The five missions aim to stimulate the imagination and stimulate society as a whole. The report, entitled “Unleashing Science: Delivering Missions for Sustainability” outlines the missions of sustainability science in five areas that require immediate changes and enable integration with the SDGs:
Food: to eat an adequate, healthy diet without consuming the gifts of nature;
Water: replenishing nature’s reservoirs to provide enough clean water for everyone;
Health and Wellbeing: Wholeness and wellbeing in body, mind and nature;
Urban areas: thrive in some places while preserving the natural environment; and
Climate and energy: moving to clean energy and restoring a safe climate. The next steps include defining the key stakeholders for each mission to make the science missions in each area more specific. Each mission will aim to “spark the imagination” to stimulate society as a whole.
The report aims to guide science and research, together with science funders, policy makers and the private sector, in managing human pressures on the earth that undermine the fundamental processes that underpin its resilience and ensure a habitable biosphere.
According to the authors, the international science system as it is currently funded produces knowledge that is too narrowly focused, fragmented, and decoupled from the most immediate needs of society. Instead, the funding structures, processes and funding mechanisms must make science solution-oriented, interdisciplinary and system-oriented, globally and regionally “capable”, collaborative, inclusive and accessible to all. None of these areas can be effectively managed unilaterally, they are the main causes of unsustainability and environmental degradation, as well as social disadvantage and inequality, and they are the most vulnerable areas from the environmental changes already underway, argue the authors.
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