Richard J. Wenning, IEAM Editor-in-Chief, and Jen Lynch, SETAC Director of Publications
SETAC’s bimonthly peer-reviewed journal, Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management (IEAM), is launching an initiative to align the publication of environmental research and policy studies with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The goal is to call attention to the urgent need for interdisciplinary research geared toward developing new data, scientific tools and fresh perspectives that will promote governmental policies, business strategies, and comprehensive and integrated science-to-policy assessments aimed at sustainability.
In September 2015, member states at the United Nations adopted a comprehensive global development agenda, “Transforming our world: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” more commonly known as the Sustainable Development Goals. The SDGs represent a major shift in the global policy landscape and tie very closely to IEAM’s aims and scope.
For the first time, sustainable development, broadly defined and all-encompassing, has been enshrined in international policy discussions and quickly adopted by national governments, NGOs and the global business community. The 17 SDGs are comprehensive and cover energy and climate; water, food and ecosystems; health and poverty; and jobs and innovation. The SDGs represent a major step forward towards linking human activity to economic, social or environmental consequences.
The SDGs introduce the added benefit of encouraging the partnership of governments, private sector, civil society and citizens alike to make sure we leave a better planet for future generations. Governments throughout the world have declared the 17 SDGs and the 169 targets to be integrated and essential for future prosperity. The business community is reflecting on the relationships between the SDGs and sustainable corporate practices. The scientific community plays a critical role through research and experimentation to fill knowledge gaps in critical areas that elucidate the consequences of human activities.
The SDGs are guide-posts for society as it attempts to respond to an array of pressing environmental challenges. Five years into the initiative, the editors felt it was a good time to explore where the research is and what is still needed to support these goals.
During the editorial meeting at the SETAC Europe 29th Annual Meeting in Helsinki, Finland, attendees identified the following goals as most pertinent to IEAM:
- Goal 2: Promote sustainable agriculture.
- Goal 6: Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.
- Goal 11: Incorporate nature into the human built environment to support urban ecosystem services.
- Goal 12: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.
- Goal 13: Implement strategies and actions to respond to climate change and its impacts.
- Goal 14: Conserve and use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.
- Goal 15: Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, halt or reverse land degradation, and halt biodiversity loss.
We are seeking experts to submit full-length articles or write perspectives on their work pertaining to an SDG goal. Perspectives are short articles, 2–3 pages long, that:
- Frame SDG goal relevant to the author’s region or research.
- State the problem that the research is seeking to address and why it is important.
- Propose a solution or explain the work still needed that will lead towards a solution.
- Report any findings and the status.
- Call for next steps or seek collaborations.