UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) mobilizes the global scientific and technological expertise to promote practical problem solving for sustainable development, including the design and implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
In the coming weeks, you may find youth and children of Millburn, New Jersey, surveying their own homes, neighborhoods and community facilities, identifying things that stick out to them or things that bother them in their environment. Their inquiry stems from the Eco Ambassadors program, which launched its first summer pilot in Millburn.
On Friday, July 12th, the Center for Sustainable Development’s Education Team, in partnership with the SDSN’s Global Schools Program and Design for Change, began the Eco Ambassadors’ workshop to put into motion communal action to protect the environment. The initiative is driven by youth, children, and parent mentors, who identify and resolve an environmental issue of their choice.
Starting with participants as young as seven years old, they brainstormed environmental issues they would like to investigate further in their own communities. Local environment pioneers shared their own experiences. Java Bradley, founder of Java’s Compost, shared his own story of starting his company with his wife Michelle, after noticing the lack of composting services in Millburn. Jack Westlake, a recent graduate from Environment and Sustainability program at The University of the South, gave a flavor of the emerging field of environment and sustainability studies to the young participants and how sustainability issues will become even more critical in the future.The workshop also included the discussion of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), along with the Design for Change guide on how to tackle issues– to take issues through the process from ideas on possible change into actionable solutions.
The Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) has been operating since 2012 under the auspices of the Secretary-General of the United Nations to support the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. It is directed by Professor Jeffrey D. Sachs, SDG Advocate, and has offices in New York, Paris, and New Delhi. The Thematic Research Network on Data and Statistics (TReNDS) is a network of experts within SDSN committed to leveraging the data revolution for sustainable development.
The TReNDS C4DC Intern will support the Contracts for Data Collaboration Project (C4DC) project. A joint venture of TReNDS, the World Economic Forum, New York University’s Governance Lab, and University of Washington’s Information Risk Research Initiative, C4DC works to document and understand the ways data sharing agreements (DSAs) are created to support the sustainable development and humanitarian communities. As described in an introductory blog and in our inception brief, the project is assembling an online repository of analyzed DSAs, along with case studies and other user materials. The aim is to enable data sharing within government and across sectors to improve public outcomes while appropriately navigating the privacy concerns and legal sensitivities associated with many data sources.
The intern will support the C4DC Project Manager at TReNDS with locating and analyzing DSAs, as well as helping with related activities.
Helping to identify and collect examples of data sharing agreements (DSAs) from around the World.
Analyzing agreements according to the C4DC analytical framework.
Helping to upload agreements to an online repository.
Support TReNDS and C4DC partners with identifying common language and other insights from the agreement repository.
Contribute to the drafting of an initial insights report.
Possibly assist with organizing a C4DC event gathering.
Familiarity with MS Word, MS Excel, and WordPress.
Direct experience or familiarity with legal concepts. A current law school student would be preferred.
A particular interest in the issues of sustainable development and/or data.
Quick thinker, self‐starter, and attention to detail.
Ability to work independently, while collaborating remotely with various stakeholders
Duration: August, 12 2019 – October 4, 2019
Compensation: $18/hour, 20 hours per week, 8 weeks
Location: Some flexibility but must be able to travel once per week to SDSN’s New York Office, 475 Riverside Drive, Suite 530, New York, NY 10115.
Abstract / Short version: New York, 15 July 2019, alongside the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), SDSN and GIZ jointly hosted an event to discuss the role of spillover effects in SDG implementation. The event featured prominent keynote speakers and panelists including Prof. Jeffrey Sachs as well as the presentation of a jointly developed policy paper and an interactive spillover map.
Main text body: In an interdependent and interconnected world, countries’ ability to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are not only determined by domestic efforts, but also by actions taken in and by other countries. Such spillover effects need to be measured and understood to achieve the SDGs. Reason enough for SDSN and GIZ to jointly host an event on these questions. The event was kicked off by a keynote speech of Dr. Ingolf Dietrich, Commissioner for the SDGs at the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), Germany, who emphasized the global responsibility of each country to not only focus on domestic efforts, but also consider impacts of its actions abroad. Afterwards, Prof. Jeffrey Sachs presented a typology of such spillover effects in his keynote speech and named examples such as tax havens or banking secrecy.
Dr. Guido Schmidt-Traub, Executive Director of SDSN, presented the work of SDSN and GIZ on international SDGs spillovers, which includes a newly published policy brief. This working paper contains six practical steps to close knowledge and data gaps on trade-related international spillover effects. He also announced a new joint work stream with the Yale Center for Environmental Law & Policy on the Environmental Impact Index (EII) and launched its first outcome – an interactive online tool, which displays bilateral spillover effects.
