RRING Public Forum Events

By SalM on October 19, 2020 in RRING NEWS

RRING public forum events are a vital part of our work in bringing various stakeholders together around a topic of mutual interest and for a common purpose.  They form part of our ongoing work in taking responsible, research and innovation conversations outside of academia and into the public domain, with an objective of mutual collaboration to tackle societal challenges specifically the UN Sustainable Development goals.  They are based on three principles:

  • Co-creation (ie. What can we as a group of stakeholders do to address the topic)?
  • Social innovation (How can we meet societal needs in an innovative way?)
  • Social entrepreneurship (What entrepreneurial solutions can society produce?)

Better science requires mutual learning between scientists and the public in order to understand a breadth of perspectives, frames and global views. It also provides an opportunity for the dissemination of science and research. Members of the RRING network should be looking for opportunities to host or get involved with public forum type events in order to truly achieve the RRING objectives.


When and How


Any member of the RRING community can hold a public forum event with the support of the RRING project team.  They are held on an ad-hoc basis either virtually or as in-person events depending on the format that is most suitable.  They may form part of larger events or a series of events.  The flexibility of these events is extremely important in order that the format is best for engaging the interested wider public.

They will generally be based around a topic of specific scientific interest on a local, global or national basis, often with an element of political or conceptual controversy usually underpinned by the SDGs.  Content must be accessible for all stakeholders not just those representing academia. Formats may include expert speakers, round table discussions and open question and answer sessions.


Example events


Future Events


Future public forums are planned in Spain, Japan, India and the UK.  RRING members and trial countries are urged to consider how they are engaging with the wider public and what topics are of relevance and importance to their national agenda. They should look at ways in which they can connect academia to wider society and consider public forums as a way of doing this.  The RRING project team can support in modes of engagement and planning and preparing for these events.

For more information please contact us via email: emma.day@vitae.ac.uk

A suite of tools for countries to better perform their four-yearly monitoring and reporting requirements for the Recommendation on Science

By SalM on October 16, 2020 in RRING NEWS

With the help of UNESCO and the International Consortium of Research Staff Associations – ICoRSA, RRING project is developing a suite of tools for countries to better perform their four-yearly monitoring and reporting requirements for the Recommendation on Science and Scientific Researchers. Lithuania is among the first to fully test tools and indicators during the trial period, followed by the US and South Africa.

UNESCO and the Research Council of Lithuania on June 29, 2020, organized the first online meeting of a new consultation group based in Lithuania, which brought together research and innovation systems experts. The experts began to examine the self-assessment requirements under the UNESCO Recommendation for Science and Scientific Researchers.

This meeting was held online via the MS Teams platform, on June 29 from 3 to 5 p.m and it was the first out of three meetings planned in the following period. These activities are implemented by the Horizon 2020 RRING (Responsible Research and Innovation Networked Globally) Project, and bring together an impressive list of stakeholders in Lithuanian science.


Recommendations for science and scientific researchers


In 2017, UNESCO issued the revised Recommendation for Science and Scientific Researchers covering all principles of Responsible Research: ethics, open science, STEM education, public engagement, and gender equality.

„Science is part of society, and while we want it to be excellent, we also want to ensure that it is an activity that does not detract from but contributes to making our societies more humane, just and inclusive. Once in every few years, it is worth the effort to check if we are doing everything needed to make the ecosystem of science a healthy one that attracts young people and keeps the best talent, and is adapting to changes like digitalization and globalization. Even great universities should not do this alone, The stakeholders of research and innovation may want to develop a conversation on these systemic issues“, said April Tash from UNESCO, who served as the lead manager for the four years of negotiations which led to the revised treaty.

195 countries signed up the Treaty, among them also Lithuania – making this set of standards truly global. The treaty obliges each state to evaluate its performance related to these standards every 4 years.

„The first evaluation process is being launched in July 2020, and the completed evaluation reports must be completed in 10 months by 31 March 2021. UNESCO is about to publish a set of guidelines, but everyone agrees that is can be hard to select the right indicators and intelligence to understand how a country is doing, and some things like scientific freedom or innovative capacity have many dimensions and can be hard to measure“, said Tash. 


Structures and support measures for EU member countries developed by RRING and UNESCO


UNESCO is collaborating with the RRING project on developing structures and support measures for EU member countries that, once started, should be in place for the next round and future rounds of the 4-yearly evaluations in 2024 and 2028. In the meanwhile, they may also help the government understand better what is working and not working in terms of its efforts to create a favorable environment.

UNESCO and RRING began a country pilot case study. The two countries selected for the pilot are Lithuania and Ireland. The immediate goal of the pilot will be to assist the countries in preparing a self-assessment. But this may also set the bar for other countries to set up participative processes that are similar, so as to do their evaluations following the Lithuanian example.


Included experts from multiple sectors


The advisory group (Consultation Group) consists of experts from the four very different stakeholder groups who share an interest in upholding strong, healthy, and attractive Lithuanian research and innovation. They represent the public sector, Industry, Academia, and to lesser degree citizens and civil society.  Included are some international organizations; organizations representing science and technology educators; employers generally; learned societies, research performing organizations; associations of science writers; women in science associations; youth and student organizations.

During their meetings, the members of the group participated in the assessment exercise of how Lithuania performs against the standards related to responsible research and innovation.


RRING Project


For almost two decades, European initiatives have encouraged and promoted responsible research and innovation in academia, research, and research performing organizations (RPOs). Although there is a wealth of projects and consortium in this sector, a certain methodology is needed to use the acquired knowledge to drive and achieve great progress. That is why the RRING project seeks to connect researchers and research organizations into a strong community or network of professionals and has chosen a vision that reaches also to other parts of the globe, carrying these values forward.

“A strong network enables better mutual learning and cooperation in responsible research and innovation. We are in the process of creating a global network named the RRING community to develop and foster open access to a global knowledge base on Responsible Research and Innovation”, said Gordon Dalton, Project Coordinator.

Thus, RRING in this case will not provide a strategy that should be implemented from top to bottom. “Instead, we want to use a bottom-up approach, learning from best practices in Responsible Research and Innovation globally and from the professionals worldwide”, emphasizes Dalton.

This powerful network of science professionals is the driving vision of this new RRING community, established to develop a more connected world for responsible research and innovation.

Joining forces for a global 21st century Responsible Research and Innovation Network

By SalM on October 2, 2020 in RRING NEWS

The RRING network, the NewHoRRIzon and the ORION project recently (September 3) held an online interactive roundtable as part of the European Scientific Open Forum 2020 on Joining forces for a global network of responsible research and innovation in the 21st century.

The purpose of the session was to consider the number of projects and initiatives currently operating in this area and the need for a global network to share common experiences from projects funded by the European Commission and other important initiatives internationally.


Discussion: How the RRI network can leverage most of the existing know-how,  results and impact for a sustainable vision


How the development of the RRI network can leverage most of the existing know-how,  results and impact, while ensuring that a sustainable vision for RRI is global in its outlook and engagement, was one of the topics of discussion. The framework for RRI and what could be its challenges and benefits were also discussed.

The round table was chaired by dr. Gordon Dalton RRING project coordinator, and the initial presentations of dr. Erich Griessler – NewHorizon project and Maria Hagardt – ORION Open Science project.  All three projects are funded under the SwafS programme of Horizon 2020.


Panel discussion: RRI framework and network


An interactive discussion was followed by utilising an online voting tool to encourage panel discussion, chaired by Emma Day Vitae. The panel consisted of John Crowley, UNESCO, Marion Boland, Science Foundation Ireland, Jessica Wyndham, AAAs and Gail Cardew, EUROSCIENCE.
The discussion focused on two topics of the RRI framework and the RRI network. The audience was able to give their opinion to the expert panel using a network tool.


Interesting observations: A global network highly valued


The discussion led to some interesting observations. First, the idea of ​​a global network was highly valued:

  • A global RRI network would have a positive impact
  • The global RRI network should have tangible benefits, including a communication platform or knowledge transfer mechanism. The least important was purposeless networking.
  • There are several benefits to the RRI framework, including advocacy for the approach and providing clear guidance – barriers and benefits must be linked
  • The RRI network should promote the advocacy for legitimization of RRIs and performance metrics.

