Young Academies of sciences around the globe feel they have a role to play in solving the dilemmas the world is facing today and in improving the world through scientific discovery. This claim is made in a joint statement on “The role of Young Academies in achieving the UN SDGs”, which is published today by the Global Young Academy (GYA) and 36 national young academies and young academy initiatives, including the College of New Scholars.
The statement focuses on the question of how young academies in general, and young scientists in particular, can contribute to the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and how science and technology can best be harnessed towards achieving the SDGs.
The authors recommend that Young Academies should and can take on a greater role in science advice at a national, regional and global level.
They propose three main areas for young scientists’ engagement with the SDGs:
- by offering sound policy advice and contributing interdisciplinary science advice to the SDG implementation, thereby getting recognized as an independent part of their national, regional and global policy advice systems;
- through science communication, with Young Academies in an excellent position to bridge the divide between science and the public, and raise the understanding of the SDGs among pupils, and within civil society and the media; and
- through capacity enhancement: training Young Scientists in the SDG processes, implementation and monitoring, as well as in leadership skills.
The statement unequivocally states that Young Academies can and should play a central role in conceptualising, developing and implementing strategies towards achieving the SDGs. The statement also calls on policy-makers and senior academies of sciences to work with the Young Academies and young scientists in their regions and to come together and work jointly towards a “global science” driving sustainability.
The statement is a direct outcome of the Third Worldwide Meeting of Young Academies in July 2017, hosted in Johannesburg, South Africa, by the South African Young Academy of Science (SAYAS), and co-organised by the GYA, which also demonstrates the dynamic nature of the ever-growing young academy network.