The High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development 2023 kicked off at the UN Headquarters in New York this week. IIASA is involved in several capacities at this international conference to support policymakers in countries around the world with science-based inputs to help them develop effective policies to address the interconnected global challenges and opportunities society faces today.

The High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) held from Monday 10 July to Wednesday 19 July 2023 under the auspices of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), is the United Nations’ central platform for follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The theme for this year is, Accelerating the recovery from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development at all levels. Importantly, this year marks the midpoint for the implementation of the SDGs and is an opportunity to assess what has been achieved and how to accelerate the way forward.

This significant event will bring together global leaders, policymakers, scientists, engineers, and representatives from various sectors to address the pressing challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and advance the comprehensive implementation of the 2030 Agenda. IIASA Director General Albert van Jaarsveld, Emeritus Research Scholar Nebosja Nakicenovic, and IIASA Transformative Institutional and Social Solutions Research Group Leader Shonali Pachauri, will be in attendance, while Advancing Systems Analysis Program Director, Elena Rovenskaya, will participate virtually.

Van Jaarsveld will participate in the Science Day on 15 July 2023, where the focus will be on effective SDG acceleration pathways and portfolios for the short and medium term, with the expected outcome of a call to action for the HLPF and the upcoming SDG Summit. In addition, he will participate in a side event to launch the report of the ISC’s Global Commission on Science Missions for Sustainability, which comprises a call for doing science differently to deliver on the SDGs on 17 July. Rovenskaya will give a talk at a side event titled, Translating Evidence to Action on Climate and SDGs Synergies in Asia and Beyond, on 17 July.

Nakicenovic will be the lead discussant during the Science Day and present a joint statement prepared by the International Science Council (ISC) Fellows to the HLPF 2023 at a Special Event on SDG Synergies on 16 July. The statement articulates the urgent need for an integrated, collaborative approach to meeting our global challenges; for capacity-building where it is most needed; and for strengthening the science-policy-society interface so that the most appropriate knowledge can be applied more effectively to the huge range of challenges we face. The ISC Fellowship represents the highest honor that can be conferred on an individual by the ISC to recognize individuals for their outstanding contributions to the promotion of science as a global public good. Several fellows are associated with IIASA including Van Jaarsveld and Nakicenovic, as well as former IIASA Director General Pavel Kabat, and former IIASA Council Member for Brazil, Carlos Nobre.   

“Recognized for our commitment to bringing science to society, the ISC Fellows have rallied together to chart actionable and impactful paths for revitalizing the 2030 Agenda. We emphasize the urgent need to integrate SDGs and global frameworks, foster inclusivity and capacity-building, and strengthen the science-policy-society interface across all levels. This calls for transformative approaches to accessing, funding, and producing knowledge – business-as-usual is not an option as we must secure a sustainable future for all,” says Nakicenovic who also chaired the Fellows’ writing group.

The Fellows further highlight the balance struck between acknowledging the profound challenges facing humanity and embracing the potential for transformative collaboration. Recognizing that those most affected by the rapidly changing world often have limited capacity to adapt, the statement emphasizes the importance of building resilience through impactful stories, mutual learning, and inspiring one another. This will empower individuals and communities to take proactive action and hold decision-makers and businesses accountable.

Pachauri will be a panelist at a discussion titled, Overcoming ‘short-termism’ to secure a better future, convened during the ECOSOC High-Level Segment on Thursday, 20 July 2023. The panel will address how to integrate long-term, forward-looking approaches to advance sustainable development and secure a better future for all.

The IIASA participants will also meet with the President of the General Assembly, Csaba Kőrösi, to emphasize the potential role of the IIASA Flagship Report for the September UN General Assembly meeting. This report is under preparation and edited by Wolfgang Lutz and Shonali Pachauri.   

“The HLPF 2023 promises to be a significant milestone in accelerating global recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and advancing the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. By fostering collaboration, integrating knowledge, and strengthening the science-policy-society interface, this event will contribute to a more sustainable and resilient future for all,” van Jaarsveld concludes.

Science Day will be webcast - watch live on the link below on 15 July 2023, from 15:00 to 20:00 CET (09:00 to 14:00 EDT).


IIASA participants in front of the venue (Little Finlandia Conference Hall, Helsinki)

13 September 2023

FLAM Sparks Interest and Conversation at the 2023 IBFRA Conference in Helsinki

Boreal forests often bring to mind a winter wonderland: spruce and pine forests as far as the eye can see, fluffy snow dotted with reindeer beneath a nighttime sky brightened by the aurora borealis. Climate change threatens this fragile, pristine habitat that spans 8 countries in the far north. Now boreal forests are associated not just with snowy landscapes, they are becoming synonymous with raging wildfires and massive plumes of smoke, such as those found currently in Canada. Mitigating the threats posed by climate change in this unique ecosystem and discussing the most recent boreal-related research is the focus of the International Boreal Forest Association conference. Organized in large part by IIASA’s own Florian Kraxner, IBFRA 2023 was held in Helsinki, Finland, where researchers from around the globe gathered to discuss recent findings, foster new connections, and contribute to a plan of attack to save boreal forests as we know them.
Biofuel filling station on a green background

07 July 2023

IIASA research informs EPA's regulations for sustainable biofuels

IIASA research informed the recently announced Final Renewable Fuels Standards Rule by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regarding biofuel volume requirements and percentage standards for 2023–2025. The rule establishes biofuel volume requirements and associated percentage standards in view of steady growth of biofuel use in the US's fuel supply and aims to ensure a sustainable and environmentally friendly energy future.
Group photo of alumni who attended the event

01 June 2023

IIASA alumni reunion marks IIASA 50th Anniversary

In May, IIASA proudly welcomed alumni of its former Resources and Environment Area (REN) and Environment Program (ENV) who worked at the institute in the 1970s and 1980s.