ESFRI RIs for Sustainable Developement Goals
ESFRI reflects in its White Paper that the European landscape of Research Infrastructures addresses the overall objectives of the new European Research Area (ERA) and is being constantly optimised producing new science to tackle new societal challenges and to contribute to the global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs have become the world’s shared framework for sustainable development and call for actions by all the actors of the society, including science and research. A holistic framework for action that reduces the complexity and encompasses the 17 SDGs and their 169 Targets was suggested by the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network in the paper Six transformations to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals published in the journal Nature Sustainability in August 2019Six Transformations to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Sachs, J.D., SchmidtTraub, G., Mazzucato, M. et al. Nat Sustain 2, 805–814 (2019)
These six SDG Transformations are suggested as modular building-blocks of SDG achievement: (1) education, gender and inequality; (2) health, well-being and demography; (3) energy decarbonisation and sustainable industry; (4) sustainable food, land, water and oceans; (5) sustainable cities and communities; and (6) digital revolution for sustainable development.
The impact of the ESFRI Research Infrastructures reaches all these six transformations. ESFRI Research Infrastructures cover most scientific fields, from Social Sciences & Humanities via Health & Food and Environment to Energy and Physical Sciences & Engineering, and thanks to synergies and interdisciplinary research, they generate knowledge and impact in all these fields including the interface between different disciplines. This is why, by using synergistically their capacities from all scientific fields, ESFRI Research Infrastructures have high potential to address complex phenomena like grand societal and scientific challenges – e.g. climate change, population increase and differential ageing, food and energy sustainability. Of the identified 17 SDGs, all of them are addressed by the European Research Infrastructures, and are linked directly or indirectly to the research conducted within them. Therefore, following the Transformations approach described earlier, which identifies synergies in the sustainable development pathways, this chapter focuses on inter-relationships and multiple benefits which ESFRI Research Infrastructures provide in achievement of strongly interdependent SDGs. Keeping in mind that the SDGs can be addressed in parallel in several transformations, only the most relevant SDGs and contributions of Research Infrastructures will be highlighted in this Chapter. It is also important to mention that the transversal SDGs (16) Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions and (17) Partnerships for the Goals, and the Research Infrastructures’ input for their achievements are considered in articulation with all the transformations and are applicable to all the Research Infrastructures in all scientific fields. Therefore, in order to make the overview of the contributions of the Research Infrastructures to the achievements of the SDGs systematised and structured, the relevant SDGs will be presented in this Chapter in the following way:
Transformation 1: education, gender and inequality
SDG (1) No Poverty, (4) Quality Education, (5) Gender Equality, (8) Decent Work and Economic Growth, (10) Reducin Inequalities
Transformation 2: health, well-being and demography
SDGs (2) Zero Hunger, (3) Good Health and Well-being
Transformation 3: energy decarbonization and sustainable industry
SDGs (7) Affordable and Clean Energy
Transformation 4: sustainable food, land, water and oceans
SDGs (6) Clean Water and Sanitation, (13) Climate Action, (14) Life Below Water, (15) Life On Land
Transformation 5: sustainable cities and communities
SDGs (11) Sustainable Cities and Communities, (12) ResponsibleConsumption and Production
Transformation 6: digital revolution for sustainable development
SDGs (9) Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure Transversal SDGs (16) Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions, (17) Partnerships for the Goals
Number (16) and (17) are the SDGs relevant to all Research Infrastructures in all scientific fields. These SDGs seek to promote peaceful and inclusive societies. These goals are in the heart of all the Research Infrastructures which by nature are remarkable examples of pan-European cooperation, as highlighted in some of the contributions below.
ELT at ESO, as one of the first intergovernmental scientific organisations, created by a treaty between Member States, represents a model for peaceful scientific cooperation between nations. CERN is another international organisation which promotes scientific collaboration and the values of science across governments and other stakeholders. In particular, the HL-LHC is being carried out as an international project with participants from all over the world. Besides, a project like HL-LHC requires strong partnership with industry, with significant knowledge transfer from research to the private sector.
EMSO ERIC is another excellent example of partnerships for the goals. It strongly supports the participative and transformative principle that underpins the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development.
A significant part of data integrated into CLARIN ERIC comes from parliaments and other public institutions. By providing sustainable access to such data in structured, annotated and unaltered form, adapted for automatic processing (easily searchable and retrievable), CLARIN contributes to targets related to SDG (16).
This short insight into the inputs of the Research Infrastructures to the agenda of the sustainable development reflects the crucial issue that all the Sustainable Development Goals are relevant and that most of the Research Infrastructures contribute to the development of several SDGs at the same time and with a very high impact. The ESFRI Research Infrastructures have demonstrated to be important tools to achieve the transformations required to realize the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals for a better and more sustainable future for all by 2030.