The Global Sustainable Development Report (GSDR ) originated in the Rio + 20 outcome, when Member States were laying the groundwork for the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The negotiators knew that the Agenda would be complex, and unprecedented in ambition, and that the traditional siloed approach to development would not be adequate. They recognised 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 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 Future is Now: Science for Achieving Sustainable Development, is the first Global Sustainable Development Report prepared by the Independent Group of Scientists appointed by the United Nations Secretary-General.
Paragraph 85 of the outcome document of Rio+20 (“The Future We want”) lists functions for the high-level political forum on sustainable development (HLPF), including to “strengthen the science-policy interface through review of documentation, bringing together dispersed information and assessments, including in the form of a global sustainable development report, building on existing assessments”.
The mandate for the Global Sustainable Development Report (GSDR) was further confirmed in GA resolution 67/290 on the HLPF; in the HLPF ministerial declaration in 2014 (E/2014/L.22 - E/HLPF/2014/L.3); and “Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” (A/RES/70/1). All these documents refer to the GSDR as a key instrument of the HLPF to strengthen the science-policy interface.
DESA produced three “prototype” editions of the GSDR in 2014, 2015 and 2016. In July 2016, in the Ministerial Declaration of HLPF, UN Member States agreed that the GSDR would become a quadrennial report drafted by an independent group of scientists (IGS) supported by a task team of six UN entities (DESA, UNCTAD, UNDP, UNEP, UNESCO and the World Bank).
Mr. Parfait Eloundou-Enyegue (Cameroon) Parfait Eloundou-Enyegue (Cameroon) is Professor and Department Chair of Development Sociology, Cornell University. His research in the realm of global development covers questions about the demography of inequality, the sociology of education, and the links between global population change and socioeconomic development. Within these areas, he has worked on substantive questions on demographic dividends, youth bulges, intergenerational exchanges, and the demographic reproduction of inequality. In linking population and development, he is testing new frameworks and methods that can link micro processes and aggregate outcomes of interest in global development policy. Much of this work has a strong policy orientation. Some of it seeks to advance understanding of the policy prospects and policies for harnessing a demographic dividend in sub-Saharan Africa, and he has coordinated a network of African researchers working on this question. He is serving or has served on the Board of Directors several professional organizations, including the International Union for the Scientific Study of Population (IUSSP), the Population Association of America (PAA), the US Population Reference Bureau (PRB), and the Guttmacher Institute.
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The next GSDR is due in 2023 to be produced by a new Independent Group of Scientists. The UN Secretariat will invite nominations from Member States in the fourth quarter of 2019, and the Secretary-General will select the Group to draft the report.