science in supporting global governance and decision making is being increasingly recognized. Recent highlights include:
- The first-ever Science Day, convened on the margins of the July session of the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF);
- The Group of Friends on Science for Action, announced by Belgium, India, and South Africa “as part of an effort to tackle complex and interconnected global crises”; and
- Scientific briefings on water, climate, and pandemic preparedness and on food security, metrics beyond gross domestic product (GDP), and rendering scientific support to the UN, convened by the UN General Assembly (UNGA) President Csaba Kőrösi whose motto for the Assembly’s 77th session has been ‘Solutions through Solidarity, Sustainability and Science.’
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) leverage science to support policymakers’ efforts to address the crises of climate change and biodiversity loss, respectively. Talks are underway towards a Science-policy Panel on Chemicals and Waste to bridge the science-policy gap in the area of chemicals, waste, and pollution.
The Secretary-General made the announcement about the establishment of the Scientific Advisory Board on 3 August 2023. [UN Press Release]