Charter Statement following the Science Summit at the UN General Assembly (UNGA77)

New York, 30 September 2022

The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are an ambitious and necessary framework for a sustainable future for our people and planet. It is seven years since 193 nations agreed on the SDGs. With seven years before 2030, we are struggling globally, nationally and locally to build a fair, equitable society in a sustainably resourced world. UN Secretary-General Mr Antonio Guterres underlined that Our Common Agenda is driven by solidarity, “the principle of working together, recognising that we are bound to each other and that no community or country, however robust, can solve its challenges alone.

‘Science, research and innovation at this point must give courage to politics, give hope to citizens, inspire entrepreneurs, and give respite to nature. We need to step up and step forward in this decisive decade.’

Through transparent, open and agile research collaboration, we can only tackle the most significant challenges over the coming decades –climate change, growing inequalities, pandemics and biodiversity loss. We must bring the broadest possible range of people, resources, expertise and perspectives to bear on solutions which will benefit people and our planet.

And so, we agree that:

  • Knowledge, in all its forms, made accessible in a spirit of cooperation, is valued and necessary. The challenges of our days require decisions to be based on science  – Science.
  • We will be inclusive and committed to sharing data, knowledge and know-how and reducing capacity gaps between us, ensuring everyone is at the table – Solidarity.
  • Sustainability of our earth, energy, food, social and economic systems is at the core of all that we do and achieving systemic balance across these dimensions for the long-term survival of humanity on this planet – is the only way to ensure a just transition to a more sustainable future. The current system is destabilising the planet and societies – Sustainability.
  • We will use our knowledge, skills, resources and partnerships to impact our communities, countries and world – Solutions.

Csaba Kőrösi, President of the 77th UN General Assembly, has vowed to make ‘Solutions through Solidarity, Sustainability and Science’ the motto for the 77th session.

As organisations committed to this agenda, it is time to put our strategies and values into practice and action. We will do this by taking the following steps:

  1. Maintain and develop policies, including global policy alignment, legal and regulatory frameworks and programmes which promote research collaboration – among our scientists, research institutions, innovative businesses, communities and other stakeholders;
  1. Break silos among disciplines, further understand quantitative and qualitative interactions among ecological, economic and social dimensions of the world’s societies, develop long-term systemic thinking to comprehend and address the systemic issues of our time, and identify systemic levers to accelerate positive change.
  1. Share knowledge, data and infrastructures as openly as possible and securely as necessary across all countries by improving their availability, sustainability, usability and interoperability. Address the administrative, legal, and regulatory barriers that hinder our scientific cooperation and slow our ability to respond to crises;
  1. Explore incentives, including enhancements to research assessment that foster recognition and reward collaboration across all disciplines and topics to drive a culture of rapid sharing of knowledge, data, software, code and other research resources. Investigate how open science practices help achieve increasingly robust, reliable and impactful research outcomes that deliver impact on society;
  1. Shared aspiration for more flexible and agile research collaborations facilitates rapid, interdisciplinary, and evidence-based responses to future global systemic crises and natural disasters. As we continue to see the benefits of international cooperation in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, we will explore how existing and potential new mechanisms and initiatives can support risk reduction, prevention and response to these events;
  1. Make inclusion a reality by focusing on the needs of individual researchers and ensuring the right conditions are in place for each person to achieve their full potential in science. Inclusion should be reflected in culture, practices and relationships, as well as equitable access to data in a working culture and environment that recognises, appreciates, and effectively utilises the talents, skills, and perspectives of people from all parts of the globe, enabling them to collaborate, share and co-design programmes that address shared needs;
  1. Support the active and equal participation of women and girls in science, policy, and decision-making. Establish science and innovation policies and measures to advance dedicated funding for women, specifically girls’ participation and careers, including professional and leadership skills building, in science and R&D-related programmes;
  1. Identify gaps in global funding to achieve these actions and work with the World Bank, IMF, development banks and other funders to align investment priorities with delivering the SDGs through a global knowledge infrastructure. Specifically, to develop a new fund that supports the implementation of these actions at an international level;
  1. Develop proposals for a virtual academy and toolkit, bringing together and developing the skills and experience of researchers, innovators, business leaders, and policymakers from any nation to develop a shared understanding of research integrity and security. Embed the behaviours, systems and processes needed to protect valuable knowledge and technology assets where necessary, allowing international collaboration to continue with confidence
  1. Take action quickly with a sense of urgency, reflecting the real threat to our people and planet. Prepare a pathway for a different post-2030 world. Shape that world by engaging actively in the Science Summit at UNGA78 from 12-29 September 2023 and in the UN’s Summit of the Future on 22-23 September 2024;
  1. Promote an environment of collaboration between Africa, Latin America and other developing countries (Alliance for Education, Research and Development) and the other more developed countries, which promotes citizen science and the significant areas of research and innovation in Energy, Agriculture, Biodiversity and Adaptation to Climate Change to achieve the goals of Agenda 2030 and Agenda 2063. To foster international cooperation, it is essential to have a common understanding of the fundamental values and principles that govern research and innovation and to ensure that collaboration is inclusive.  The multilateral dialogue launched by the European Union is essential to this end”;
  1. Advance the cause of indigenous and local knowledge, including capacity building and recognising the unique leadership role of indigenous communities globally in addressing challenges;
  1. Support the implementation of the WTO Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Art 66.2 Article 66.2:  TRIPS Agreement instructs developed country Members to incentivise domestic enterprises and institutions “to promote and encourage technology transfer to least-developed country Members”. This article provides an existing but rarely used mechanism. Developing countries, in particular, see technology transfer as part of the bargain in which they have agreed to protect intellectual property rights.
  1. Support the digital, environmental and social transition, including climate neutrality, by growing the global Open Innovation Community in all developed and developing countries through Living Labs creation, empowerment, consolidation, upgrade and networking. 
  1. To support the development of better collaboration, cooperation, alliances and partnership engagement on Earth Observation, Artificial intelligence and machine learning between the global south and global north. To support the increase of weather stations across Africa to improve data precision on the ground for climate change monitoring through a working group.
  1. To support inclusive, open data sharing for scientific climate weather data for small-scale farmers, particularly female-led ones. Training on weather data analysis and planning on crops through a working group.
  1. To support the need and necessity for a dedicated fund for sustainable cities in Africa to account for carbon neutrality/sinking in cities through advanced data management techniques and methodological approaches. To advance knowledge of the energy system (solar) capacity/potential in African cities. To promote problem-solving mindsets through education and training. To promote systems thinking in municipality capacity in developing critical stakeholder relationships and engagement for smart city development pathways.
  1. Promote future thinking to support communities’ abilities to focus locally, expand and share knowledge, and increase capacity. Futures thinking develops problem-solving mindsets through training, scenario building and experiential engagement. Foresight and Futurecasting are social science methodologies allowing for a time horizon in the future to explore intersections around technology, science and humanity.
  1. Common approach towards more unified inclusive methods and standards to more accurately measure impacts of policies and management actions to enable global comparability.