However, there are still challenges ahead:

  • How familiar people are with RRI? – 31% of roundtable participants did not know anything yet, while only 6% thought they were experts. Work must be done to spread the knowledge on RRI
  • RRI is considered to be a priority for individuals themselves rather than for departments or institutions – This may show that the audience is personally committed to RRI and what it achieves, but does not have the opportunity to follow it at the institutional level.
  • RRI is considered to be a higher priority at the international than the national level, which may reflect the EU’s success in promoting RRI initiatives across Europe.
  • Lack of incentives and research culture can stop individuals engaging in RRI

Get involved and give your opinion


As a result of this discussion, the RRING team now seeks for broader perspectives on this topic. We, therefore, encourage representatives of all stakeholders to click here and participate in this short online survey.  A six-month trial of the global RRI network has been started and we invite all stakeholders to join here.

 


The State of the Art (SOA) Review by Key Research and Innovation Geographies

By SalM on September 29, 2020 in RRING NEWS

The RRING project team is working on a state of the art review (SOA) by key geographic research and innovation groups and Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI territories), which will be completed by the end of January.
The key geographical areas integrated into this report are the EU, including the associated countries and Russia, North America, South America, China, India, Africa, and SE Asia, including Japan and Korea.
In line with one of the objectives of the RRING project, the research is the first step towards “aligning RRI with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in order to obtain a global common result for the improvement of RRI and to address global challenges. “.

What is the most important SDG in each geography?


The RRING team conducted desktop research, using UN reports as well as voluntary national reviews (as submitted to the UN High-Level Political Forum (HLPF)) to identify the most important goals of sustainable development in each region (called ‘geography’ in this task)). As geographical regions, they use 5 regions defined by the UN for its regional commissions, and its monitoring of sustainable development goals, noting that each country is different and that regional averages can be misleading because 5 global regions show internal diversity.

Parts I and II record what UN sources indicate the current status of progress in implementing the SDGs; III. part relies on structured interviews with UNESCO experts on gender equality, scientific education, public engagement, open access and ethics to report on what they consider to be the most likely positive effects, which would indicate the achievement of a fully defined aspect of RDI could have on achieving a specific SDG / goal.

Finally, in Part IV, this report focuses on the reasons why respondents in Part III explained how RDI can address the objectives identified in the interviews.

The RRING project will go into further detail on what possible strategies exist to promote RRI while achieving the 2030 Agenda.


What is the most important SDG in each geography?


No state has been found to explicitly prioritize among the sustainable development goals or objectives. No regional group has explicitly adopted the hierarchy.

In the political agenda theory of which the SDGs are a part (Agenda 2030), all 17 SDGs are equally important from each country and region. This also applies to all their goals. All of them should be achieved by all countries by 2030.

From this perspective, the issue of this research is controversial even before we started researching it, because they are all important, no more than any other. This report is not on track to be achieved by 2030, and when there is sufficient information to set priorities, the most important are those that are least likely to be achieved.

The bulk of this report summarizes the findings of the joint work of several UN agencies to assess which SDGs are “on track” and “not on track” for achievements by geographic region. Those who are not on the road can be considered the most important.

If every country were to truly meet all the sustainable development goals and all the goals by the completion date, it currently seems that the most effort will be needed in what is not on the way. They may vary by region. For example, this report will conclude that SDG 1 on poverty is “most important” in Africa, not most important in Europe.


The Sustainable Development Goals Report 2019


In July 2019, the High-Level Policy Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) reviewed global progress in the last remaining set of sustainable development goals. 142 countries have now presented their voluntary national reviews. All SDGs are now featured on the HLPF. As mentioned above, this year actually closes the first cycle of implementation of the 2030 Agenda.

The Sustainable Development Report 2019, prepared by the UN DESA Statistics Division, was also launched in July with contributions from more than 50 international and regional organizations. It provides charts, infographics and SDG progress maps and presents a detailed analysis of selected indicators. In addition, the report highlights regional progress and analysis.

The report is accompanied by a comprehensive statistical annex and a Global Database of SDG Indicators with data on countries and regions that can also be accessed interactively on the Sustainable Development Goals Indicators website.

These data provide a clear overview of the progress made so far in the Sustainable Development Goals, as well as the challenges that still exist, in each country and region. This lets us select the data we need from countries and regions to determine if there are trends. However, since these are UN documents, they can only aggregate the information provided by the Member States to identify gaps (and call those gaps priorities). They do not reflect how each country or region implements SDGs, except in this broad sense of progress made on the basis of already known measurements (eg the quality of integrating SDGs into national legislation would not be visible in aggregate records, except through illustrations). Nevertheless, there are broad conclusions about the gaps that need to be addressed, which can be called priorities, because all countries have committed themselves to meet all the goals of sustainable development. These conclusions are supported by the most comprehensive policy process and available documentation and are considered a reliable source for setting priorities.

According to the report, the two main challenges facing the world are:

  • Climate change
  • Inequalities among and within countries

These two challenges are both corresponding to respectively SDG 13 ‘Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts ‘and SDG 10 ‘Reduce inequality within and among countries’. Though progress has been made, poverty remains an issue in many parts of the world, and hunger has actually been increasing in recent years. This issue has been posing a threat and it should be battled over the decades that are coming in front of us and we all need to put in a joint effort for these issues to be addressed properly in order to eradicate them from our societies.

 

RRING Project Involved in Horrizon Result Booster

By SalM on September 27, 2020 in RRING NEWS

About Horrizon Result Booster

Horizon Results Booster is a new package of specialised services to maximise the impact of R&I public investment and further amplify the added value of the Framework Programmes (FPs). It helps to bring a continual stream of innovation to the market and beyond. It will help to speed up the journey towards creating an impact, providing support to remove bottlenecks.

Benefit from “à la carte” tailor-made services designed to build your capacity for disseminating research results. Get support, increase your project results’ exploitation potential and improve your access to markets. Services are delivered to FP7 and H2020 projects at no cost and fully supported by the European Commission.

Important to mention is that RRING Project is involved in the Modules A and C, which will be presented to you in the following part of this article, and they are

  • Module A: Identifying and creating the portfolio of R&I project results
  • Module C: Assisting projects to improve their existing exploitation strategy

Module A

Identifying and creating the portfolio of R&I project results

This module supports the creation of a portfolio of results that are suitable for dissemination. Following the formation of the project groups/portfolios, you will receive guidance to identify similar ongoing projects from any other EU, national and regional funding initiatives. This service also includes a comprehensive mapping of the relevant stakeholders/target audience for each particular portfolio.

  • For a single project or project group from which at least one project was funded under FP7 or H2020, ongoing or closed.
  • This service is only available to projects or project groups that show a united interest in maximizing their dissemination potential.

Module C

Assisting projects to improve their existing exploitation strategy

This service will provide guidance and training to improve the existing project strategies of projects towards effective exploitation of key exploitable results.
The exploitation strategy will improve the following aspects:

  • review of the key exploitable results of the project;
  • revise, complement and clarify existing exploitation plans of project results and/or outline exploitation paths of results;
  • techniques to identify all relevant stakeholders in the exploitation value chain;
  • support to perform a risk analysis related to the exploitation of results.

This service is available for single project funded under FP7 or H2020, ongoing or closed with identified key exploitable results.

Involvement in the Go To Market

RRING Project will eventually be involved in the Go To Market of the, which has the aim of this service is to assist beneficiaries in making their project results ready for commercialization. The service will support beneficiaries to identify and/or address potential obstacles to the exploitation of project results and reach commercialization.

This service prepares project beneficiaries to take their project results to the market. The service provides assistance, coaching, mentoring, contacts with the market stakeholders regarding:

  • pitching, presenting a product(s) or service(s) to potential investors, identification of relevant events for pitching (forums, trade fairs, expos), identification of venture capital and/or traditional funding mechanisms, guidance on how to follow up a pitch;
  • support and guidance for Intellectual Property Rights (IPR): introduction to IP services, guidance regarding the procedures, definitions and regulations on IPR, as well as patenting, IP licensing and sale; freedom of operations – due diligence, transfer of IP;
  • training in innovation management (product, process and resulting organisational changes);
  • business services – co-designing a plan for commercial development, feasibility studies to assess potential business plans, support in the creation of spin-offs and start-ups;
  • examining exploitation/business implementation options;
  • introduction to non-EU funding opportunities available and support in your application.

This service is available for single project or project group from which at least one project was funded under FP7 or H2020, ongoing or closed, with identified key exploitable results, a dissemination and exploitation plan and an advanced business plan (or completed service 2).

