Sustainable development is essential if basic human needs are to be met without compromising global resources and the quality of life for future generations.
UKCDS member organisations fund research that addresses the underpinning requirements of sustainable development, from predicting climate change and protecting natural resources for food and water security to developing low carbon energy.
The UKCDS Secretariat works with UK funders to share information, showcase their work and facilitate multidisciplinary approaches to address the complex challenges of sustainable development.
The eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), created in 2000 by the UN, are set to expire in 2015. The UN is looking to sustain the momentum started with the MDGs and international discussions are moulding a new set of post 2015 Sustainable Development Goals that will aim to once again focus global development efforts.
While the UN is working with governments, civil society and other partners to build on the work of the MDGs, UKCDS has identified a number of key areas where it considers the UK science community could take leadership or add extra value to an international science offer. UKCDS activities will focus on the two areas of the ‘data revolution’ and new methodological approaches to tackling complex development challenges.
‘Big Data’ is an underpinning area of interest for efforts in international development and is of one of the UK Department for Business Innovation and Skills’ “Eight Great Technologies”. There are still many questions on what the new era of open data and new technologies will mean for global development – questions which UKCDS plans to explore.
Complex development challenges often need to be tackled with interdisciplinary research approaches that take a systems-based view of the problem. UKCDS members are already working both independently and in partnership to increase understanding of how systems operate. The Secretariat has facilitated activities to progress thinking in these areas, seeking to find ways to unite the different sciences and perspectives that define a particular challenge and consider new methodological approaches for global development.