Science and the Sustainable Development Goals

  • DATE / TIME:
    2014•11•15    14:00 - 16:45

    On 15 November 2015, the UNU Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS), the Tokyo Institute of Technology, and the POST2015 Project will co-organize the symposium Science and the Sustainable Development Goals. The symposium will focus on opportunities and challenges related to including inputs from scientists in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and fostering interaction between policy processes and science. The event will feature keynote speeches by H.E. Ambassador Csaba Kőrösi (Co-Chair of the Open Working Group on the SDGs) and Mark Stafford Smith (Chair of the Future Earth Science Committee and Science Director of the Climate Adaptation Flagship at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation).

    This event will focus on the following topics:

    1. Assessment of the ongoing process on the SDGs and the post-2015 development agenda, including scientific inputs at Open Working Group meetings, and suggestions for moving ahead;
    2. The role of scientists in shaping the SDGs at global, national, and local levels to help integrate sustainability concerns into actions; and
    3. Engagement between local and international science communities with policymakers, civil society, and citizens to reorganise their questions and research to assist in efforts towards crafting the post-2015 development agenda and the implementation of sustainable policies


    14:00–14:15   Opening Remarks

    • Kazuhiko Takemoto (Director, UNU-IAS)

    14:15–15:15   Keynote Speech

    • Csaba Kőrösi  (Permanent Representative of Hungary to the United Nations; Co-chair, Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals)
    • Mark Stafford Smith (Chair, Future Earth Science Committee; Science Director, Climate Adaptation Flagship at CSIRO)

    15:15–15:30   Break

    15:30–16:45   Panel Discussion

    Moderator: Kazuhiko Takemoto (Director, UNU-IAS)

    • Csaba Kőrösi
    • Mark Stafford Smith
    • Maria Ivanova (Associate Professor, University of Massachusetts Boston; Member of UN Secretary-General’s Scientific Advisory Board)
    • Tanya Abrahamse (Chief Executive Officer, South African National Biodiversity Institute and a transition committee member for Future Earth; Member of UN Secretary-General’s Scientific Advisory Board)
    • Norichika Kanie (Associate Professor, Tokyo Institute of Technology; Senior Research Fellow, UNU-IAS)

    16:45   Closing

    Simultaneous English–Japanese interpretation will be provided for this symposium.


    Please click on the REGISTER button above to access the online registration page.


    The post-2015 development agenda and the SDGs will rely significantly on scientists and scientific communities in order to be effective. These scientific actors will be challenged to create systemic understandings with policy relevance at local, national, and international levels.

    The SDGs will rely upon good scientific input in a number of different ways. Scientists were crucial in providing important inputs at the Rio+20 conference in 2012 and into the process at the Open Working Group meetings, which formed the content of the SDGs. However, the role of scientists and scientific communities does not end with these inputs. It will be necessary for these actors to help shape the SDGs at all levels, to integrate sustainability concerns into other decisions. Implementation, monitoring and reassessment of the SDGs will require continual engagement with science and scientific communities.

    In addition, the SDGs offer a unique opportunity for local and international science communities to reorganise their questions and research to assist in efforts towards sustainable policies. The systemic focus of the SDGs can allow productive, transdisciplinary and cross-national engagement by scientists and scientific communities. Efforts that take advantage of these opportunities have already begun in the Future Earth programme and the Sustainable Development Solutions Network.


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