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 evidence-based, strategic, and effective manner. The outcomes of the Day will shape a call to action for HLPF 2023 and the SDG Summit and inform the Summit of the Future in 2024.
Organizers of the Event
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.
Highlights from the Meeting
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. The purpose was 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 emphasized the importance of creating national transformation strategies based on the SDGs. He highlighted the Group of Friends on Science for Action and its role in promoting the importance of science in shaping decisions.
According to the ENB report, many speakers expressed concerns about the slow implementation of the SDGs and the lack of focus on science when the goals were created. Participants stressed the need to engage science synthesizers, networks, and bridge builders in the science-policy interface and rebuild trust in science.
Examples were shared during the discussions on how the SDGs have provided a framework for understanding issues and pursuing holistic transformations. There were calls for “mission-driven science” or a “big science approach” that align political objectives with actions, institutions, capabilities, and resources to effectively achieve the SDGs.
Call to Action and Future Summits
Based on the discussions during Science Day, the organizers will develop a call to action, which will be published on the official website of the SDG Summit as the position paper by the Scientific and Technological Community Major Group. The insights from the Day will also support the planning of the 2024 Summit of the Future.
Science Day, held on 15 July 2023 at UN Headquarters in New York, US, provided a platform for scientists, civil society representatives, academia, and decision makers to discuss evidence-based strategies for accelerating SDG implementation. The outcomes of the Day will contribute to future global summits and help shape policies and actions for sustainable development.