Sustainable Development Goals Initiative (SDG)

Sustainable Development Goals Initiative (SDG)

"The Sustainable Development Goals offer an ideal framework to create synergies across sectors, with the engagement of Government actors, international organizations, academia, civil society and the private sector.  To accelerate implementation, we need effective partnerships that embrace diverse perspectives and employ wide expertise.”

-Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary General, 2007-2016

The SDG Initiative: Enabling Sustainability through Science 

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is a plan of action for people, planet and prosperity adopted at the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit on September 25, 2015. Never before have world leaders pledged common action and endeavor across such a broad and universal policy agenda. The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda—which came into force on January 1, 2016—balance three core dimensions of sustainable development: the economic, social and environmental. This ambitious agenda requires coordinated action across multiple stakeholders, an integrated approach across multiple, interlocking goals, and mechanisms to harness the full potential of science and technology in advancing the 2030 agenda. With the support of the UN, the New York Academy of Sciences is bringing together these ideas – multi-stakeholder partnerships, integrated approaches, and the potential of science and technology – to kick-start a collaborative effort by the scientific and technical community to address the goals of the 2030 Agenda. The Academy’s SDG Initiative will recognize the unique capabilities of the private sector in bringing scientific and technical resources to bear in delivering innovative solutions.

In November 2016, The New York Academy of Sciences officially opened the SDG Initiative by hosting the inaugural Summit on Science Enablement for the Sustainable Development Goals, a one day event which brought together top executives from the private sector, leaders of academia, UN member states, UN programs and specialized agencies, NGOs, and research and policy institutes to define the science and technology challenges outlined in the SDGs, and develop roadmaps for working towards the goals. This year the Academy will continue the momentum with the Second Annual Summit on Science Enablement for the SDGs, where leading organizations will participate and share best practices and actionable examples from their work toward the SDGs. The day's agenda will address emerging critical topics and working groups will provide progress reports on interdisciplinary themes including People in Crisis, Early Childhood Development, Sustainable Consumption and Production, and Food Security and Nutrition.

Based on availability of funding, the New York Academy of Sciences plans to continue to hold annual Summits to review progress, update the roadmaps and outline the next steps toward reaching the global goals for sustainable development.

Six Ways to Be Part of the Solution


Jennifer Costley




Science and the SDGs: Towards Integration
This webinar, based on the work of David LeBlanc, UN DESA, examines the SDGs as a network of goals and targets and addresses key questions on their connectivity and how they can facilitate the integration of policy and action. Presented on November 21, 2016. (video, 129MB)

Science and the SDGs: Insights into the Global Research Landscape
This webinar, based on the groundbreaking report Sustainability Science in a Global Landscape by Elsevier, examines the status of sustainability science—research that supports and drives sustainable development—as a research field. Presented on October 24, 2016. (video, 93MB)



UNESCO Science Report: Towards 2030
This latest edition of the report reveals that many countries are now incorporating science, technology and innovation in their national development agenda and mainstreaming sustainable development.

Making Technological Innovation Work for Sustainable Development
This paper, co-authored by Summit attendee Alicia Harley, presents insights and action proposals to better harness technological innovation for sustainable development.

Big Data for Development: Opportunities & Challenges
This paper from UN Global Pulse provides a summary of how big data, and the power of data science and advanced analytics, can be utilized in service of sustainable development.

Book of Japan's Practices for SDGs

This Book illustrates examples of Japan's practices that could contribute to achievement of SDGs with an aim of sharing these practices with other national and international stakeholders, encouraging further engagement, and stimulating new partnerships and collaborations for creating shared value.

Early Childhood Development

Advancing Early Childhood Development: from Science to Scale
This new Lancet Series describes the latest evidence about linkages between early care and development and progress towards global commitments on early childhood development. Interventions that are most beneficial through the life course are reviewed, and how to scale up early childhood development program globally is examined.

Give Me a Child
Short article from The Economist on how a healthy mix of private and public investment can boost ECD.


Jennifer Costley


First Annual Summit on Science and Technology Enablement for the Sustainable Development Goals: Session Presentations and Reports

Final Report

Session A (People in Crisis)
Presentation   |   Report

Session B (Early Childhood Development)

Session C (Sustainable Consumption and Production)
Presentation   |   Report

Session D (Urbanization)
Presentation   |   Report

Second Annual Summit on Science and Technology Enablement for the Sustainable Development Goals: Session Presentations and Reports

Final Report

Outcomes: Stream Progress Reports

Opening Keynote (Zia Khan, The Rockefeller Foundation)

Session A (People in Crisis) Presentation   

Session B (Early Childhood Development) Presentation 

Session C (Sustainable Consumption and Production) Presentation

Session D (Food Security) Presentation 

Methods: Science-Based Targets

Outcome: Partnerships and Proofs of Concept

2030 Vision (Dominic Vergine, Arm)

Leveraging SDG11 (Jerry Hultin, Smart Cities NY)

Solving the World's Most Pressing Challenges (Dawda Jobarteh, SOLVE)

Japan's Practices for Implementation of the SDGs (Takao Kuramochi, JST)

Livestream of Public Event "Going for the Goals"


Jennifer Costley


By 2050, 70 percent of the world’s children will be living in cities. In this increasingly urbanized world, cities play a major role in helping all children achieve their full potential. A growing body of research from the field of early childhood development (ECD) has demonstrated conclusively that poverty, poor health, inadequate nutrition, lack of stimulation, stress, and maltreatment disrupt healthy brain development — putting children at a lifelong disadvantage.

Tools and Models

UNICEF: Early Learning & Development Standards (example from Romania)

US HHS Birth to 5: Watch Me Thrive! A Compendium of Screening Measures for Young Children

UNICEF: Care for Child Development Package

ISSA: Quality Framework for Birth to Three Services

US HHS: Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program Models

Vroom: Evidence-based tools and materials that inspire families to turn everyday moments into brain building

Early Childhood Workforce Initiative: KNOWLEDGE HUB (resources on competences, training and recognition)

Institute for Intergroup Understanding: Guidance for Parents (including Parent Toolkit)

Thirty Million Words Initiative (TMW)

Evidence-based ECD innovation

Saving Brains list of innovative and effective ECD interventions (based on the following outcome metrics: physical growth; cognitive function; language skills; socioemotional capacity; academic attainment)

Innovations in Investing in Young Children Globally: Proceedings of a Workshop, US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, February 8, 2017

Hult Prize 2015 challenge winners: Early Childhood Development and Education innovations

Harvard Center on the Developing Child Frontiers of Innovation (with examples of evaluated programs)

R4D Center for Education Innovations database of evaluated ECD interventions

ARNEC Noteworthy Practices/Innovations

ARNEC Innovative Pedagogical Approaches & Tools in Early Childhood Care and Education (videos)

ARNEC Innovative Pedagogical Approaches in Early Childhood Care and Education: Resource Pack


2016 Lancet Series, “Advancing Early Childhood Development Series: from Science to Scale,” October 4 2016

Measurement of Early Childhood Development and Learning under the SDGs,” Amber Gove & Maureen M. Black

ECD Task Group of the Summit for Science and Technology Enablement for the Sustainable Development Goals

Implementing Evidence-Based Prevention by Communities to Promote Cognitive, Affective, and Behavioral Health in Children, US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, March 20, 2017

The Global Compact for ECD (Introductory Presentation), The New York Academy of Sciences

The Global Compact for ECD (Workshop Report), The New York Academy of Sciences, November 2016


Jennifer Costley