Global Perspective on how to be a good ally

By SalM on September 22, 2020 in RRING NEWS

At the “I, Scientist” conference held from September 16-19, 2020 on the importance of gender, career path and networking, Dr. Eric Jensen, Senior Research Fellow and Director of the ICoRSA Policy Research Unit, presented the global perspectives on how to be a good ally in the context of gender equality and ethnic diversity. These are the results of our research conducted by International Consortium of Research Staff Associations (ICoRSA) within the RRING Project.

The survey included 2198 responses with a completion rate of 70% or more. Five RRING World Regions were included in the analysis (following UNESCO regions of the world): European and North American States; Latin-American and Caribbean States; Asian and Pacific States; African States; Arab States.

As a part of the study, the research included questions on Gender Equality and Ethnic Minorities Equality.

Gender equality is linked to sustainable development and is vital to the realization of human rights for all. The overall objective of gender equality is a society in which women and men enjoy the same opportunities, rights, and obligations in all spheres of life. The specific context of the survey is related to gender equality in research and innovation work.

Dr. Jensen emphasised why is it important to include ethnic minorities in the research and innovation work while introducing the audience with, how different people from around the world think about how to be a good ally, and the role of gender and racial equality in their respected workplace.

 


Global Survey on the importance of Gender and Ethnic Equality


Gender Equality and Ethnic Minorities

  • There were a lot of responses around the world on numerous aspects of social responsibility in science and innovation.
  • 2198 Responses with a completion rate of 70% or more.
  • 539 responses with a completion rate of less than 70%
  • The average completion rate of the survey was 97%


First View:
Quantitative Results Gender Equality

It is important to promote gender equality in my research & innovation work.

There was a strong agreement all around the world concerning this statement.

  • Latin America has had the highest level of agreement.
  • Latin America was leading slightly with 62% strongly agreeing.
  • More neutral views in Europe and North America (15%).

“It is important to include ethnic minorities in my research & innovation work”

There was widespread agreement with this statement. The overall sentiment was leaning heavily on the agreement.

  • Latin America and the Caribbean slightly with 42% strongly agreeing.
  • Comparatively high percentages indicating a neutral view (13%-22%)
The main focus of the presentation was the open-ended responses about specific steps

The data was analysed in a specific approach called Content Analysis – a method for analysing open-ended dana on the steps taken by respondents to address the different dimensions of social responsibility.

All open-ended responses were analyzed by two independent coders (analysts) to ensure reliability.


Content Analysis

The content analysis includes the following steps:

  1. A coding guide for each open-ended question, providing analysts with detailed descriptions on how to categorize certain responses
  2. Coder briefings as introductions to the analyses
  3. Test-coding and de-briefings to tackle issues before proceeding with a final coding
  4. Calculating the inter-coder reliability as a measure of agreement between the analysts for each open-ended question.

Gender Equality

Follow-up question:

„Please list the steps you have taken to promote gender equality in your research and innovation work.“

Gender Equality Categories

GE1  -The first 18 percent were categorised as nonspecific, vague, platitude or virtue signalling (18% of participants)
Responses suggesting they promote or support gender equality without mentioning any practical steps.

  • Example: „Working on promoting gender in my work.“

These suggest promote or support gender equality but do not provide specific steps.
Not adding any specificity – a vague response.
a decent chunk of people gave this response.

GE2  – Gender equality in R&I, within an academic environment (81% of participants)

Responses indicating they take practical steps to promote gender equality in R&I activities.

This category has two subcategories:

Specific steps to enhance gender equality in R&I work

GE2.1.1 Gender equality in R&I, within an academic environment (general)
(30% of participants)

Responses about promoting gender equality without providing specific steps.

30 percent identified general things that they did.

  • Example: „My research topic has a gender element.“

GE2.1.2Gender Equality in R&I, within an academic environment (specific) (51% of participants)
These responses were indicating specific steps taken to ensure gender equality.

  • Example: “I have sought to promote gender equality in hiring office admin staff encouraging and promoting fellow women colleagues work in front of the higher management.”

Gender Equality Overview of steps taken

  • Other steps are taken: 27%
  • Fostering gender equality in the workforce: 24%
  • Gender as a substantive dimension in R&I work: 13%
  • Promoting/mentorship of female researchers: 11%
  • Fostering gender equality in staff recruitment: 8%
  • Promoting gender equality through delivering or attending training: 8%
  • Promoting women in R&I decision-making/senior positions: 6%
  • Integrating gender equality in research participant selection: 5%
  • Compliance with rules / regulations: 3%
  • Participation in or engagement with equality committees: 3%
  • Supporting female researchers publications: 2%

Gender Equality Categories

GE2.2.1 Supporting female researches publications, co-authorship, academic citations (2% of participants)
For example collaboration with female research partners and publication of a shared report.

  • Example:” Balance between women’s and men’s visibility in publication.”

GE2.2.2Integrating gender equality in research participant selection (5% of participants)
Selection processes and mechanisms such as representative samples.

  • Example: “Equal selection of the research participants by gender.”

GE2.2.3Fostering gender equality in R&I teams (24% of participants)
Ensuring parity between men and women, and diverse gender representation in research teams.

  • Example: “I make sure my research team represents women and men equally.”

GE2.2.4Integrating gender as a substantive dimension/focus of R&I content/practice (13% of participants)
R&I focuses on addressing gender equality issues, e.g. pay gap.

  • Example: “My current research is focusing on discrimination against women working in the technology industry.”

GE2.2.5Promoting/mentorship of female researchers (11% of participants)

  • Example: “I encouraged a female colleague to undertake a Ph.D., I will be on her supervisory panel in a mentoring role.”

GE2.2.6Promoting women in R&I decision-making roles and senior positions
(6% of participants) was a less prevalent step mentioned

  • Example: “Drafted an unprecedented number of women to selection panels of scientific grand applications

GE2.2.7Ensuring gender equality in process of recruitment and selection of R&I staff
(8% of participants) another step people took.
Efforts making recruitment in R&I contexts fairer for, or less discriminatory against women.

  • Example: “When hiring ensure that both men and women have equal opportunity.”

GE2.2.8 Promoting gender equality through delivering or attending training (8% of participants)

  • Example: “Promote gender equality in a public lecture.”

GE2.2.9Participation in or engagement with equality committees (3% of participants)

  • Example: “Meet and discuss issues with the Equality committee.”

GE2.2.10Compliance with rules, regulations, and legal obligations (3% of participants)

  • Example: “Signed up to provisions of my university and EU policies on gender balance and equality.”

GE2.2.11Other gender equality promotion step is taken (27% of participants)
Steps that do not belong to any of the above categories.

  • Example: “We use gender-neutral language in our reports and in general.”

GE3 Unclear/Uncertain (2% of participants)


Ethnic Equality

Follow-up question:

“please list the steps you have taken to include ethnic minorities in your research and innovation work.”

EM1Non-specific, vague, platitude or virtue signaling (18% of participants)
Responses suggesting they promote or support racial/ethnic equality without mentioning any practical steps.

  • Example: “Racial/ethnic equality is my entire focus.”

EM2 Racial/ethnic equality in R&I and the academic environment is the largest category (78% of participants)
Responses indicating they take to promote or support racial/ethnic equality in R&I activities.

This category has two subcategories:

Specific steps to enhance gender equality in R&I work

EM2.1.1Racial/ethnic equality within the R&I environment (general) (44% of participants)
Responses about promoting racial/ethnic equality without providing specific steps.

  • Example: “I involved various ethnic minorities in a new European project.”

EM2.1.2Racial/ethnic equality within the R&I environment (specific) (34% of participants)
Responses indicating specific steps taken to ensure gender equality.

  • Example: “Identify gaps areas where ethnic minorities are underrepresented in the organization, research and learn best practices on racial/ethnic equality.”

Distribution of different categories:

  • Integrating ethnicity as a substantive dimension of R&I work: 18%
  • Integrating ethnic equality in research participant selection: 16%
  • Fostering ethnic equality in the workforce: 15%
  • Other steps are taken: 15%
  • Promoting / mentorships of ethnic minorities: 10%
  • Ensuring ethnic equality in staff recruitment: 9%
  • Promoting ethnic equality through delivering/attending training: 3%
  • Supporting ethnic minorities’ publications, co-authorships, citations: 2%
  • Compliance with rules/regulations: 2%
  • Promoting ethnic minorities in decision-making: 1%
  • Participation in or engagement with relevant equality committees: 1%

EM2.2.1Supporting racial/ethnic minority researchers publications,
                  co-authorships, academic citations (2% of participants)
For example, collaborating with researchers from ethnic minority groups and publication of a shared report.