Afterwards, several speakers discussed the policy recommendations and further examples in a panel discussion. Annika Lindblom, from the Finnish National Commission on Sustainable Development, highlighted that spillovers are a global responsibility for all and underlined the governments’ needs for tools. Erik Giercksky, from UN Global Compact, gave examples of blueprints that had been developed to tackle unsustainable value chains, but emphasized that much more political power is needed in the private sector. Seema Joshi, from Amnesty International, agreed and highlighted the human rights dimension of international spillovers, e.g. in palm oil plantation or cobalt mining. Dr. Jorge Gómez-Paredes, SDSN Andes, elaborated some positive spillover effects as job creation. Everyone agreed that positive spillover effects should be strengthened and that a joint effort to tackle negative spillover effects is needed. This also should take interlinkages between different environmental and social impacts into account. The discussion was followed by a Q&A with a very interested and engaged audience.
This working paper describes international SDG spillovers and reviews techniques for their measurement. It proposes six practical steps to close knowledge and data gaps on trade-related international spillover effects.
The Environmental Impact Index (EII) is developing a new global measure of countries’ domestic and international environmental impacts. It includes outcome-based measures of resource use and pollution relating to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the country level.
International spillover effects occur when one country’s actions generate benefits or impose costs on another country that are not reflected in market prices, and therefore are not “internalized” by the actions of consumers and producers. Such spillover effects can undermine other countries’ efforts to achieve the SDGs. This data visualization tool tracks bilateral spillover effects that one country has over another.
The Sustainable Development Solutions Network’s Thematic Research Network on Data and Statistics (SDSN TReNDS) is seeking a Communications Manager.
Communications are a critical part of TReNDS in increasing the visibility of our work and enhancing our reputation among target audiences, including national statistical systems, international organizations, governments, NGOs, other academic institutions, and donors. We represent a set of leading academic and policy voices in the model of a think tank, furthering evidence-based insights and recommendations for harnessing the data revolution for sustainable development.
Our communications manager must be able to think “big picture” in supporting our existing communications strategy and adapting it as needed, while also being capable and efficient in the details of its execution, from producing events to content management. The ideal candidate will have experience in strategy development, technical writing or research, editing, event management, digital content management, and relationship management (including with independent contractors or agencies). Some international travel, largely in support of international events, can be anticipated.
Strategy – 20%
Adapting TReNDS’ current communications strategy as needed
Developing communications strategies with partners for joint projects
Developing a content calendar as needed
Researching new opportunities for engagement and communication e.g. with potential partners, in media outlets, through various community channels and forums
Liaising with SDSN Communications colleagues on broader organizational communications strategy and planning
Writing & Editing – 20%
Directing contributors on written outputs for TReNDS’ projects
Reviewing and editing written outputs from TReNDS’ secretariat, experts, and partners, including copyediting, aligning to style guides where relevant, and incorporating key messaging
Developing blog posts for SDSNTReNDS.org
Developing blog posts or other medium-form written content for partner channels and/or external opportunities
Web & Digital Content Management – 15%
Developing short-form content for social media and other digital channels, both owned and external
Developing basic graphics or editing images to accompany digital content
Developing promotional kits for timely initiatives, launches, or publications, including strategic platform and partner outreach
Posting and scheduling content across digital communities and platforms
Identifying potential new channels for TReNDS’ engagement
Formatting and managing content for web, notably research outputs and blogposts; familiarity with Squarespace or other content management systems is required
Leading or supporting project-specific website strategy and development with organization’s web developer or external agencies
Event Management – 15%
Researching potential events for participation
Developing submissions and presentations for event sessions, conference papers, and similar, often in collaboration with key partners
Coordinating with relevant event contacts
Researching vendors for TReNDS-hosted events, coordinating with related vendors, and procuring vendors for events
Providing A/V support and onsite logistics as needed, including at joint project events
Graphic Design (minimal) – 5%
Designing for digital channels, e.g. social media posts (see “Web & Digital Content Management”); experience with Adobe Creative Suite ideal
Researching and coordinating with design agencies/creatives for larger outputs
Relationship Management – 15%
Coordinating with key partners on communications strategies and execution for shared projects
Managing agencies or independent contractors for design or other services (see “Writing & Editing,” “Graphic Design”)
Engaging with potential new partners (see “Strategy” above)
Administrative – 10%
Invoicing and purchasing associated with the above activities, including but not limited to vendor contracting
General logistics and team engagement such as coordinating and attending team meetings, managing travel logistics for work travel, assisting with project management and organization, and similar
Bachelor’s degree preferred
Professional fluency in English required, other languages a plus
Minimum of 4-5 years of relevant experience in marketing, PR and/or communications preferred
Experience and/or interest in sustainable development
Exceptional writing, editing, and oral communications skills required
Proficiency with content management systems (Squarespace preferred) and social media management required
Working ability in graphic design and digital content development tools preferred (Adobe Creative Suite preferred), but not required
Strong time-management skills and ability to work in fast-paced environment
Ability to work independently, without constant supervision
Adept at learning and navigating new technologies quickly
TReNDS, SDSN’s Thematic Research Network on Data and Statistics, is sharing a preview of the upcoming report Counting on the World to Act (September 2019). Counting on the World to Act details the sea change needed in modern statistical systems in order to support the world’s greatest needs. Specifically, the report is addressed to the international and national stakeholders with the responsibility – and power – to support the Sustainable Development Goals, the cross-cutting efforts that must be achieved in the next 10 years for the world’s people, this one planet we have, and our ongoing prosperity.
