The Ministerial Declaration of the 2016 High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development resolved that the the Global Sustainable Development Report would be produced every four years by an independent group of scientists appointed by the UN Secretary-General. The purpose of the report is to inform the work of the Forum.
This latest iteration of the report, Times Of Crisis, Times Of Change: Science For Accelerating Transformations To Sustainable Development, focuses on key entry points for transformation – including human well-being, sustainable and just economies, food systems and nutrition, decarbonization with universal energy access, urban and peri-urban development, and global environmental commons – as well as a framework for understanding how those transformations may unfold over time. It also presents practical examples and tools for fostering leadership and capacity to drive action on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – locally, nationally and globally.
The report synthesizes existing knowledge to cover three overarching themes. First, it focuses on the transformations that are required, and provides examples from the scientific literature of interventions that support change. It then provides a model to help understand transformation processes over time and outlines how systematic and structured action can advance them.
Second, the report illustrates how historical transformations have been facilitated and offers insights on how to use available “levers” to enact change. This knowledge can incentivize and support strategic decision-making by different societal actors by better conceptualizing and framing change.
Finally, the report outlines how knowledge production has to evolve to best support transformation. The authors argue that this can be achieved by both generating knowledge from a broader spectrum of society and connecting that knowledge to decision-making in a more robust and inclusive manner. The report is intended to be used as a tool to unlock the potential of key transformations to deliver on multiple SDGs.