  • Example: “I encouraged ethnic minority researchers to co-author two of my papers.”

EM2.2.2Integrating racial /ethnic equality in research participant selection (16% of participants).
Selection processes and mechanisms as representative samples.

  • Example: “Ensuring the representation of minority research participants in the community.”

EM2.2.3Fostering racial/ethnic equality in R&I teams (15% of participants)
Ensuring the representation of ethnic minorities in research teams, and diverse racial representation in collaborations.

  • Example: “I make sure that races/ethnicities are appropriately represented in my working groups.”

EM2.2.4Integrating race/ethnicity as a substantive dimension/focus of R&I content/practice (18% of participants)
Addressing race/ethnicity issues in research, e.g. xenophobia

  • Example: “Research I am working on focuses on integrating indigenous people’s needs and concerns in forest fire and haze management strategies.”

EM2.2.5Promotion/mentorship of ethnic minority researches/innovators
(10% of participants)

  • Example: “Support ethnic minority researches to secure funding and industry linkages.”

EM2.2.6Promoting ethnic minorities in R&I decision – making roles and senior positions (1% of participants)

  • Example: “We promote staff according to certain diversity quotas, which include ethnic minorities.”

EM2.2.7Ensuring racial/ethnic equality in process of recruitment and selection of R&I staff (9% of participants)
Efforts making recruitment in R&I context fairer for, or less discriminatory against ethnic minorities.

  • Example: “I intentionally hire people from different ethnic groups in all roles in my research center.”

EM2.2.8Promoting racial/ethnic equality through delivering or attending training (3% of participants)

  • Example: “I joined a course on diversity in research and innovation.”

EM2.2.9Participation in or engagement with equality committees (1% of participants)

  • Example: “Participation in institutional committees tasked with promoting racial/ethnic equality/inclusivity.”

EM2.2.10Compliance with rules, regulations, and legal obligations (2% of participants)

  • Example: “My department follows the rules, regulations, and legal obligations (2% of participants)
  • Example: “My department follows the institution’s rules on ethnic diversity when hiring new staff.”

EM2.2.11Other racial/ethnic equality promotion step taken (15% participants)
This category was usually used for cases that had sufficient information to be coded for EM2 but insufficient information to code more precisely.

EM3 – Downplaying, minimizing, and excusing ethnic diversity issues in R&I (6% of participants)
Responses downplaying the necessity to address ethnic issues, or attributing a lower priority to them.

  • Example: “I agree it’s important but not at all costs.”
So these are the steps that people are taking around the world in the context of trying to enhance gender equality and the integration of ethnic minorities into Research and Integration work.

This presentation was covered in the conference “I, Scientist”: https://year2020.iscientist.de

Professor Eric A. Jensen has a global reputation in social research and impact evaluation of public and stakeholder engagement with science. Jensen is currently Senior Research Fellow at ICoRSA (International Consortium of Research Staff Associations), working on the RRING (rring.eu) and GRRIP (grrip.eu) projects about responsible research and innovation.

Dr. Jensen’s track record includes over 100 publications- including peer-reviewed journal articles in Nature, Conservation Biology, Public Understanding of Science, and books and book chapters published by Cambridge University Press and Oxford University Press, as well as high profile government-commissioned reports- and dozens of major projects on science communication, public engagement and responsible research and innovation. He has worked as an evaluation trainer, advisor and consultant for many government departments, agencies and public engagement institutions globally, such as Science Foundation Ireland, Science Gallery Dublin, the European Space Agency, University of Cambridge, University of Oxford, CERN, Arts Council England, the National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement, Association of Science & Technology Centers and the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

Jensen’s PhD is in sociology from the University of Cambridge. His expertise spans themes relating to evidence-based science communication, public engagement, research impact and responsible research and innovation policies and practices.

For access to some of Dr Jensen’s publications see:
https://warwick.academia.edu/EricJensen
LinkedIn Profile

Dr. Eric Jensen
Senior Research Fellow and director of ICoRSA Policy Research Unit

ICoRSA, e.jensen@icorsa.org
rring.eu
grrip.eu
musica-project.eu

RRING Fact-Sheet

By SalM on August 25, 2020 in RRING NEWS

RRING Project is initially a research project which is funded through EU Horizon 2020 Programme. It has series of research objectives including:

  1. Understanding of the global State of the Art in responsibility in research
  2. Understanding how responsibility may contribute to the achievement of the Agenda 2030 and the SDGs
  3. Understanding and advocating responsibility in research and innovation as not only a moral value, but also as a competitive advantage for excellence in research andinnovation

RRING Network

The RRING Network has two objectives:

  1. To create a community that supports researchers and others that mobilizing for greater responsbility in research and innovation, with a focus on community and mutual learning and staying motivated
  2. To build advocacy capacity in a community that supports global implementation everywhere of the common global standards announced in the Recommendations on Science and Scientific Researchers.

Who is it for?

The network is for research institutions, individuals, scientific organisations that practice, regulate and promote science as well as anyone concerned with the rules, policies and ethics in the science. This might include scientist and specialist from: industries, RPOs, RFOs, Citizens, Civil Society Organisations, Policy, Researchers, International organisations, Science educators and Communicators, Science Publisher Organisations, Student organisations

RRING Membership: Support and Benefits

The RRING community will be crafting over time a multitude of approaches that offer mutual learning to its members:

  • Provide online training on aspects of responsibility in research and innovation, including compliance with UN and regional standards and SDGs
  • Connect people and catalyse online networking
  • Introduce through monthly online workshops fresh ideas on how research and innovation systems are addressing Gender, Diversity, Ethics, Openness, Access, Science / STEM Education for All, Public Engagement, Work Conditions, Environmental Protection, Freedoms and Careers
  • Offer a contact database of expert practitioners on all aspects of responsible research and innovation
  • Provide easy reference for tools and up to date information, to allow stakeholders in every place to participate in assessing responsibility
  • Introduce through online workshops fresh ideas on how to apply for funding, especially in areas requiring RRI and SGDs compliance, and training on how to be a partner in project proposals requiring expertise in RRI and SDGs.

Benefits of membership are extended free to policy makers who participate in monthly workshops:

  • Support in ensuring consolidated insights for the national reports on implementation of the Recommendation on Science, covering each four year reporting periods
  • Access to global good practice examples
  • Assist members to mobilise for advocacy and activities aiming at achieving UN’s Agenda 2030 and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as an integral part of advancing science

The RRING Network

RRING supports and incorporates UNESCO Recommendation on Science and Scientific Research

RRING acknowledges that each region of the world is advancing its own agenda on responsibility. Different priorities and achievements are relevant and exist throughout the world. But today, all communities of science can share a common language for responsibility in research and innovation systems. This language has been defined by governments through the Recommendation on
Science and Scientific Researchers after four years of consultation with scientific communities.

RRING aspires to bring together a community, across borders, defined by a devotion to the advancement of science and diversity. It
aligns closely to the Recommendation on Science vision, providing opportunities to inform the international governmental dialogue on
science, by collective actions. Initial chapters are being formed in various countries.

The UNESCO Recommendation on Science and Scientific Researchers is an important standard-setting instrument which not only codifies the goals and value systems by which science operates, but also emphasises that these need to be supported and protected if science is to flourish. It has been adopted by 195 states of the world without abstention at UNESCO’s General Conference in 2017. This is the first time that a global consensus on science norms was codified into such a comprehensive set of guidelines, and it is now a threshold for all research systems of the world to meet, in order that relations between scientists across borders proceed smoothly everywhere and over the long term.

The Recommendation has been widely endorsed by the international community, and it is expected to become generally known to the scientific community whose collective interests it aims to serve after 2020. The Recommendation reflects high standards for both
scientific freedom and responsibility.

Responsibility in research and innovation will make a difference to our quality of life on Earth and is brought into focus in 2020 by the need for science to address the needs of public health while not stirring up panic or spreading misinformation.

In which general subject area(s) do you hold your highest degree (at or above the bachelor’s level)?

