Future Earth Sustainable Development Goals

Graphic: Global Goals for Sustainable Development

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The aim of the Sustainable Development Goals Knowledge-Action Network is to bring the scientific knowledge and processes of the Future Earth community into efforts to implement and achieve the SDGs. The methodological thinking underpinning this Knowledge-Action Network is that of integrated, system-based, solution-oriented and multi-scale (local to global) approaches.

The SDGs Knowledge-Action Network’s aim is to ensure that science is both a tool and an approach to achieve the SDGs, particularly by adopting a cross-cutting approach and addressing key knowledge gaps related to implementation. As many different bodies are involved in global initiatives to promote sustainability, the SDGs Knowledge-Action Network will act as a convening and coordinating platform, bringing together researchers, stakeholders and decision-makers to source solutions to achieve the goals. Together with the Future Earth community, the SDGs Knowledge-Action Network will work to enhance communication, promote awareness of the SDGs, and the scientific challenges in reaching them, and strengthen the science-policy interface at all levels of governance.

The Knowledge-Action Network achieves its goals by:

  • Mobilising and connecting the research communities with the policy and practice communities at global, regional and national scales
  • Identifying knowledge gaps and needs related to global targets, indicators and support for implementation, as well as mobilising research to fill these gaps
  • Identifying and describing synergies and trade-offs, including support for prioritisation, among the goals
  • Acting as an integrating mechanism across Future Earth
  • Promoting SDGs and sustainable development-focused research to research funding agencies, governments, etc.

The Knowledge-Action Network is led by three co-chairs:

  • David Griggs, Monash University
  • Norichika Kanie, Keio University
  • Jimena Leiva Roesch, International Peace Institute

The Knowledge-Action Network’s current concrete workstreams include:

  • Partnership with and contributions to The World In 2050 research initiative
  • Realising the concept of SDG Labs, innovative projects that solve SDG challenges on a small and often local scale, but can be scaled up
  • Creating a scientific platform for a detailed evidence base on SDG interlinkages, based on the ICSU blueprint

Workshops and a conference have been arranged within the framework of the Knowledge-Action Network. In April 2016, Future Earth, in partnership with the German Committee Future Earth and the Sustainable Development Solutions Network, hosted a foresight workshop to explore how research can inform the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. This was a follow-up to a similar workshop in New York the year before.

You can read a report on the outcomes of the workshops, called "The Contribution of Science in Implementing the Sustainable Development Goals" here.

In March 2017, the Synlink SDGs workshop was arranged by Future Earth, United Nations University, Keio University, Global Environmental System Leader Program (GESL), and the Earth System Governance project in New York. It focused on a research and action framework for synergistic scientific and institutional linkages between the SDG targets.

In August 2017, Future Earth, in partnership The University of Tokyo Integrated Research System for Sustainability Science (IR3s) and Stockholm Resilience Centre, arranged the 7th International Conference on Sustainability Science. The focus was on innovation, new knowledge generation and integration to support the SDGs. The concept was developed for the conference, and 21 SDG Labs, out of  more than 300 applications from around the globe, were sponsored/endorsed and presented at the conference. The event was live streamed, and video recordings from the full conference are available here.

You can follow what’s going on in the Knowledge-Action Network on our Open Network community.

Contact: sdgs@futureearth.org