The Atmosphere – the “forgotten” domain in the Sustainable Development Goals?

Organizer: Melita Keywood
Format: Online, Evening

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) aim to end extreme poverty and create a healthy, sustainable world by the year 2030. The health of the atmosphere is critical to life on Earth and thus is an important sphere to be considered when addressing the SDGs. Key to the health of the atmosphere is its composition and chemistry, which over the past several hundred years has been significantly changed as a result of human activities. Reducing air pollution is clearly an important component of achieving several of the SDGs ( Goals 3, 7, 11, 12, 13 and 15). Furthermore, the atmosphere connects all domains of the Earth System together, and atmospheric chemistry influences ecosystem health, food and water security, climate change, air sea interactions, urban design and other aspects of sustainable development. It is important to consider the broader fundamental topic of atmospheric chemistry (the underlying science which includes and goes beyond air pollution). The 6th UN Environment Global Environment Outlook report states that “efforts to achieve each of the SDGs are linked directly or indirectly to mitigating air emissions and changes to atmospheric composition”. While the role of the atmosphere, and especially atmospheric chemistry, in the achievement of the SDGs is extensive and clear, the atmosphere is often a forgotten sphere in the discussions around the SDGs, and details of the many links between the atmosphere and the SDGs are not well defined. The aim of this session is to facilitate a conversation between the SDG implementation community and the atmospheric chemistry research community, considering the role of atmospheric chemistry and composition in achieving the SDGs (by 2030 and beyond). This conversation will encourage a shared understanding of expectations, knowledge gaps and actions needed to develop an effective, long-term dialogue between these two communities, to provide support for optimum SDG outcomes.

Themes: Knowledge-to-Action