The report Unleashing Science: Delivering Missions for Sustainability offers an ambitious approach for achieving the 2030 Agenda with its 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
Business-as-usual approaches to science and science funding are incommensurate with the timeline for achieving the SDGs or that of addressing our current planetary crises in a humane, dignified and equitable manner. A major qualitative and quantitative step-change is needed in science to support critical societal transformations towards a more sustainable, equitable and resilient future.
The report Unleashing Science: Delivering Missions for Sustainability offers an ambitious approach – a concerted effort to produce actionable knowledge through a set number of Sustainability Science Missions – in the critical areas of food, energy and climate, health and wellbeing, water, and urban areas. Scaling up science investment to strongly and sustainably support Sustainability Science Missions, united around a common sustainability agenda, provides a real opportunity for mobilizing and putting to use the best global science for societal transformations in an outcome-driven, coordinated and integrated manner.
What delivering sustainability science require
Delivering the Sustainability Science Missions will require broad and bold engagement, and commitment, from science funders, but also from decision-makers and influencers in governments, in the private sector and in civil society. The international funding community is ready for the challenge and has asked the International Science Council to lead on the development of a process to convene the necessary voices, jointly designing the way forward. This report is an input into that process. It is intended to challenge and – where necessary – to disrupt our thinking and to inspire ambitious and achievable outcomes.
The report presents a framework of ideas on how science, along with science funders, policy-makers, civil society and the private sector, could rise to the challenge of acting effectively in the face of urgent and existential risks to humanity. For science to unleash its full promise, it must be focused, shielded and continually and substantially supported and promoted – both financially and politically – like the mission to the Moon. Ensuring an equal opportunity for a safe and dignified future for humanity should be worthy of a similar commitment.
The International Science Council and its partners are committed to work with political leaders, science funders, both national and philanthropic, and development aid agencies to identify the most appropriate institutional arrangements and funding mechanisms required to co-construct and deliver on the Sustainability Science Missions. You are invited to join in empowering mission-oriented science for sustainable societal transformations in the 21st century.
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