Several groups, panels and forums are sharing the responsibility to follow the implementation of SDGs in the UN system.
A most interesting read is the full guide published by the InterAcademy Partnership, that you can download here.
But as it is longer than this post, have a quick look about why you should take more time for SDGs.
Like the authors of the guide, we felt that a figure (up) would help to answer the question in the title of this post. We will try to give a summary of this part about how SDGs are supposed to be implemented at the international level.
The central body for this is the UN General Assembly. The General Assembly voted the SDGs in 2015, and is responsible of ther evaluation.
SDGs specific structures
- The High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) updates UN General Assembly on implementation progress. HLPF gathers every July all UN Member States, specialised agencies and other stakeholders.
- The Secretary-General’s Sustainable Development Goals Report, an assessment of global and regional progress based on the latest available data from the global SDG indicator framework, prepared by the UN with inputs from international and regional organisations also informs HLPF itself.
- The Global Sustainable Development Report (GSDR), that you can read about evey Monday in this News section, published every four years, is also part of this information.
- The Technology Facilitation Mechanism (TFM), whose objective is to enhance the effective use of STI for the SDGs, based on a multi-stakeholder collaboration between Member States, civil gateway for information on existing STI initiatives, mechanisms and programmes, also supports HLPF.
- A 10-member group representing civil society, the private sector and the scientific community, supports the TFM. Its role is to provide ideas, advice and guidance to the Inter Agency Task Team, support the STI Forum and to facilitate the role of STI systems in delivery of Agenda 2030.
Permanent UN structures
In addition to the structures established specifically for the SDGs, there are numerous (permanent) UN structures called “programmes and funds”, “specialised agencies” and “functional commissions”. They also contribute to the SDGs and provide a rich, if complicated, scope of engagement for academies and the wider science community. They are complicated because there are many of them and because they have very different science advisory systems and processes.
- There are also established global science assessment panels – the most prominent examples being the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES).
- The Commission on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD) is worth a specific mention: it is a subsidiary body of the UN’s Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and provides both ECOSOC and the UN General Assembly high-level advice on relevant science and technology issues. The CSTD provides a platform for formulating recommendations and guidelines on science and technology matters within the UN, and seeks scientific expertise from around the world to assist with this mandate.
- The Major Group for the Scientific and Technological Community – through its organising partners, the International Science Council and the World Federation of Engineering Organisations (WFEO) – is one of the main channels for engaging scientists broadly, participating in intergovernmental processes related to sustainable development, depending on the particular topic under discussion.
- The UN’s Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) aims to accelerate joint learning and promote integrated approaches to interconnected economic, social and environmental global challenges. The SDSN works closely with UN agencies, multilateral financing institutions, the private sector, and civil society.
- SDG Academy, a virtual platform providing free, high-quality, mass online education on the SDGs, is hosted by SDSN. It plays a role in data monitoring and accountability, including the annual SDG Index and
- Future Earth’s Knowledge-Action Network on the SDGs is designed to enhance communication, promote awareness of the SDGs and the scientific challenges in delivering them, and strengthen the science-policy interface at all levels of governance.
- UN Regional Commissions on Sustainable Development promote the SDGs through peer learning and cooperation, and providing regional inputs to the HPLF. Regional fora create spaces to share policy solutions, good practices and challenges in SDG implementation, and help identify major regional and sub-regional trends. They are open to the participation of all relevant stakeholders, including international and regional organizations, civil society, academia and the private sector. Academy networks in Africa (NASAC), the Americas (IANAS), Asia (AASSA) and Europe (EASAC) could strengthen relations with UN Regional Commissions and their Fora as platforms for supporting the SDGs.
The academies participation
It may seem a bit complicated for national academies to participate to these meetings and panels. Of course, IAP and ISC, the international umbrella organizations, are in the front line to represent scientists there, and national academies can have informations and contributions throughthem. But they can also be part of some of these forums directly.
For instance, the TFM is responsible for organising annual UN STI Multi-stakeholder Fora to discuss SDGs and how they might be realised at individual, institutional, national and international levels. These fora are open to anyone, subject to submitting a request to participate. The Co-Chairs’ summary of the 2017 STI Forum noted that: “Academies of science and related organized science groups should be encouraged to take an active role in national science, technology and innovation policy processes and in identifying needs and gaps.”