Responsible Research and Innovation

Based on the RRING’s investigation and findings, EU policy Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) may also be a tool to develop a competitive advantage. RRI allows for the incorporation of stakeholders’ concerns and needs to the final outcome, hence increasing the marketability of research and innovation. Our global survey revealed that businesses that aim to integrate ethical dimensions in their research and innovation processes have a better customer performance, a key dimension of competitiveness. Our study also showed that the dimensions of RRI are important throughout global regions, although practices are adapted to the local environment. In fact, engaging in networks and staying responsive to local realities are among the main recommendations for the development of a competitive advantage based on RRI.


Link to the full Fact-sheet below

RRING_e-fact-sheet

Review of the SDGs in Latin America and the Caribbean

By SalM on August 16, 2020 in RRING NEWS

Introduction

In line with objective 3 of the RRING project, the research is a first step to “align RRI to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to provide a global common denominator for advancement of RRI, and address Grand Challenges globally.”

This first step was mainly done through desktop research, relying on UN reports as well as voluntary national reviews (as submitted to the UN High Level Political Forum (HLPF) to determine what are the most important SDGs in each region (named ‘geography’ in this task) and as geographical regions use the 5 regions defined by the UN for its regional commissions, and its monitoring of the SDGs, while noting that every state is different and regional averages can be misleading, because the 5 global regions exhibit internal variety.

The Sustainable Development Goals Report 2019

In July 2019, the High-Level Political Forum for Sustainable Development (HLPF) reviewed global progress on the last remaining set of SDGs. 142 countries have now presented their Voluntary National Reviews. All SDGs have now been highlighted at the HLPF. As mentioned above, this year in effect closes the first cycle of the 2030 Agenda implementation.

July also marked the launch of The Sustainable Development Report 2019, prepared by UN DESA’s Statistics Division with inputs from more than 50 international and regional organizations. It provides charts, infographics and maps on SDG progress, and presents an in-depth analysis of selected indicators. Additionally, the report highlights regional progress and analyses.

The report is accompanied by a comprehensive Statistical Annex and the Global SDG Indicator Database with country and regional data that can also be accessed interactively on the Sustainable Development Goal indicators website.

This data provides a clear overview per country and region of the progress that has so far been made on the SDGs, as well as the challenges that still remain. This allows us to select the data we need from selected countries and regions to determine if there are any trends. However, since these are UN documents, they can only consolidate the information provided by Member States, so as to reveal gaps (and call these gaps priorities). They do not reflect how each country or region is implementing the SDGs except in this broad sense of progress achieved on the basis of measurements taken (e.g. the quality of how the SDG targets are incorporated in national legislation would not be visible in the aggregated record, except by means of illustrations). There are nonetheless, broadly stated conclusions on gaps to be addressed, which may be called priorities, because all states are committed to meet all SDGs. These conclusions are backed by the most inclusive political process and documentation available, so it is considered a reliable source for identifying priorities.

According to the report, the two main challenges facing the world are climate change and inequalities among and within countries, corresponding to respectively SDG 13 ‘Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts ‘and SDG 10 ‘Reduce inequality within and among countries’. Though progress has been made, poverty remains an issue in many parts of the world and hunger has actually been increasing in recent years. The overview per region below takes many direct excerpts from the UN SG’s report.

Review on Latin America and the Caribbean

This region seems to face the biggest challenges in terms of employment (SDG8) and in terms of criminality and institutions (SDG16) as the figures indicates some of the highest gaps for those respective SDGs. Among the other most important to the region are SDG 2 (Hunger), SDG 3 (Health), SDG 4 (Education), SDG 5 (Gender equality), SDG 6 (Water), SDG 7 (Energy), SDG 9 (Industry), SDG 10 (Inequalities), SDG 11 (Sustainable cities), SDG 13 (Climate Change), SDG 14 (Oceans), and SDG 15 (Life on Land).

SDG1 ON POVERTY

There are few outliers among the countries across the region so the region is considered as whole although extreme poverty still exists in certain countries, such as Haiti.

SDG2 ON HUNGER

This isan important SDG for the region. In South America, hunger appears to be increasing which may be due to economic slowdown, reducing fiscal capacity to protect the most vulnerable against rising domestic prices and loss of income (SDG Indicator 2.1.1). Additional reasons could be attributed to adverse weather conditions. As an example, the price of maize climbed steeply during 2018 in Central America, because of concerns about the impact of severe dry weather on the main season’s crops. Similar to other developing regions, there are a lot of small-scale food producers that are poor; have limited capacities and resources; face regular food insecurity; and have limited access to markets and services (SDG Indicator 2.3.2).

SDG3 ON HEALTH:

There are no particular outliers in the indicator data among the countries across this region, for this SDG. Neglected topical diseases (NTDs) are a problem, as over 75 million people required intervention is 2017 (SDG Indicator 3.3.5). The region also has the an extremely high death rate due to road traffic injuries second (19.2 per 100,000 population in 2013, SDG Indicator 3.6.1) and, compared to other regions, has the world’s highest adolescent birth rate although the situation is improving (61.3 births per 1,000 women aged 15-19 years in 2018, SDG Indicator 3.7.2).

SDG4 ON EDUCATION

In 2015, one in two children and adolescents was not proficient in mathematics and over one third was not proficient in reading (SDG Indicator 4.1.1).

SDG5 ON GENDER EQUALITY

As previously indicated, there is no data in the report of its statistical annex by region on SDG Indicator 5.1.1 ‘Whether or not legal frameworks are in place to promote, enforce and monitor equality and non‑discrimination on the basis of sex’ though it could be interesting to include them at a later stage. Apart from that Latin America and the Caribbean has some of the highest numbers of women in parliament (31.6% in 2019, SDG Indicator 5.5.1)) and in managerial positions (39% in 2018, SDG Indicator 5.5.2)) though still no achieving gender parity.

SDG6 ON WATER

This SDG has mixed results. Huge progress has been made in terms of proportion of population using safely managed drinking water in the region (SDG Indicator 6.1.1). In terms of population using safely managed sanitation services, progress has also been made but remains low overall (31.3% in 2017, SDG Indicator 6.2.1). As mentioned before, water quality has been deteriorating since the 1990s in most rivers in Africa, Asia and Latin America (SDG Indicator 6.3.2). The degree of integrated water resources management implementation (0-100) is the lowest for this region at 35 (2018, SDG Indicator 6.5.1).

SDG7 ON ENERGY

The region did not improve much in terms of primary energy intensity rate between 2010 and 2016, with only 0.8% being far below target of 2.7% (SDG Indicator 7.3.1)

SDG8 ON ECONOMIC GROWTH

This can be considered another important SDG for the region for several reasons. First of all, annual growth rate of real GDP per capita decreased by 0.2% in 2017 (SDG Indicator 8.1.1). Second, annual growth rate of real GDP per worker only increased by 0.5% in 2018 which was the second lowest number for all regions and well below the average (SDG Indicator 8.2.1). Third, unemployment rate is second highest for all regions with 8% in 2018 (SDG Indicator 8.5.2). The figures become worse when disaggregated by sex and age. In Latin America and the Caribbean, the unemployment rate for women was almost 3% higher and even 14% higher for young women.

SDG9 INDUSTRY, INNOVATION AND INFRASTRUCTURE

The manufacturing value added share in GDP are below the global average in 2019 (13%, SDG Indicator 9.2.1). The region does score well on providing access loans or lines of credit for small-scale industries (SDG Indicator 9.3.2). As regards, research and development (R&D) expenditure as a proportion of GDP the region is lagging behind and total researchers as proportion of population (SDG Indicators 9.5.1 and 9.5.2).

SDG10 ON INEQUALITIES

There are no particular outliers among countries of this region in the indicator data in the report. Of note is that, despite a global decrease, the labour income share increased from 48.4 to 50.5% between 2004 and 2017 in Latin America and the Caribbean.

SDG11 ON SUSTAINABLE CITIES

One of in five people living in cities are still living in slums in 2018 (SDG Indicator 11.1.1). Furthermore, as the region is prone to seismic activity, SDG Indicator 11.5.1 is of importance.

SDG 12 ON CONSUMPTION AND PRODUCTION

No particular outliers in the indicator data for the SDG.

SDG13 ON CLIMATE CHANGE

As for all other regions, this is considered a ‘priority’ SDG.

