A workshop was organized within the SRI2023 congress to mobilize and get the input from sustainability science stakeholders and other scientists from all over the world
During this workshop, several key points and ideas were discussed. Here is a summary (no hierarchy intended). You can also watch the video (up) or download the full transcription here.
Science for Action
The importance of science being translated into actionable solutions. The International Decade on Science for Sustainability should focus on bridging the gap between scientific knowledge and policy action.
The importance of effective communication, especially when engaging policymakers, has been underlined: using statistics and demonstrating quick wins to gain their support for long-term research goals.
The process of generating transformative knowledge applicable to different societies should be developed. It is important to define the problem, involve stakeholders, and create social-ecological system maps. Interdisciplinarity and transdisciplinarity play a crucial role in achieving systemic change.
A multi-stakeholder approach to this initiative should not only governments, but also other actors and stakeholders, including indigenous and local knowledge systems, private sector, and various sectors of society. The need for multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary, and transdisciplinary approaches to address sustainability challenges effectively has also been stressed.
The need for universities and other institutions to value transdisciplinary work and create performance metrics to recognize researchers in this field has been detailed: too often today, the evaluation of scientists hinders such avenues of work. It would be important to change evaluation systems to recognize impact-oriented research.
Regional research facilities have been underlined as a strategy to bridge the gap between science, policy, and society. These facilities are naturally inclusive, have a potential for international collaboration, and also have a role in scientific mediation for society.
The need to recognize epistemological pluralism and the interconnectedness of all entities within the natural world has bee discussed, in the context of the incorporation of indigenous science and traditional knowledge systems. An articulation must be found between the importance of science as a universal practice and the need to decolonize knowledge systems while promoting dialogue among different knowledge systems.
There is also a challenge of building bridges between academic institutions and local communities to address sustainability issues effectively.
Financing science and technology
The importance of financing science and technology and translating this financing into policy has been underlined. Also, the political instability has been evoked: when a governement is convinced of the value and importance of science, it can be however replaced by an other, that would think differently.
Make scientific knowledge accessible to the public
The need to make scientific knowledge accessible to the public has been hihlighted, emphasizing the importance of simple language, engaging policymakers, and addressing language barriers in science communication: it has been suggested to train scientists in effective communication, and support them in engaging with policymakers, and also to include communicators in research projects.
The issue of trust in science has also been raised: building trust in science, especially among non-specialists. It has been suggested to use citizen science and social media to make science more accessible to the public.
The importance of educating young people about sustainability has been insisted on.
The example of astronomy has been given as a basic science whose purpose seems to be remote from Agenda 203à, but however contributes to the achivement of several SDGs: inspires STEM education (SDG4); provides insights into clean energy (SDG 7); supports industrial innovations (SDG 9); helps achieve sustainable cities and communities (SDG 11); and contribute to climate action (SDG 13).