SDG Action Weekend Event Bridges Science & Academia for Transformative Change

UNU-IAS contributed to the event Catalyzing Transformative Change: Science, Academia, and the Journey to 2030.

Held on 16 September 2023 at UN headquarters in New York ahead of the SDG Summit, the event was part of SDG Mobilization Day, during the SDG Action Weekend convened by the UN Secretary-General.

Engaging policymakers, researchers, academics, and other stakeholders, the event discussed opportunities and partnerships for science and academia to accelerate transformations in high-impact areas for implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

UNU-IAS Director Prof. Shinobu Yume Yamaguchi moderated a panel discussion on the topic Accelerating Progress – Where Can Scientific and Technological Breakthroughs Currently Make the Biggest Impact? It featured speakers from UNESCO, WMO, the African Institute for Development Policy (AFIDEP), and Georgia Institute of Technology. Considering how to harness science and technology in national and global contexts, it explored approaches for strengthening connections between science and policy to engage and empower communities in driving positive change.

Participants emphasised the need to ensure that scientific data and research findings are openly accessible to the public, policymakers, and stakeholders, to build trust and promote informed decision-making. This requires decision-makers to be equipped with the skills to use this information effectively through institutional capacity building. Other key messages included the importance of inclusive research and innovation processes to create solutions that benefit all, and common ethical principles in knowledge production.

The discussion called for improved communication of how scientific research impacts people’s daily lives, in areas such as safety, health, employment, and economic prosperity, to enhance public understanding and engagement. It also underlined the need for more resources to be allocated to science, technology, and innovation within the UN system.

The event was organized by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), in collaboration with the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), the International Science Council (ISC), WMO, and UNDP.

A recording of the event is available at UN Web TV.

In addition to this event, UNU-IAS contributed to the event Leveraging Postgraduate Education for Sustainable Development: The Resource-Nexus and Environmental Management in Global South Partnerships, held on 16 September 2023 at the UNU Centre for Policy Research (UNU-CPR) in New York.

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