19th September 2016

UN: Connecting science to policy: Major findings and recommendations of the UN Scientific Advisory Board to the countries of the world

Recently, the UN Scientific Advisory Board submitted a Summary Report to the Secretary-General of the United Nations. Highlights of the report include the following advice:

1. Science is a public good, and deserves to be valued more highly, employed more widely, and used effectively by decisionmakers at all levels.

2. Science can be a game-changer in dealing with even the most pressing global challenges if it is used to its full potential at all three crucial phases: understanding the problems, formulating policies, and assuring that those policies are implemented effectively.

3. Science should be integral – not an add-on – to all policy discussions. It should play a key role in the achievement of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals adopted by all UN member states in 2015.

4. The burgeoning flow of scientific data – the data revolution – has great potential for good, if its availability, management, use, and growth are handled effectively.

5. Basic research is the foundation for innovation; applied research creates products and technologies. All nations
should embrace them both. Developing countries will increase their prospects for sustainable development if they fund research at a minimum of one percent of GDP. More advanced nations should invest three percent or more.

6. To ensure a continuing flow of creative scientists, countries should strongly promote education in science, technology,
engineering, and mathematics for all children beginning at an early age.

7. Scientists, policy-makers, and society at large need to understand each other’s perspectives; they by nature operate from different priorities and are subject to different forms of accountability. They should therefore jointly contribute to an enhanced science-policy-society interface.

8. Science can help narrow economic and opportunity gaps. Bringing together science with indigenous and local knowledge will be critical for providing the most appropriate solutions for sustainable development, particularly when it
comes to implementing the Sustainable Development Goals at the local level.

9. Science has value beyond issues that are essentially “scientific.” When tensions arise among nations, their leaders can respond far better if they understand and agree upon the scientific evidence for the root causes of those tensions.

10. In addressing the world’s grand challenges, the United Nations should promote greater global collaboration, encourage the use of international science networks, and provide avenues for science to inform and implement policies.

Read full report here (in English).

Members of the American Chamber of Commerce in the Czech Republic