The Interacademy Partnership (IAP) has just released the final report of the working group on “Improving Scientific Input to Global Policy Making, with a focus on the UN Sustainable Development Goals” (https://www.interacademies.org/36061/Improving-Scientific-Input-to-Global-Policymaking-with-a-focus-on-the-UN-Sustainable-Development-Goals). The Report focuses on how scientists, and specifically the Academies, are helping to implement the SDGs, the opportunities for a greater involvement and the challenges that need to be overcome. Effective implementation of the SDGs requires access to and application of the best available evidence from the global community of knowledge providers. While the working group recognised that some merit-based academies and individual scientists were actively promoting the creation of knowledge for evidence-based policy decisions, there is much more that could be done. Creating an open dialogue between science, in its broadest sense, and policy development (and implementation) is key here. The adoption of a whole-system perspective is crucial, since the implementation actions for one SDG may be at odds for what is promoted for others. One conclusion of the report is that the SDGs need to be examined together and solutions found that work across all of the SDGs. Reorientation of research and research support, including reward and incentive structures, are likely to be required so that researchers are better placed to support shared global goals
The experience of being a member of the IAP working group was an eye-opening one, and certainly has made me more aware of the many ways that our research group can contribute to the SDGs. Scientists need to make an explicit commitment to position their research within this framework as we move forward.