Co-evolution of Technology, Society and Institutions: Science-Policy Interface Key for 2030 Agenda

The Global Sustainable Development Report (GSDR) 2016, issued in July by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, points out that implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development requires asking new types of questions along the guiding principle of ensuring that no one is left behind. Strengthening the bridge between science and policies is identified as a need and key opportunity.

A nexus approach, looking at the interlinkages between infrastructure, inequality and resilience, reveals that harnessing synergies and addressing trade-offs is critical for policy-making. Processes must be supported by scientific knowledge and cross- and transdisciplinary collaboration. A critical function of the science-policy interface is to bring new and emerging issues to the attention of policy-makers. Identified issues are explored and focused, possibly leading to more timely responses to emerging threats or the exploitation of new opportunities.

As highlighted in the report, design and functioning of inclusive institutions is essential for delivering on the imperative to leave no one behind. Technology has greatly shaped society, economy and environment and vice versa. In achieving the SDGs, technology has a major role to play. One critical point is to take into account how technology, society and institutions co-evolve.


The Global Sustainable Development Report can be accessed on the Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform: GSDR 2016


Dr. Sigrid Kusch contributed to Chapter 3 “Perspectives of scientists on technology and the SDGs” and Chapter 5 “Identification of emerging issues for sustainable development” of GSDR 2016.