Counting on the World to Act is a follow-up to 2017’s Counting on the World and will be officially released in September 2019.
The executive summary outlines four building blocks for robust, inclusive and relevant national data systems:
Strong leadership and governance with an empowered national statistician or relevant national data coordinator who is open and enabled to collaborate with third parties, and is actively encouraging a more inclusive international statistical system
Common principles, standards, and policy frameworks to ensure data comparability and the capacity to integrate data from different sources, as well as a supportive environment for collaboration
An open, user-centric system that actively supports public and private data demands, collaboration, and innovation at the local, national, and international levels
A robust funding model that ensures the long-term production of the vital data we need to manage progress towards sustainable development
SDSN Sustainable Agriculture & Food Systems hosted the fully online e-conference Responding to Fall Armyworm in Asia from 10-12 July, 2019. Fall armyworm is native to the Americas but spread to Africa in 2016 and to Asia last year. It attacks maize and various other important food crops and thus poses a serious threat to food security. Over 300 participants registered for this e-conference to learn about fall armyworm in Asia in 3 live sessions with experts and to connect with each other via the online conference platform.
Wednesday 10 July: Fall armyworm identification, monitoring and status
On the first day of the e-conference, Kris Wyckhuys (Chrysalis Consulting) explained what fall armyworm looks like, how you can recognize it in your fields and outlined the variety of management options that are available (slides). Keith Cressman (FAO) demonstrated the new version of FAO’s monitoring app for fall armyworm which not only monitors the pest but also offers farmers advice (slides). Watch the video to learn more.
Thursday 11 July: Options to respond to fall armyworm in Asia
On the second day of the e-conference, Paul Jepson (Oregon State University) explained how certain pesticides do more harm than good by killing natural enemies and harming human health (slides). Malvika Chaudhary (CABI) then discussed the various options for biological control, i.e. biological control by introduction, augmentation and conservation (slides). Isaac Oyediran (Syngenta) discussed the role that Bt maize could play and the importance of insect resistance management for Bt maize (slides). Watch the video to learn more.
Friday 12 July: Responding to fall armyworm on-farm
On the last day of the e-conference, we zoomed in on the farmers and their reality. Fred Baudron (CIMMYT) shared insights on factors contributing to fall armyworm infestation and the impact on yields, based on 2 years of data on smallholder farms in Zimbabwe (slides). Anne-Sophie Poisot (FAO) focused on effective strategies to reach out to farmers, explaining that employing multiple approaches works best (see, hear and do) (slides). Watch the video to learn more.
Are you concerned about the global climate change that is reshaping our planet? Are you concerned about the trees being cut and oceans getting polluted? If these things trouble you, then you are the right candidate for being an Eco-Ambassador!
Environment in Action is an initiative of The Center for Sustainable Development (CSD) within The Earth Institute at Columbia University. It is a way to incorporate the knowledge and research developed by Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory scientists into science curricula of schools and community centers. Originally focused on partners in developing countries, it soon became clear that every community of learners can benefit from environmental education, in diverse settings including homes, schools, businesses and communities.
