Open Access and Sustainable Development

UN Sustainable Development GoalsThe United Nation’s new sustainable development agenda entitled “Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” was adopted by the UN’s 193 Member States on 25 September 2015. The agenda, which builds on the achievements of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) adopted in 2000, contains 17 goals relating to future international development and aims to end poverty, promote prosperity and people’s well-being while protecting the environment over the next 15 years.

Open science is a cross-cutting issue that has the potential to contribute to most SDGs which are almost universally dependent on improving the flow of information and knowledge into communities and across geographic borders. The 2015 UNESCO World Science Report asserts that “science will be critical to meeting the challenge of sustainable development, as it lays the foundations for new approaches, solutions and technologies that enable us to identify, clarify and tackle local and global problems.” So too is ensuring that the knowledge created through research and scholarship are widely shared so it can be built upon and implemented into practice and policy.

In September 2015, COAR, FAO and IFLA jointly organized an e-forum discussion about SDGs. Over the 12 days of the forum, over 300 participants engaged in discussions about the role that access to information and open access to scientific results plays in sustainable development. Participants contributed numerous examples, illustrations, and case studies that illustrated how access to information and science can improve people’s lives. Four presentations took place during the e-forum from: Stuart Hamilton (IFLA) , Jean Claude Guédon (University of Montreal), Leslie Chan (University of Toronto at Scarborough) and Ellen Namhila (University of Namibia). The recordings of all webinars are available on the AIMS website. Ms. Amina Mohammed, Special Advisor of the Secretary-General on Post-2015 Development Planning also contributed a short pre-recorded video. The e-Forum collected a number of use cases that articulate the role of open access and access to information in sustainable development. These are available in the appendix to follow.

This was the first in a number of activities to promote the connection between open science and sustainable development in conjunction with our major international partners.

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