Sustainable development agenda: 2030

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Science  04 Sep 2015:
Vol. 349, Issue 6252, pp. 1048-1050
DOI: 10.1126/science.aad2333

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On 25 to 27 September, United Nations member states will formally adopt the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as key elements of the post-2015 development agenda (1), successors to the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that focused attention from 2000 to 2015. The final 2030 agenda text for adoption proposes 17 SDGs with 169 targets, to be supplemented in 2016 with numerous indicators. All of the text emphasizing science, technology, and innovation (STI) is most welcome but achieving desired outcomes by 2030 will require deep understanding of how to maximize the contributions of STI. Having had the privilege of addressing this topic to the UN High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) that will oversee the SDG effort, I discuss areas that I believe are essential to success. I focus on three issues: (i) using the Global Sustainable Development Report (GSDR) process to bridge SDGs and scientific communities, (ii) choosing targets, indicators, and roadmaps related to STI, and (iii) the imperative of building knowledge-based societies.