The Global Sustainable Development Report 2023
"Times of Crisis, Times of Change: Science for Accelerating Transformations to Sustainable Development", the 2023 Global Sustainable Development Report (GSDR), finds that at this critical juncture, midway to 2030, incremental and fragmented change is insufficient to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the remaining seven years. Implementation of the 2030 Agenda requires the active mobilization of political leadership and ambition for science-based transformations. This must be achieved globally - leaving no country, society or person behind. The report is an invitation to embrace transformations with the urgency needed to accelerate progress towards the SDGs.
The GSDR 2023 highlights key transformations needed in different sectors and provides key findings from the literature, practical examples and tools for progress towards the SDGs. It provides a stylized model to help unpack and understand the transformation process over time and outline the roles of different levers in facilitating various stages of transformation through a systematic and structured approach. As history has shown, transformations are inevitable, and this report emphasizes that deliberate and desirable transformations are possible - and, indeed, necessary.
- Global Sustainable Development Report (GSDR) 2023 Key Messages
- What scientists need to do to accelerate progress on the SDGs: Nature commentary
- Unlocking and accelerating transformations to the SDGs: a review of existing knowledge
- Background Paper: Recurring Patterns of SDG interlinkages and how they can advance the 2030 Agenda
The Global Sustainable Development Report (GSDR) originated in “The Future We Want,” the outcome of the Rio+20 conference on sustainable development, when Member States were laying the groundwork for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the 17 associated Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The negotiators knew that the 2030 Agenda would be complex, and unprecedented in ambition, and that a siloed approach to development would not be adequate. They recognized the power of science to understand and navigate relationships among social, environmental and economic development objectives, and so they called for a report to strengthen the science-policy interface.
In 2016, Member States decided that the report should be produced once every four years, to inform the quadrennial SDG review deliberations (SDG Summit) at the General Assembly, and that it should be written by an Independent Group of Scientists appointed by the Secretary-General. They mandated that the Group would consist of 15 experts representing a variety of backgrounds, scientific disciplines and institutions, ensuring geographical and gender balance.
The 2019 Global Sustainable Development Report, The Future is Now: Science for Achieving Sustainable Development, was the first report prepared by an Independent Group of Scientists appointed by the United Nations Secretary-General. The 2023 Global Sustainable Development Report, "Times of Crisis, Times of Change: Science for Accelerating Transformations to Sustainable Development", is the second.
Below please find the link to read the 2023 Global Sustainable Development Report (GSDR):
SDG implementation is achieved primarily at the local, national, and regional level. To inform the GSDR as an assessment of assessments, the Independent Group of Scientists (IGS) is conducting a series of regional consultations with policy makers, experts, and practitioners in different geographic regions to gather insights from a diverse range of local perspectives and experiences. Consultations are conducted both virtually and in-person
The IGS are collecting perspectives from different regions and stakeholders including context specific priorities, challenges, and opportunities as well as scalable, practical tools to accelerate progress. In these consultations, the IGS are seeking perspectives from scientists, government officials in their technical capacities, private sector experts, members of civil society, youth, indigenous people, people with disabilities, and stakeholders at all levels.
Please see below for further information on each consultation.
Recent & Upcoming Regional Consultations
Australia and the Pacific: Monash Sustainable Development Institute (MSDI) is engaging with stakeholders across Australia and the Pacific to capture the challenges and opportunities presented by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) framework, with a specific focus on contributing to the Global Sustainable Development Report. Details are here.
Japan: On 29 March the Japan SDGs Action Promotion Council, in partnership with UNDESA, hosted the Japan SDGs Action Forum with a designated GSDR Sessions. Please see the programme here. Summary Report available here.**
China: On 2-3 December 2021, the Research Institute for Eco-civilization and Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (RIEco) co-hosted the Symposium on Global Sustainable Development Report 2023 (GSDR2023) and China’s SDG Progress and Practices, with support from UNDESA. Summary Report available here.**
Ms. Åsa Persson and Mr. Norichika Kanie presented the GSDR messages in Davos.
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Independent Group of Scientists
Mr. Ambuj Sagar
Deputy Director, Strategy and Planning and Vipula and Mahesh Chaturvedi Professor of Policy Studies at the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi
Mr. John Agard
Professor at the St. Augustine Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, University of the West Indies
Ms. Kaltham Al - Ghanim
Professor and Director of the Social and Economic Survey Research Institute at Qatar University
Mr. Sergey N. Bobylev
Head of the Center for Bioeconomy and Eco-Innovation at Moscow State “Lomonosov” University
Ms. Shirin Malekpour
Associate Professor at the Monash Sustainable Development Institute, Monash University
Mr. Jaime C. Montoya
Professor at the University of the Philippines College of Medicine, Chair of the Health Sciences Division and Secretary, National Academy of Science and Technology
Mr. Jiahua Pan
Director of the Research Centre for Sustainable Development at CASS and Professor and Director, Institute of Ecocivilization Studies at the Beijing University of Technology
Ms. Åsa Persson
Research Director and Deputy Director of the Stockholm Environment Institute and Adjunct Professor at Linköping University
Ms. Nancy Shackell
Senior research scientist at Bedford Institute of Oceanography in Nova Scotia
Hosted by UNDESA in partnership with the Global Taskforce of Local and Regional Governments (GTF) and facilitated by United Cities and Local Governments, the virtual dialogue provided an opportunity for members of the IGS to share key messages from the GSDR with representatives from local and regional governments and to engage in a dialogue about specific ways that the GSDR recommendations could be nurtured by the perspective of local and regional governments and how they can be implemented at sub-national level.
[HLPF 2023 Side Event] Youth engagement for systemic transformation at the SDG-Summit: Implementing the Global Sustainable Development Report call to action
Shaped by their experiences in a rapidly changing world, young people possess their own distinct perspectives on and ideas to address collective challenges. These perspectives often diverge from those held by previous generations. Integrating them into decision making processes is important and contributes to achieving the goals of the 2030 Agenda and to delivering on the necessary systemic transformation as highlighted in the GSDR 2023. This side event offered a space to discuss key priorities and opportunities by and for youth regarding the recommendations of the 2023 GSDR. It served as a platform for youth to share their perspectives and ideas to achieve the SDGs by 2030.
WEBINAR: What to expect at the HLPF: Building momentum towards the SDG Summit and beyond
The SDG Lab, Cepei, and IISD hosted a virtual briefing and question/answer session on the 2023 High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF). What should you expect as the 2023 HLPF approaches, and how is this year’s forum connected to the SDG Summit and setting the scene for the 2024 Summit of the Future? IGS member Norichika Kanie presented the GSDR key findings.
UN DESA Global Policy Dialogues to Turbocharge SDG Implementation
UN DESA hosted two Global Policy Dialogues in June 2023 to discuss ways to strengthen the interlinkages between the Goals under review and present the information in an interactive format for a wide audience.
Both events featured speakers from UN leadership, Member States, the UN High-level Advisory Board on Economic and Social Affairs, and the Independent Group of Scientists (IGS) preparing the GSDR 2023. Each discussion included ways to build and scale partnerships to reach our targets.
- Session 1: Accelerating Clean Water and Energy for All: Exploring SDGs 6 and 7
- Session 2: Innovations for Sustainable Cities and Communities: Exploring SDGs 9 and 11
This short presentation provided an opportunity for the Independent Group of Scientists to engage with policymakers in a discussion on key findings of the GSDR 2023 as part of the 8th Multi-stakeholder Forum on Science, Technology and Innovation for the Sustainable Development Goals (STI Forum).