The 2-day SDGs workshop will be hosted by the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina 10-12 September 2018 in Halle, Germany. It seeks to provide an interactive space for fellows/members and senior staff of European Science Academies. The purpose of the meeting is to share insights and stimulate innovative thinking on the role of EASAC member academies and European (national) Young Academies in supporting the implementation of the SDGs. We will also discuss the academies’ place within national and regional systems of science advice. Where can the academies genuinely and uniquely contribute to the global agenda that the United Nations have outlined in the SDGs? And how can they (continue to) demonstrate this?
This workshop is one of four, the other three being run by IAP in collaboration with its regional academy networks in Asia (AASSA), the Americas (IANAS), and Africa (NASAC). The SDGs activity of IAP and its four regional networks is funded under the project “Improving Scientific Input to Global Policymaking”. The project aim is to mobilise science leaders to better engage on the SDGs, to strengthen merit-based academies in this engagement, and to build partnerships for a closer dialogue between science and policy-making.
The Sustainable Development Goals are a collection of 17 global goals set by the United Nations (UN). They cover a broad range of environmental, social and economic development issues. These include poverty, hunger, health, education, climate change, gender equality, water, sanitation, energy, urbanization, environment and social justice. Importantly – and in contrast to the earlier Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – the SDGs apply to all countries around the globe, thus covering both the “global north” and “global south”. All UN member countries are invited to report regularly on their progress in achieving the SDGs on a national level.
Objectives of the workshop
In consultation with the EASAC Bureau, the following objectives have been identified:
- to connect to and build on the learnings from the EASAC Science-Policy-Dialogue project (of 2010-2012) and a short follow-on survey (July/August 2018);
- to better understand the SDGs and consider how the academies can support them, focusing on shared challenges across all goals, the goals most pertinent to Europe, those on which academies have some experience, and/or those being reviewed by the UN in 20181;
- to share national and regional experiences – opportunities, challenges, lessons learned, good practice – including from those academies who have researched and/or engaged in their Voluntary National Review processes for the SDGs;
- to identify priority knowledge gaps (“science-for-policy” or “policy-for-science”) where stronger intervention is most needed (this could help define future work programmes for the academies, subject to funding);
- to develop a voluntary regional action plan for how European academies could work together to support the SDGs to 2030, and translating this at national level.
The workshop will engage EASAC member academies; National Young Academies in Europe; national and regional policy-makers responsible for SDGs’ implementation and review; and one or two other practitioners and implementation agencies.
Science and the SDGs
There are a number of ways in which science can support the implementation of the SDGs:
- supporting robust, evidence-informed policy-making;
- promoting the importance of the SDGs agenda across all Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) disciplines, to the public and other audiences/sectors;
- identifying knowledge gaps and initiating interdisciplinary research to solve real policy questions;
- helping to understand the complex interactions between SDGs, their interdependencies, synergies, trade-offs;
- developing monitoring and evaluation processes, indicators and metrics for assessing where things are working well and where more needs to be done.