Editorial: The Science of Sustainability

28 June 2013 vol 340, issue 6140, pages 1489-1604

The Science of Sustainability
Christopher Dye1,*, Marcia McNutt2,
1Christopher Dye is a director in the Office of Health Information in the Office of HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, Malaria and Neglected Tropical Diseases at the World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland. The views expressed here do not necessarily represent the decisions, policy, or view of the World Health Organization.
2Marcia McNutt is Editor-in-Chief of Science.

The question of what can be achieved in 1000 days has preoccupied kings, queens, presidents, and, very recently, the Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN). Ban Ki-moon has not only appealed for a last big push to reach as many as possible of the UN’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by the deadline of 31 December 2015, he is advocating the establishment of objectives that should succeed the MDGs as well. Strong clues about the shape of the post-2015 agenda can be found in two recent reports, one published last month by a High-Level Panel* convened by Ban Ki-moon and chaired by the presidents of Indonesia and Liberia and the prime minister of the United Kingdom, and the other released this month by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network.† Both reports list the eradication of poverty as the number-one priority and set out complementary goals concerned with gender equality, education, health, food, water and sanitation, climate change, energy, employment, natural resources, governance, peace, and finance. These reports are unlikely to be the last contributions to the debate, but the proposed goals represent a call to action for the science community.