By presenting science that is alive and relevant to the daily lives of students, the Eco Ambassadors program is meant to engage our next generation, so that they can educate their own communities about local environmental issues and start solving these issues with community action. It aims to engage interested participants in meaningful ways, using Design for Change’s Feel-Imagine-Do-
Share method. The initiative is in partnership with the Global Schools Program.
The first pilot of the Eco Ambassadors program will take place in Millburn, New Jersey, USA.
The program will run from June to September, culminating in final presentations at International Conference on Sustainable Development!
The objectives of the Eco Ambassadors program are to:
Become aware of global environmental challenges
Meet with amazing front runners in our immediate environment and community
Work on individual or group projects alongside helpful Parent Mentors to understand the environmental challenges and try to address them in small and big ways.
Passion and commitment to make things happen!
Eco Ambassadors will be required to spend 5 hours per week to work on individual or group projects on topics related to sustainability.
Adults/parents have volunteered and will take a few students each on their sustainability journey.
Ideas on how you can use the framework discussed in this workshop to resolve a sustainability issue in the Millburn neighborhood. Ideas need to be tangible and visible. It cannot be left at a conceptual stage.
A short movie (not more than 8-9 minutes) or PowerPoint presentation (not more than 10-15 slides) on your project.
This outcome will be reviewed by experts based on evaluation criteria which will be shared with you. You will receive comments/suggestions to improve your product.
Selected movie/PowerPoint will be shared with IB Schools through Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN).
The outcomes will also be screened at a UN event on the 24th of September 2019 as part of ICSD!
This project is implemented by researchers at the Center for Sustainable Development (CSD), Earth Institute, Columbia University. They will help to introduce the topic and guide you throughout the process. You can learn more about our work at www.csd.columbia.edu. The Global Schools Program of the SDSN will also partner to share our materials to a wider group and get us connected with like-minded people.
A joint initiative by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) and the Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP). With support from the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC).
Consultation #2: Indicator selection, Raw data and Thresholds
The European Union (EU), its Commission, and member states must assume a stronger role in promoting and implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as well as the outcomes of the Paris Agreement. Both provide useful and timely frameworks for mapping out a long-term vision for the economic, social, and environmental transformations that Europe needs. Following the election of a new Parliament, the onset of Finland’s EU Presidency (the country is strongly committed to sustainable development), and the arrival of a new EU Commission, 2019 offers an opportunity to build greater momentum for sustainable development.
Building greater momentum for SDG implementation requires the mobilization and involvement of stakeholders from across the EU. We need more data-driven discussions about the challenges and opportunities to address them through long-term strategies at national and EU levels. This was underlined in the recent SDSN study Exposing EU policy gaps to address the SDGs commissioned by the EESC.
Sound metrics and data are critical for turning the SDGs into practical tools for problem solving. Yet, there is currently no fit-for-purpose instrument to measure the distance to be covered and the efforts made by the EU and its member states to achieve the SDGs by 2030. Civil society would also like to see greater involvement of non-state actors in the identification of appropriate data and data sources to capture the full range of sustainable development challenges across the EU.
SDSN and IEEP, in collaboration with the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), are launching a participative process to develop an SDG report in October 2019 in order to present an up-to-date, quantitative view of the major SDG achievement gaps of the EU and all its member states. The report will be co-designed with civil society organizations and other actors to ensure that it responds to the needs and to build buy-in. We will estimate the SDG achievement gap for each metric by building on the methodology of the Sustainable Development Report 2019 (which includes the SDG Index and Dashboards) published annually since 2016 by the Bertelsmann Stiftung and SDSN. The report’s methodology was audited by the European Commission Joint Research Centre in June 2019.
Objective of this consultation
The report will draw on a mix of data sources from the European Commission services and agencies (Eurostat, European Energy Agency, Joint Research Centre, Directorate-Generals etc.) but also from other non-official data produced by the research community, non-governmental organisations and other stakeholders, to ensure that all major policy needs are addressed. Country profiles and data visualisation tools will communicate the findings and peer to peer learning and exchange events are planned to support evidence-based implementation of the SDGs in the EU. The aim of the report is also to help identify major data gaps that need to be addressed in future years.
The SDSN and IEEP are working with the EESC to mobilize stakeholders across the European Union to review (1) the selection of indicators and (2) the absence of errors in the data presented and (3) key methodological choices (especially time-bound thresholds) and (4) the initial results and findings. The two organisations (SDSN and IEEP) will be responsible for making the final independent decisions on indicator election/exclusion and methodological choices and will draft the report.
