UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network


The UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) works under the auspices of the UN Secretary-General to mobilize the world’s universities, think tanks, and national laboratories for action on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change; empower societies through free online education; and translate scientific evidence and ideas into solutions and accountability. SDSN promotes integrated approaches to implement the SDGs and the Paris Agreement, through education, research, policy analysis, and global cooperation.

The SDSN operates at the intersection between science, policy, and development practice to maximize SDG achievements at the global, regional, national, and local levels. In collaboration with UN agencies, multilateral financing institutions, the private sector, governments, academia, and civil society, the SDSN supports science-based pathways for SDG implementation, promotes independent monitoring and accountability for sustainable development, develops science-based feedback loops to identify persisting gaps and priorities for sustainable development and adapt long-term SDG policies and pathways, and fosters peer-to-peer learning and exchange to promote the identification of best practices and local solutions, as well as global and regional cooperation to achieve the SDGs.

The SDSN co-leads the Food, Agriculture, Biodiversity, Land-Use, and Energy (FABLE) Consortium. FABLE is a collaborative initiative that groups 23 country teams and focuses on developing integrated national-scale food and land-use strategies that are consistent with the SDGs and the Paris Agreement. Through a bottom-up approach, FABLE aims to reconcile national priorities and global sustainability goals. FABLE is the only initiative working to translate multiple policies and commitments on food and land use into quantitative targets and actionable strategies to support governments’ ambitious objectives. 

FABLE provides local researchers with open-access modeling tools, training, and a collaborative platform for knowledge exchange in data management, model development, and stakeholder engagement. FABLE supports local researchers with strategies to increase the usefulness of their pathways in policymaking and target-setting in climate and biodiversity global negotiations. The coordination of FABLE is overseen by a Secretariat jointly managed by the SDSN, the Alliance of Bioversity and CIAT, and the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA).

Role in CHOICE

As a CHOICE partner, SDSN will shape climate-conscious change within the food chain, contributing to creating a more sustainable and resilient food and land use system.

In this project, the SDSN leads the assessment of climate pathways and tradeoffs. The SDSN will look at interactions between climate-related actions in the food system and outcomes for biodiversity preservation, food security, dietary health, and other relevant Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) across different consumer groups. The results will be shared with local stakeholders through in-country workshops, using open-access modelling tools to gather insights and validation. The aim is to identify actions within the food system that can effectively address multiple sustainability goals and strengthen the coherence of climate policies with other sustainability objectives.

The SDSN will develop a framework to facilitate the design of spatially explicit scenarios. This development will enable the spatial representation of synergies of food system interventions on biodiversity, water, and climate change. The results will lay the groundwork for alternative spatial allocation of agricultural activities that fulfil similar GHG emission reduction and agricultural production levels, but with lower trade-offs and higher co-benefits on biodiversity. With this development, we aim to synchronize climate mitigation strategies with National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans (NBSAPs), supporting countries’ concurrent achievement of climate and biodiversity goals.

A core focus for the SDSN is increasing citizen engagement in climate modeling processes, by improving the interface in integrated assessment models. Citizen engagement should be placed at the forefront of decision-making. To support this, SDSN will develop an interactive visualization dashboard and interface based on the FABLE Calculator, that will make modeling tools and exercises of food and land use more accessible for policymakers and different stakeholders. With these tools, we aim to bridge the gap between complex modeling and practical decision-making for sustainable food and land-use systems.

Importantly, the SDSN plays a crucial role in upscaling through the FABLE Consortium—a global network that includes over 100 scientists across more than 20 countries developing integrated long-term pathways for food and land-use systems. The CHOICE project will leverage the experience gained from the FABLE Consortium in engaging local stakeholders in modeling processes and generating pathways that support decision-making within governments. Through this project, SDSN will continue to build capacity, empowering both modeling experts and key actors in the food supply chain, as well as policymakers, to make informed decisions and take bold actions in transforming their food and land-use systems.

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