SDG14 ON OCEANS

As for all regions, this SDG is of general importance. Of particular note in the report is the fact that ocean pollution is most acute in equatorial zones, including in Central America (SDG Indicator 14.1.1).

SDG15 ON LIFE ON LAND

Although the region has a high Forest area as a proportion of total land area, the net forest area decreased with 0.23% between 2011 and 2015 (SDG Indicator 15.2.1). Furthermore, land degradation is 26.5% in Latin America (SDG Indicator 15.3.1).

SDG16 ON PEACE, JUSTICE AND STRONG INSTITUTIONS

This is a very important SDG for the region. Most importantly, Latin America and the Caribbean remains the most violent region that is not afflicted by war. The region has the highest homicide rate worldwide with 24 per 100,000 population in 2017 (SDG Indicator 16.1.1) and the number has been increasing since 2005. 34% of all homicides worldwide in 2017 occurred in Latin America and the Caribbean. The number of unsentenced detainees is also higher than average (40.3% of prison population in 2015-2017, SDG Indicator 16.3.2).

SDG17 ON PARTNERSHIPS

No countries stood out in the indicator data as not being on track for this SDG.

Review of the SDGs in Europe and North America

By SalM on August 13, 2020 in RRING NEWS

Introduction

In line with objective 3 of the RRING project, the research is a first step to “align RRI to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to provide a global common denominator for advancement of RRI, and address Grand Challenges globally.”

This first step was mainly done through desktop research, relying on UN reports as well as voluntary national reviews (as submitted to the UN High Level Political Forum (HLPF) to determine what are the most important SDGs in each region (named ‘geography’ in this task) and as geographical regions use the 5 regions defined by the UN for its regional commissions, and its monitoring of the SDGs, while noting that every state is different and regional averages can be misleading, because the 5 global regions exhibit internal variety.

The Sustainable Development Goals Report 2019

In July 2019, the High-Level Political Forum for Sustainable Development (HLPF) reviewed global progress on the last remaining set of SDGs. 142 countries have now presented their Voluntary National Reviews. All SDGs have now been highlighted at the HLPF. As mentioned above, this year in effect closes the first cycle of the 2030 Agenda implementation.

July also marked the launch of The Sustainable Development Report 2019, prepared by UN DESA’s Statistics Division with inputs from more than 50 international and regional organizations. It provides charts, infographics and maps on SDG progress, and presents an in-depth analysis of selected indicators. Additionally, the report highlights regional progress and analyses.

The report is accompanied by a comprehensive Statistical Annex and the Global SDG Indicator Database with country and regional data that can also be accessed interactively on the Sustainable Development Goal indicators website.

This data provides a clear overview per country and region of the progress that has so far been made on the SDGs, as well as the challenges that still remain. This allows us to select the data we need from selected countries and regions to determine if there are any trends. However, since these are UN documents, they can only consolidate the information provided by Member States, so as to reveal gaps (and call these gaps priorities). They do not reflect how each country or region is implementing the SDGs except in this broad sense of progress achieved on the basis of measurements taken (e.g. the quality of how the SDG targets are incorporated in national legislation would not be visible in the aggregated record, except by means of illustrations). There are nonetheless, broadly stated conclusions on gaps to be addressed, which may be called priorities, because all states are committed to meet all SDGs. These conclusions are backed by the most inclusive political process and documentation available, so it is considered a reliable source for identifying priorities.

According to the report, the two main challenges facing the world are climate change and inequalities among and within countries, corresponding to respectively SDG 13 ‘Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts ‘and SDG 10 ‘Reduce inequality within and among countries’. Though progress has been made, poverty remains an issue in many parts of the world and hunger has actually been increasing in recent years. The overview per region below takes many direct excerpts from the UN SG’s report.

Review on Europe and North America

This region is most on track to reach the SDG targets. Rising inequality (SDG10), climate change (SDG13), gender equality (SDG5), mental health (SDG3) and especially consumption patterns (SDG12) are the most Important for this region.

SDG1 ON POVERTY

No outliers in the indicator data for this SDG. Though, as will come up later, concerns were raised that indicators such as homelessness should be included to give a more proper overview for the region.

SDG2 ON HUNGER

No outliers in the indicator data for this SDG.

SDG3 ON HEALTH

This SDG has two indicators that are worth mentioning. With 16.4 deaths per 100,000 population in 2016, the region had the highest suicide rate according to SDG Indicator 3.4.2 – mostly men. Additionally, alcohol consumption per capita is also the highest for any region with 10.7 litres per capita in 2016 (SDG Indicator 3.5.2)

SDG4 ON EDUCATION

No outliers in the indicator data for this SDG.

SDG5 ON GENDER EQUALITY

As previously indicated, there is no data in the report of its statistical annex by region on SDG Indicator 5.1.1 ‘Whether or not legal frameworks are in place to promote, enforce and monitor equality and non‑discrimination on the basis of sex’ though it could be interesting to include them at a later stage. The proportion of ever-partnered women and girls aged 15 to 49 years subjected to physical and/or sexual violence by a current or former intimate partner in the previous 12 months, remains too high at 9% in Europe in 2017 (SDG Indicator 5.2.1). The region counted 29.4% women in national parliaments (SDG Indicator 5.5.1) and 37% women in managerial positions (SDG Indicator 5.5.2) in 2018 ´the highest number for any region but still far off from gender parity.

SDG6 ON WATER

Worth mentioning here is that the region is prone to high levels of water stress.

SDG7 ON ENERGY

The region is still below the global average with regard to renewable energy as part of the total energy consumption (SDG Indicator 7.2.1). It is also lagging behind in terms of improvement rate of primary energy intensity with 2.1% between 2000 and 2016 being below the target of 2.7%. Energy efficiency is crucial to reduce greenhouse gases.

SDG8 ON ECONOMIC GROWTH

Domestic material consumption per capita remains above the average with 15.21 tonnes in 2017 (SDG Indicator 8.4.2). Northern America has been making great progress since 2000 to reduce its number. Unemployment in Europe is relatively high with 6.7% in 2018 (SDG Indicator 8.5.2).

SDG9 ON INDUSTRY, INNOVATION AND INFRASTRUCTURE

The region has a high manufacturing value added per capita ($4,938 in 2018, SDG Indicator 9.2.1). Of concern is that the region is responsible for nearly one third of total CO2 emissions from fuel combustion (10,413 millions of tonnes in 2016, SDG Indicator 9.4.1) – Eastern Asia being responsible for another third of total. Apart from that the region is strong in expenditure in R&D (2.21% of GDP in 2016, SDG Indicator 9.5.1).

SDG10 ON INEQUALITIES

Apart from it being highlighted by the UN Secretary General as a major challenge, the report also states that rich and poor countries alike can benefit from policies promoting equality and inclusivity. Another thing of note here is that, according to the report, Europe and Northern America is one of the main drivers of the declining global labour share. Between 2004 and 2017, the adjusted labour share of GDP decreased by 2& in the region (from 59.6 to 57.6%, SDG Indicator 10.4.1).

SDG11 ON SUSTAINABLE CITIES

No outliers in the indicator data for this SDG.

SDG12 ON CONSUMPTION AND PRODUCTION

The SDG could be considered a ‘priority’ for the region. The report states that the lifestyles of people in the richest nations are heavily dependent on resources extracted from poorer countries. In 2017, high-income countries had the highest material footprint per capita (27 metric tonnes per person), 60% higher than the upper-middle-income countries and more than 13 times the level of low-income countries (SDG Indicator 12.2.1). On a per-capita basis, high-income countries rely on 9.8 metric tons of primary materials extracted elsewhere in the world. Domestic material consumption per capita is also above the average with 15.21 tonnes per capita in 2017 (SDG Indicator 12.2.2). Furthermore, according to the report, roughly a third of the food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted each year, most of the food in developed countries (SDG Indicator 12.3.1).

SDG13 ON CLIMATE CHANGE

As for all other regions, this is considered a ‘priority’ SDG.

SDG14 ON OCEANS

According to data on SDG Indicator 14.4.1 the Mediterranean and Black Sea region had the lowest percentage of sustainable fish stocks (37.8%) in 2015.

SDG15 ON LIFE ON LAND

The report mentions that the region is making efforts to increase forested land. However, the proportion of forest area within legally established protected areas was still below the global average (6.1% in 2015, SDG Indicator 15.2.1)

SDG16 ON PEACE, JUSTICE AND STRONG INSTITUTIONS

No outliers in the indicator data for this SDG.

