2018 has seen a concerted effort by young and senior academicians to engage with the UN Regional Commissions and with each other on the implementation of the UN SDGs. In doing so, they have identified a wide range of practicable actions/interventions that academies could make to better support the SDGs regionally and nationally, and in doing so demonstrate their own value and raise their visibility. This effort has been part of the IAP / Carnegie project on improving scientific input to global policymaking, which will report early next year and conclude in June 2019.
Since April 2018, National Young Academy (NYA) and GYA members have participated in UN regional Annual Fora on Sustainable Development, hosted by the respective UN Regional Commissions and attended by their member states and different stakeholder communities:
- GYA alumna Orakanoke Phanraksa, GYA member Numpon Mahayotsanun and Thai Young Academy member Kwanrawee Sirikanchana participated in the UN Economic and Social Commission for the Asia Pacific (UNESCAP) forum in Bangkok, Thailand, in March 2018;
- GYA members Teresa Stoepler (US) and Alex Godoy (Chile) in the UN Economic Commission for LAC (UNECLAC) forum in Santiago, Chile, in April 2018;
- GYA member Teresa Stoepler (US) in the UN Economic Commission for Western Asia (UNESCWA) forum in Beirut, Lebanon, in April 2018; and
- GYA alumnus Cheikh Diop (Senegal), in the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) forum in Dakar, Senegal, in May 2018.
Where possible, they ran side events with senior colleagues at these fora to advocate for STI for the SDGs and to raise the profile of the academies and their networks.
Complementing this work, 17 NYAs and several GYA members have participated in four regional workshops hosted by IAP and its regional networks: for academies in the Americas in Mexico City, Mexico, in May 2018; for Asia in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in August 2018; for Europe in Halle, Germany, in September 2018, and for Africa in Nairobi, Kenya, also in September 2018.
Using dynamic, interactive methodologies, a voluntary action plan for each region is being developed, based on wide-ranging ideas generated by workshop participants. These will be available on the IAP project webpage over the coming few weeks and will provide examples of how young and senior academies, and their members, can work together regionally, nationally and institutionally to better support the SDGs to 2030.