The objective of this second consultation is to provide feedback on a proposed list of 111 indicators pre-selected by SDSN. This list has been refined following a first round of consultation conducted in May 2019 and a workshop in Brussels hosted by the EESC on 21 June 2019. The selected indicators were identified as potentially suitable SDG metrics based on five criteria and following a careful review of 300+ indicators (“comprehensive list”) available from official and non-official data sources.
At this stage we are seeking the following types of feedback:
Proposals for new indicators (especially under SDG 12-15)
Verify the absence of errors in the raw data presented
Feedback on thresholds (“green values”) to be achieved by the European Union and its member states by 2030. These thresholds are used to identify “distance to targets” and highlight major priorities for action.
Feedback on the draft findings and results (do they intuitively make sense)
Organisations are welcome to provide comments on indicators under each SDG but can also focus only on their areas of core expertise (e.g. economic, social, environmental, governance goals). We encourage each organisation to share the consultation material with colleagues in their organisations that have specific knowledge and expertise on indicators/monitoring.
2019 Sustainable Development Report Launched
SDSN and Bertelsmann Stiftung published the Sustainable Development Report 2019 including the SDG Index and Dashboards. It outlines progress by countries on their achievement of the SDGs. The report calls for six major transformations that help countries organize SDG implementation: skills and inequalities, health and wellbeing, clean energy, land-use and food systems, cities, and digital technologies.
Consultation on EU SDG Index held with EESC
SDSN and its partners – the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) and the Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP) – organized a workshop in Brussels to present the objective of their EU project which will lead to the release of the “2019 Report on Europe and the SDGs” (which will include an EU SDG Index and Dashboards) in October. The SDSN presented the results from the first round of consultation conducted in May as well as first preliminary findings from the study.
Penn State University, an SDSN USA member, is partnering with Project Drawdown to host a conference on climate change research and action this September. Submit an abstract by 15 August.
Read about a new initiative from the United Nations, SDSN TReNDS, the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data, and the World Bank to tackle timely data gaps here.
The Science Platform Sustainability 2030 (wpn 2030), co-hosted by SDSN Germany, calls for participation for the further development of the German Sustainability Strategy. The scientific consultation is open until 31 July.
New York, 8 July 2019 – Today, the Sustainable Development Solutions Network’s United States Network (SDSN USA) launched the 2019 US Cities Sustainable Development Report, SDSN’s third city-level report ranking 105 US cities on progress towards the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals for 2030 (SDGs). The results show that there will be significant work to do across the board if the SDGs are to be achieved by 2030, as cities on average scored only 48.9%. In the 2019 Index, top-ranking San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, California Metro Statistical Area (MSA) has an overall score of 69.7, meaning it is 69.7% of the way toward fully achieving the SDGs, according to the measures used in this index.
The Sustainable Development Goals are a comprehensive framework to achieve economic prosperity, flourishing people, and a healthy planet, developed through broad consultation led by the United Nations and adopted by 193 countries, including the United States, in September 2015.
Using 57 indicators collected across 15 of the 17 Goals, this report considers city performance across a wide-variety of sustainability topics, from incarceration to clean water, and from early education to sustainable transit. Of the nearly 6000 indicator scores, only 14% are “green,” or demonstrate “good performance”, underlying just how much work will be required to achieve the Goals.
This report provides an entry point into using the SDGs as a tool for interdisciplinary problem solving at the local level, and provides opportunities for comparison to other contexts, such as the State, Global, and European Cities indices. This database of indicators highlights sustainable development opportunities and successes in the U.S. at the city level, it provides a snapshot of where the 100+ largest U.S. cities stand on SDG achievement, and helps identify priorities for early action in each metropolitan area. Additionally, the report includes a list of data gaps that are hindering cities’ and the federal government’s ability to effectively plan and achieve sustainable progress. Finally, it provides a pathway to considering equity and access across the goals using available data to consider the Leave No One Behind Agenda.
To view the full report and data for the “2019 US Cities Sustainable Development Report”– including rankings of the 105 MSAs included in the analysis and a feature on San Juan, Puerto Rico, visit www.sustainabledevelopment.report/2019USCities.
ABOUT SDSN USA
The SDSN USA is a network of researchers, knowledge creators and thought leaders connected together to mobilize expertise on the SDGs in the United States. Officially launched on December 4, 2018, the SDSN USA has over 120 members from 41 states, Puerto Rico, and Washington DC. It joins the existing Sustainable Development Solutions Network which spans six continents and draws upon the knowledge and educational capacity of over 1,000-member institutions.