Building Blocks for the Institutional Architecture of the SDGs Science–Policy Interface

The United Nations University Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS) is pleased to direct you to a new report on Building Blocks for the Institutional Architecture of the SDGs Science–Policy Interface.

The report considers what types of knowledge would facilitate successful implementation and monitoring processes for the 2030 Agenda, how such knowledge could be inserted into the global SDGs process, and what institutional architectures would enhance overall effectiveness from global to regional and national level science-policy interfaces for the SDGs. The report proposes the following five building blocks ­to construct a practicable science-policy interface, weighing the pros and cons of each option. The building blocks are not mutual exclusive and could be developed in tandem:

  1. Extended Global Expert Panel on the SDGs

This panel will be similar in structure to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) or the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), and will conduct assessments based on reviews of peer-reviewed literature and compile their results into reports that are adopted by governments.

  1. Thematic Task Forces

Oversight of the SDGs would be assigned to these task forces working on specific goals or on cross-cutting issues to move beyond “silos”. They would not be permanent, but always flexibly constructed by a permanent steering board in response to the respective annual theme of the HLPF or the subset of goals chosen for the annual thematic review.

  1. Network of Networks

The “network of networks” would be designed as an assessment of assessments, which would reflect existing knowledge rather than produce new knowledge on sustainable development.

  1. Ad-hoc Roster

The ad-hoc roster can be defined as registers of professionals and their respective areas of expertise called upon to establish temporary technical expert groups. They will be convened only when there is a significant assessment need, or to deal with emerging problems, or to address specific local or small-scale issues at the (sub-)national or regional levels.

  1. Quadrennial Foresight Conference

The conference could play the role of an “engagement platform” that facilitates an active interaction between scientists, policymakers and other important stakeholders in order to translate scientific knowledge into political language and vice versa. The conference would be held every four years, ahead of the HLPF meetings to allow time to provide input into the UNGA.

The report can be downloaded from the UNU website:

The report was launched at a side event at the 2016 High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development: