Citizen Science for the UN Sustainable Development Goals

September 3, 2020 4:15 - 5:45

Location: Room 27B


The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development intertwines social, economic and environmental targets to address the world’s most pressing challenges. To achieve these goals, good governance informed by accurate, accessible, timely and comprehensive data is needed, as well as a collective, inter-connected effort from all levels of society. Even though data availability and quality have improved over the years, there are still major gaps in the supply of more and reliable information that feed into policies with desirable outcomes for SDG achievement. For instance, 68% of the environmental SDG indicators lack sufficient data (UN Environment, 2019). Enabling an environment to facilitate the integration of traditional sources of data (e.g. administrative records, statistical surveys, etc.) and new data approaches such as citizen science, public participation in scientific research, is crucial to tackle this issue. Citizen science can complement traditional and new data sources (e.g. earth observations, etc.), enable active citizen involvement in the SDG processes and ensure government accountability. This session outlines the ongoing efforts of the citizen science community on the contribution of citizen science to SDG monitoring and implementation such as the “Citizen Observatories and SDGs Community of Practice (SDGs CoP)” as part of the European Commission funded WeObserve project. The SDGs CoP brings together citizen science practitioners, researchers and representatives of UN custodian agencies, broader data communities and other key actors in the field to develop an understanding about how to demonstrate the value of citizen science for SDG achievement. The session will also draw on examples of citizen science initiatives that are already contributing or could contribute to the SDG progress and provide recommendations on collaborations between citizens, governments, private sectors and intergovernmental organizations for design and actions to achieve the SDGs.

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