Sustainable Development Goals, or SDGs, part of the United Nations 2030 Agenda, were debated in a two-day regional workshop organized by the InterAcademy Partnership (IAP) and the Inter-American Network of Academies of Sciences (IANAS) and hosted by the Mexican Academy of Sciences in Mexico City (May 29-30). The meeting was the first of four meetings, intended to inform the IAP project “Improving Scientific Input into Global Policymaking” as well as regional implementation plans. GYA member Dr Daniel Limonta was invited to participate as member of the Latin-American region, along with GYA member Dr Teresa Stoepler, Executive Director of IAP-Research. Workshop participants included IANAS member academies from the Latin-American and Caribbean region, national and regional policymakers responsible for SDGs implementation and review, and representatives of other implementation agencies. The main goals of this interactive workshop were to stimulate a discussion about how the academies and their networks can contribute to the implementation of the SDGs in the region, and design an action plan for doing so.

Although a number of countries have reported or agreed to report by July 2018 about the national implementation of the SDGs in the region through the Voluntary National Review (VNR) process, several key knowledge gaps and opportunities to collaborate more effectively were identified during the meeting. There was consensus that implementation of the SDGs involves multiple challenges and requires a joint effort; however, it was also acknowledged that SDGs are a positive and organized path to the progress of the region.

The GYA has been involved actively in the process to improve the scientific input to the SDGs, contributing to an IAP survey of senior and young academies, conducted from November 2016 to March 2017, and participating in a series of regional workshops being organized by IAP. In this Americas workshop, Daniel Limonta and Teresa Stoepler worked with participating Latin-American academies and regional agencies to identify ways in which they can work more closely to implement the SDGs; for example, by providing better guidance to governments, national agencies and policymakers. In this regard, the opportunity to address presidents and ministries in the countries of the region to engage them directly in the implementation of the SDGs was discussed.