SDG17 ON PARTNERSHIPS:

The report mentions two issues. The first is that ODA is dropping and that donor countries are not living up to their pledge to ramp up development finance, which decreased the chances of achieving the SDGs. The second is that there has been an increase in trade tensions among large economies, adversely affecting consumers and producers worldwide and negatively impacting business and financial markets.

Review of the SDGs in Asia and Pacific

By SalM on August 13, 2020 in RRING NEWS

Introduction

In line with objective 3 of the RRING project, the research is a first step to “align RRI to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to provide a global common denominator for advancement of RRI, and address Grand Challenges globally.”

This first step was mainly done through desktop research, relying on UN reports as well as voluntary national reviews (as submitted to the UN High Level Political Forum (HLPF) to determine what are the most important SDGs in each region (named ‘geography’ in this task) and as geographical regions use the 5 regions defined by the UN for its regional commissions, and its monitoring of the SDGs, while noting that every state is different and regional averages can be misleading, because the 5 global regions exhibit internal variety.

The Sustainable Development Goals Report 2019

In July 2019, the High-Level Political Forum for Sustainable Development (HLPF) reviewed global progress on the last remaining set of SDGs. 142 countries have now presented their Voluntary National Reviews. All SDGs have now been highlighted at the HLPF. As mentioned above, this year in effect closes the first cycle of the 2030 Agenda implementation.

July also marked the launch of The Sustainable Development Report 2019, prepared by UN DESA’s Statistics Division with inputs from more than 50 international and regional organizations. It provides charts, infographics and maps on SDG progress, and presents an in-depth analysis of selected indicators. Additionally, the report highlights regional progress and analyses.

The report is accompanied by a comprehensive Statistical Annex and the Global SDG Indicator Database with country and regional data that can also be accessed interactively on the Sustainable Development Goal indicators website.

This data provides a clear overview per country and region of the progress that has so far been made on the SDGs, as well as the challenges that still remain. This allows us to select the data we need from selected countries and regions to determine if there are any trends. However, since these are UN documents, they can only consolidate the information provided by Member States, so as to reveal gaps (and call these gaps priorities). They do not reflect how each country or region is implementing the SDGs except in this broad sense of progress achieved on the basis of measurements taken (e.g. the quality of how the SDG targets are incorporated in national legislation would not be visible in the aggregated record, except by means of illustrations). There are nonetheless, broadly stated conclusions on gaps to be addressed, which may be called priorities, because all states are committed to meet all SDGs. These conclusions are backed by the most inclusive political process and documentation available, so it is considered a reliable source for identifying priorities.

According to the report, the two main challenges facing the world are climate change and inequalities among and within countries, corresponding to respectively SDG 13 ‘Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts ‘and SDG 10 ‘Reduce inequality within and among countries’. Though progress has been made, poverty remains an issue in many parts of the world and hunger has actually been increasing in recent years.

The overview per region below takes many direct excerpts from the UN SG’s report.

Asia and the Pacific

SDG 2 (hunger), SDG 3 (Health), SDG 4 (Education), SDG 5 (Gender Equality), SDG 6 (Water), SDG 11 (Sustainable Cities), 13 (Climate Change) and 14 (Rising Sea Levels) are most important. This is the largest region and is divided into three subregions in the report: Central and Southern Asia, Eastern and South-Eastern Asia and Oceania. As this region is very large and diverse, so are the results of the SDG report. Central and Southern Asia face similar problems as Africa, such as hunger (SDG2) and slums (SDG11), while Eastern Asia is on track. Oceania has as some of its most Important SDGs climate change (SDG13) and rising sea levels (SDG14).

SDG1 ON POVERTY

Eastern Asia has made big improvements as its poverty rate fell from 52% in 1990 to 1% in 2015. The other sub-regions are also seeing massive improvements on population living below $1.90 per day. The same can be said about the employed population living in the region. This means SDG 1.1.1 is overall going well. Least well are Central and Southern Asia (still at 12%) and Oceania (still at 20%, excluding Australia and New Zealand). Notable for SDG Indicator 1.3.1 is that only 14.4% of children are covered by social protection systems in Eastern and South-Eastern Asia. Worth mentioning here again that climate-related disasters are increasing, floods, storms, droughts, heatwaves or other extreme weather events, causing huge economic and human loss, especially in the poorest countries (SDG Indicator 1.5.1).

SDG2 ON HUNGER

This SDG could be considered a ‘priority’ for a number of reasons. Data for SDG Indicator 2.1.1 shows that 277 million under nourished people live in Southern Asia (roughly one third of the global total and 39% of all undernourished children). The regional proportion of undernourished children in Central and Southern Asia regional proportion went down from 49 to 32%, but up from 37 to 38% in Oceania, excl. Australia and New Zealand. In any case, both sub-regions are still far below the target for SDG Indicator 2.2.1. Furthermore, more than half of children with acute undernutrition (wasting) live in Southern Asia (SDG Indicator 2.2.2). Asia also still has a high number of small-scale food producers that are poor; have limited capacities and resources; face regular food insecurity; and have limited access to markets and services (SDG Indicator 2.3.2).

SDG3 ON HEALTH

Many problems remain, making it another ‘priority’ SDG. Southern Asia and Oceania*[1] still face very high levels of maternal mortality ratio (SDG Indicator 3.1.1). 30% total number of under-5 deaths were in Southern Asia (43.7 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2017, SDG Indicator 3.2.1) while Oceania* is also still far above the global average with 47.6 deaths per 1,000 live births. South-Eastern Asia and Oceania* have the highest rate of tuberculosis incidence (SDG Indicator 3.3.2). Additionally, Oceania* has the second highest rate of malaria incidence after Africa (SDG Indicator 3.3.3). Lastly, as with all tropical regions neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) are a diverse group of communicable diseases that affect some 880 million people in Asia and the Pacific.

SDG4 ON EDUCATION

Another priority SDG, particularly for the south, as parts of Central and Southern Asia lagging behind on this SDG. In Central and Southern Asia, 81% of children (241 million) were not proficient in reading, and 76% (228 million) lacked basic mathematical skills (SDG Indicator 4.1.1). In Eastern and South-Eastern Asia, the percentages also remain high at 31% and 28% respectively. According to SDG Indicator 4.2.2, Central Asia only has 55.6% of children participating in early childhood education. As with Africa and the Arab States, girls are more excluded from education that boys as for every 100 boys of primary school age out of school in 2017, 127 girls were denied the right to education in Central Asia. Nearly half the global population who are illiterate live in Southern Asia. Add to that another 10% for Eastern and South-Eastern Asia (SDG Indicator 4.6.1). Lastly, Central and Southern Asia are also lagging behind on SDG Indicator 4.a.1, proportion of schools with access to basic facilities.

SDG5 ON GENDER EQUALITY

This could be considered a priority for the southern and central regions of Asia. As previously indicated, there is no data in the report of its statistical annex by region on SDG Indicator 5.1.1 ‘Whether or not legal frameworks are in place to promote, enforce and monitor equality and non‑discrimination on the basis of sex’ though it could be interesting to include them at a later stage. The highest percentages for ever-partnered women and girls aged 15 to 49 years subjected to physical and/or sexual violence by a current or former intimate partner in the previous 12 months, are in Oceania* (34.7% in 2017) and in Central and Southern Asia (23%) according to SDG Indicator 5.2.1. Child marriage has gone down significantly in Central and Southern Asia but remains very high nonetheless (SDG Indicator 5.3.1. Along with the Arab States, the proportion of women in parliament and in managerial positions in Central and Southern Asia are some of the lowest across the globe. Central and Southern Asia also has the lowest proportion of women aged 15-49 years who make their own decisions regarding sexual relations, contraceptive use and health care after Africa (48.7% in 2014, SDG Indicator 5.6.1 – though data coverage was limited to only three countries).

