News 15.12.2016

New DKN Future Earth report out now: The Contribution of Science in Implementing the SDGs

Our new report published today sets out how science can contribute to successful implementation of 2030 Agenda.

With the adoption of 2030 Agenda and Paris Agreement there are strong signs of cooperation and shared responsibility for the future. However, an agenda as broad as the 2030 Agenda poses many challenges. Major issues in the successful implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are likely to be: consistency with other political processes (e.g. UNFCCC), implementability (e.g. interactions between SDGs) and measurability (e.g. indicators).
As science can contribute to all these aspects by providing the fundamental knowledge base necessary for decision-making and practical implementation of the SDGs the DFG (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft) has joined forces with a number of partners such as United Nations University (UNU), Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), Future Earth and German Committee Future Earth to further strengthen the role of science in the SDG agenda. 

In 2015 and 2016 two conferences have proved to be inspiring platforms for future action. The results of these conferences are summarised in the report "The contribution of science in implementing the Sustainable Development Goals" published today. The report underlines the important role of science in the provision of the data, information and knowledge that is required to facilitate the successful implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the associated SDGs. It is argued that rapid advances in science can best be achieved with an integrated, cross-sectoral and engaging scientific agenda that connects upstream fundamental research with solution-oriented research. 

The recommendations summarised in the report highlight possible contributions that science can make in the broader context. These recommendations focus in particular on internationally coordinated upstream fundamental research.

The recommended core fields of action are:

  • To encourage interdisciplinary science to increase the knowledge base needed for the most efficient and coherent sustainable development pathways.
  • To prepare problem- and solution-oriented synopses in order to better understand, analyse and cope with different types of potential conflicts concerning the SDG implementation process
  • To establish platforms for free and open data sharing with transparent metadata that are available to all stakeholders, and can also be used as the basis for creating flexible indicator frameworks.
  • To foster increased international collaboration and exchange of knowledge and scientific capacity on the global level by intensifying projects such as Future Earth.
  • To reinforce the science-policy process by building on good examples such as the UN-SAB (United Nation Secretary-General’s Scientific Advisory Board) national science advisors and the committees that have been set up to ensure that the best scientific knowledge is available to decision-makers.
  • To develop more partnerships between academia, business, civil society and governments in order to find innovative sustainable development solutions through networks such as SDSN.
  • To understand the implementation of the SDGs as a continuous learning process that needs close and regular scientifically based revision.


The report is available online for download. Hardcopies can be ordered for free in 2017.



SDG report

PDF (4,9 MB)
(updated 21.12.2016)


More information

Foresight Workshop on "Science needs for implementing the SDG framework

DFG-UNU conference on "Measuring Sustainable Development"

Future Earth Knowledge-Action Network on SDGs

German Sustainability Strategy (DNS) German / English