NWO-WOTRO aims at Sustainable Development Goals

Large differences between rich and poor countries are hindering an effective approach in dealing with many global challenges such as poverty, climate change, security and migration, food security, sustainable development and gender inequality. By formulating the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) the United Nations are aiming to solve these global challenges by encouraging an inclusive world with equal opportunities for everyone and specific attention for developing countries.

A scholarly route

In September 2015, the member states of the United Nations agreed to do their utmost to reach the Sustainable Development Goals. The Netherlands is one of these member countries. The Dutch Research Agenda was also being drawn up at that time. Everyone could submit research questions. Out of the 11,000 questions that were received, 140 umbrella questions were formulated clustered around 16 interconnecting routes. Many of these routes focus on the Netherlands with little attention for inclusive global aspects. This is why NWO-WOTRO has drawn up an additional route aimed at ‘Sustainable Development Goals for inclusive global development’.

Academics and practical professionals join forces

Global societal challenges are complex in nature and researching these challenges requires close cooperation between various disciplines and parties. Knowledge that is aimed at finding solutions requires a combination of both academic and practical, professional knowledge (co-creation), theoretical support and a clear insight into the specific context in which the solutions can be applied. It is essential to work together with parties in developing countries, because research in this route is aimed at reaching the Sustainable Development Goals in developing countries. What’s more, this creates opportunities for increasing the research capacity in these countries and for building excellent relationships between the Netherlands and these growth economies of the future.

Innovative insights and breakthroughs

Scholars in the Netherlands can contribute with their unique expertise in reaching the Sustainable Development Goals. The SDGs motivate and inspire researchers because their work can contribute to complex societal challenges, which require interdisciplinary cooperation. Doing research in and with non-Western cultures also offers access to knowledge and data, which would otherwise remain out of reach for Dutch academics. This offers opportunities for new insights and breakthroughs.

A global component

This route is approached from the point of view of global inclusive development focusing on the most vulnerable societies in the world. This is both a route in itself, and also a route that complements the other Dutch Research Agenda routes: eventually every Dutch Research Agenda route should embrace the inclusive global aspect. NWO-WOTRO will work towards realising this goal.

In line with other initiatives

The SDGs are in line with the European Grand Societal Challenges, one of the three Horizon 2020 pillars. This means that the SDG Route offers academics the chance to be well-prepared in H2020. There are also similarities with the agendas of the International Council on Science (ICSU), of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation & Development (OECD) and UNESCO. Investing in the SDG Route allows the Netherlands to join in global developments. This is not only happening in research; Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg has recently announced that he will make 99% of his capital available for inclusive development.

Getting together on 9 March 2016

On 9 March 2016 NWO-WOTRO organises a Sustainable Development Goal route workshop (in Dutch) to identify research challenges and to explore which parties can work together – based on the questions submitted to the Dutch Research Agenda. We will invite partners who signed the Global Goals Charter, representatives from knowledge institutions, civil society and others who have expressed an interest in this SDG Route.

More information about the SDG Route will become available over the next few months. Any news will be published on this NWO-WOTRO website.

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