SDG6 ON WATER

Major challenges remain. Even though progress is being made, Central and – particularly – Southern Asia are lagging heavily behind on SDG Indicator 6.1.1, with only 60.4% of the population having access to safely managed drinking water services in 2017. Eastern and South-Eastern Asia are making the fastest progress on SDG Indicator 6.2.1 but in spite of this, the majority of the 673 million people that still practise open defecation are in Southern Asia. As mentioned previously, most countries with high levels of water stress are located in Northern Africa and Western Asia and in Central and Southern Asia, with Eastern and South-Eastern Asia also experiencing high levels of water stress (SDG Indicator 6.4.2). River pollution, as mentioned earlier, is worsening, particularly in Africa, Asia and Latin America (SDG Indicator 6.3.2). Central and Southern Asia and Oceania* also have a low degree of integrated water resources management implementation (37 and 37 respectively out of 100 in 2018, SDG Indicator 6.5.1). There are also very low levels of transboundary cooperation (SDG Indicator 6.5.2) and low participation from local communities in water and sanitation management (SDG Indicator 6.b.1)

SDG7 ON ENERGY

This SDG has mixed results. Oceania* is the sub-region with the second lowest number of population with access to electricity (63% in 2017 – up from 29% in 2000 – SDG Indicator 7.1.1). Renewable energy as a share of total energy remains low across the region with Oceania*, Southern Asia and South-Eastern Asia doing better than the average. Energy efficiency is another mixed bag. Eastern and South-Eastern Asia was the only sub-region to be above the target with an improvement rate of primary energy intensity of 3.4% between 2010 and 2016 while Oceania* was the only sub-region to decline (SDG Indicator 7.3.1).

SDG8 ON ECONOMIC GROWTH

Central and Southern Asia and Eastern and South Eastern Asia have had strong annual growth rate of real GDP per capita (SDG Indicator 8.1.1) and per capita (SDG Indicator 8.2.1), while Oceania is lagging behind and even saw a 1% decrease per capita in 2017, excluding Australia and New Zealand. Central and Southern Asia also has a high proportion of informal employment in non‑agriculture employment (76% in 2016, SDG Indicator 8.3.1). Eastern Asia and Australia and New Zealand have the highest domestic material consumption per capita (22.79 and 35.69 tonnes in 2017, SDG Indicator 8.4.2). Lastly, in Central and Southern Asia, 46% of young women were not engaged in either education, employment or training (NEET) compared to 10% of young men (SDG Indicator 8.6.1).

SDG9 ON INDUSTRY, INNOVATION AND INFRASTRUCTURE

As with the previous SDG, Eastern Asia and South-Eastern Asia show good numbers with the highest increase in manufacturing value added share in GDP (26.5% in 2018, SDG Indicator 9.2.1) while Oceania was lagging behind with only 6.3%. Of concern is that Eastern Asia is responsible for nearly one third of total CO2 emissions from fuel combustion (10,881 millions of tonnes in 2016, SDG Indicator 9.4.1) – Europe and Northern America being responsible for another third of total. Expenditure on R&D is high in Eastern Asia and South-Eastern Asia and low in Central and Southern Asia (SDG Indicator 9.5.1). While all sub-regions apart from Eastern Asia were below the average, Southern Asia also has the second lowest number of researchers worldwide (222 per 1 million population) in 2016 according to SDG Indicator 9.5.2. The report states that medium-high and high-tech sectors account for 45% of the global manufacturing value added (2016), but the share is only 1.9% in Oceania and 7.7% in Central Asia (2016, SDG Indicator 9.b.1).

SDG10 ON INEQUALITIES

Not a lot of data is given per region in the report nor in the statistical annex, though it is stated that rich and poor countries alike can benefit from policies promoting equality and inclusivity. One point of note, however, is that Central and Southern Asia was one of the main drivers for a decline in the global labour share (SDG Indicator 10.4.1), as it decreased more than 5% between 2004 and 2017. Eastern, Western and Southern Asia all had the high resource flows (net disbursements) for development (SDG Indicator 10.b.1).

SDG11 ON SUSTAINABLE CITIES: This is another ‘priority’ SDG for the region. As indicated in the report, 370 million people in Eastern and South-Eastern Asia and 227 million people in Central and Southern Asia are living in slums (2018, SDG Indicator 11.1.1). In Oceania* only 21% of residents have convenient access to public transport, below the 53% global average and only slightly better than Africa (SDG Indicator 11.2.1). Despite no direct reference, SDG target 11.5 on disaster risk reduction with a special focus on the poor, interlinks with SDG targets 1.5 and 13.1. The latter two are referred to in the report and it is therefore worth mentioning this one as well – especially considering that South-Eastern Asia experiences frequent seismic activity, and particularly recollecting the massive damage caused by the tsunami in 2004 in South-Eastern Asia or the 2011 tsunami in Japan, among other disasters that have happened in the region. As for SDG Indicator 11.6.1, Oceania* only had 60.5% of its municipal solid waste collected in 2018. Central and Southern Asia was one of two regions with the largest increase in in particulate matter concentrations in the air. As mentioned before, more than 90% of air-pollution-related deaths occur in Asia and Africa.

SDG12 ON CONSUMPTION AND PRODUCTION

Domestic material consumption (DMC) is increasing worldwide. The increase is largest in Eastern and South-Eastern Asia, from 17,356 tonnes in 2000 to 42,480 tonnes in 2017. This accounts for the lion’s share of the increase at the global level (SDG Indicator 12.2.2). Per capita, the numbers are also higher than the global average of 11 tonnes (Australia and New Zealand 35.69, Oceania 28.01 and Eastern Asia 22.79). Domestic material consumption per GDP – or the amount of material needed to produce the same amount of economic output – is highest in the entire Asia and Pacific region (excluding Australia and New Zealand) and Africa. Fossil-fuel pre-tax subsidies are highest in Central Asia (4.42% in 2015, SDG Indicator 12.c.1).

SDG13 ON CLIMATE CHANGE

This is another priority SDG, in particular with regard to Oceania* where a lot of the world’s small island developing States (SIDS) are located. SIDS are impacted more rising ocean levels and other consequences of climate change – such as weather-related disasters. The report stress that access to finance and the strengthening of resilience and adaptive capacity have to be much faster, particularly among LDCs and small island developing States.

SDG14 ON OCEANS

This could be considered a ‘priority’ SDG due to the large number of SIDS in the region. As mentioned before, ocean pollution remains a global problem but the challenge is most acute in some equatorial zones, especially in parts of Asia, Africa and Central America (SDG Indicator 14.1.1). Data on SDG Indicator 14.4.1 shows that the Southeast Pacific region had the second lowest percentage of sustainable fish stocks in 2015 (38.5%). Coverage of protected areas in relation to marine areas is also still below the target of 10% in 2018 in the Asia and Pacific region (SDG Indicator 14.5.1).

SDG15 ON LIFE ON LAND

Although Oceania* and South-Eastern Asia have a high Forest area as a proportion of total land area, the net forest area decreased with 0.36% between 2011 and 2015 in South-Eastern Asia (SDG Indicator 15.2.1). The report mentions that land degradation is bad in most regions (27.9% for Central and Southern Asia. 24.4% in Eastern and South-Eastern Asia and 35.5% in Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea in 2018, SDG Indicator 15.3.1) and that it is impacting the lives of over one billion people. The total forest area decreased from 31.1 to 30.7% between 2000 and 2015 but this loss of forests in some tropical regions is partly balanced out by an increase in forested land in many parts of Asia, as well as in Europe and Northern America.

SDG16 ON PEACE, JUSTICE AND STRONG INSTITUTIONS

In Central and Southern Asia 62.5% of the overall prison population were unsentenced detainees in 2015-2017 (SDG Indicator 16.3.2). Bribery incidence is highest in Central and Southern Asia and in Eastern and South-Eastern Asia (SDG Indicator 16.5.2). Central and Southern Asia also lags behind at 68% of children under 5 that are registered. Also of note is that the proportion of countries with independent National Human Rights Institutions in compliance with the Paris Principles is very low (28.6% in Central and Southern Asia and 8.3% in Oceania* in 2018, SDG Indicator 16.a.1).

SDG17 ON PARTNERSHIPS

Personal remittances as proportion of GDP is high for Central and Southern Asia (3.07%) and Oceania* (2.29% in 2017, SDG Indicator 17.3.2) although However, money transfer costs were some of the highest across many small islands in the Pacific. Internet broad speed subscription remain low in the same sub-regions (SDG Indicator 17.6.2). Central Asia and Oceania had the lowest share of global services exports in 2017 (SDG Indicator 17.11.1). The report also indicated that South-Eastern Asia had an import tariff rate of 1.7%, which indicates the region’s growing openness to international trade.

[1] Oceania marked with * from now on refers to Oceania excluding Australia and New Zealand