Immediate action is the only hope for realizing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by (or anywhere near) 2030. The SDGs are 17 interlinked targets put forth by the United Nations in 2015 as the backbone of its 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. According to The Sustainable Development Goals Report for 2022, the SDGs are in “grave jeopardy due to multiple, cascading, and intersecting crises. COVID-19, climate change and conflict predominate.”
Despite admittedly painting a “sobering picture,” the report stresses that the SDGs can be rescued with concentrated global effort in three crucial areas:
- armed conflicts and the senseless loss of lives and resources that accompany them must be ended in favor of diplomacy and peace – preconditions for sustainability
- the blueprint laid out by the SDGs must be met with urgency
- a global economy that works for all must be created to ensure developing countries are not left behind.
Those are no small tasks and there is no denying that moving the planet forward on the path to sustainability will require coordinated worldwide action. Fortunately, the SDG roadmap is clear and as Liu Zhenmin, former Under-Secretary-General for the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs points out in the 2022 Report, “just as the impact of crises is compounded when they are linked, so are solutions.”
We must rise higher to rescue the Sustainable Development Goals – and stay true to our promise of a world of peace, dignity and prosperity on a healthy planet.António Guterres
Secretary-General, United Nations
The SDG Publishers Compact Fellows are working to ensure research and education are key parts of the solutions. The purpose of the Fellows is to support the “publishing industry in creating a sustainable future through action.” They do this in part by providing key tools and practical actions that different groups within the scholarly community can take to embed SDGs into research and education and forge a connection with practitioners.
To help in this effort, researchers, authors, educators, reviewers, and editorial boards are invited to join the SDG Publishers Compact Fellows and the Higher Education Sustainability Initiative (HESI) in a Sustainable Solutions Summit next month. The virtual event will focus on the top recommended actions and trends to better align academic research, education materials, and the sharing of research findings with making the world a better place through connections to the SDGs.
SDG research output is increasing and it is clear that scholarship and science must be driving forces behind the push for the Global Goals. But to succeed, the gap between researchers and practitioners must be closed. Groups like the SDG Publishers Compact Fellows and HESI, and events like the Sustainable Solutions Summit, will be key to leveraging the power of scholarly publishing to help solve the SDGs.