Citizen Science: Data from citizens help to achieve the sustainability goals of the United Nations
With the global sustainability goals of the United Nations (SDGs), the states of this world have committed themselves to securing the future of mankind in a sustainable manner. In order to measure progress towards these goals, global data must be collected. This can only succeed if politics, science and society work closely together. In a recent article in Nature Sustainability, an international research team with the participation of the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin describes how Citizen Science can support and improve this process.
Because there are a number of data holes. For example, when it comes to measuring water pollution or air quality worldwide. The potential of Citizen Science is enormous, as citizens can collect data directly on site. The Museum für Naturkunde Berlin works internationally with civil scientists to make Citizen Science strong for sustainable future development.
„Since we participated with an international Citizen Science delegation in 2017 at the UN Environmental Assembly in Nairobi and in 2018 at the UN World Data Forum in Dubai, there has been an increasing political interest in citizen science,“ emphasizes co-author Maike Weißpflug, adding: „The hope is that Citizen Science will contribute to achieving the global sustainability goals. There are already Citizen Science projects all over the world that investigate, for example, the state of bodies of water or the air. With this article, we want to show how the UN can actually use this data.“
A roadmap is presented in this paper that outlines how citizen science can be integrated into the formal SDG reporting mechanisms. To succeed will require leadership from the United Nations, innovation from National Statistical Offices and focus from the citizen science community to identify those indicators to which citizen science can make a real contribution.
Citizen Science Conference 2020
With the platform “Bürger schaffen Wissen” (“Citizens create knowledge”), the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin promotes the networking and visibility of Citizen Science in Germany. In addition, the Museum has supported citizen scientists from all over Europe in establishing an international network: the European Citizen Science Association (ECSA). As part of the German EU Council Presidency in 2020, the museum will be holding a major international conference on precisely this topic – Citizen Science and the Sustainable Development Goals – in October. The conference is funded by the European Commission and the BMBF and will be accompanied by a Citizen Science Festival for all citizens.
Dr. Maike Weißpflug
Tel: +49 30 889140 - 8360
Fax: +49 30 889140 - 8814
Museum für Naturkunde
Leibniz-Institut für Evolutions- und Biodiversitätsforschung
Citizen Science and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals