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Global Challenges Initiative

The Cambridge Strategic Research Initiative for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

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Articles and Reports

New knowledge on children and young people: a synthesis of evidence - summary paper (Marcus, R.; Page, E.; Stephenson, J.; Walker, D.; Eldis, 2017)

Improving children and young people’s (CYP) wellbeing, and recognising the role they can play in creating a more sustainable world will be critical to meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This timely report provides insights into how ESRC-DFID funded research has provided new knowledge that can inform and strengthen policy making in relation to CYP issues and help meet global development ambitions.

Climate change, migration and displacement: the need for a risk-informed and coherent approach (Stapleton, S.O; Nadin, R.; Watson, C; Kellett, J; 2017; Shaping Policy for Development)

This report presents an overview of the current evidence base on the complex relationships between climate change and human mobility. It aims to support the development of an informed global discourse across the humanitarian, peace and sustainable development agendas and as a counter to some of the sensationalist claims often propagated by the media. In so doing, the paper illustrates that to adequately address human mobility in international and national policy responses, the links between climate change, displacement and migration need to be better understood

Realizing Agenda 2030: Will donor dollars and country priorities align with global goals? (AidData, 2017)

This report seeks to uncover the extent to which global goals crowd in international financing, inform domestic policy priorities, and navigate progress toward development outcomes in low- and middle-income countries (LICs and MICs). Our report: a) Provides a historical perspective on how ODA financing was aligned with the MDGs, and the perceived influence of global goals in shaping domestic priorities b) Offers a baseline of ODA financing to the SDGs and a forward-looking perspective in translating past lessons learned from the MDGs era into actionable insights

2017 Global Nutrition Report (Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, et al.; 2017)

A better nourished world is a better world. Yet the 2017 Global Nutrition Report shows that, despite the significant steps the world has taken towards improving nutrition and associated health burdens over recent decades, nutrition is still a large-scale and universal problem. Too many people are being left behind from the benefits of improved nutrition. Yet when we look at the wider context, the opportunity for change has never been greater. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), adopted by 193 countries in 2015, offer a tremendous window of opportunity to reverse or stop these trends.

GW4 Alliance’s Bridging the Gap (AHRC GW4 Alliance’s Bridging the Gap project, 2017)

The GW4 Alliance’s Bridging the Gap project, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), aimed to foster closer working relationships between the arts and humanities researchers and external partners in South West England and South East Wales.

Rethinking Research Partnerships discussion guide and toolkit (Christian Aid and Open University, 2017)

Academics are under pressure to show “impact” in their research, while NGOs are under pressure to rigorously evidence their work. These two pressures have led to partnerships between the two groups becoming increasingly popular in the last few years. Exploring these partnerships, a group of INGO and university staff have produced Rethinking Research Partnerships discussion guide and toolkit.

SDSN Counting on the World: Building Modern Data Systems for Sustainable Development

The Sustainable Development Solutions Network has published a report from its Thematic Research Network on Data and Statistics (TReNDS), titled "Counting on the World".

Intersecting Inequalities and the Sustainable Development Goals: insights from Brazil

LSE International Inequalities Institute has published a working paper covering the impact of decreasing income inequalities on progress towards the other SDGs. The case study used is that of Brazil, where income inequalities decreased from 2002-2013.

Royal Society: Collection of most-read articles on climate science

The Royal Society has collated a collection of some of their most-read articles on climate science, all of which are free to access. These articles, published in their journals over recent years, provide a snapshot of the science involved in studying the Earth's climate.

Second edition of "State of the World's Emergencies" published: A briefing for new UK parliamentarians

This September 2017 briefing is designed to give new and returning members of parliament a rapid overview of some of the world’s most complex and protracted emergencies. It highlights actions which parliamentarians can take to ensure the UK most effectively delivers on its moral and political responsibilities as a key actor on the global stage. It begins with summaries of key issues across humanitarian crisis and conflict settings, followed by short summaries of ten of the world’s most complex emergencies.

Smalholder farming systems in coastal Kenya: Key trends and innovations for resilience

Smallholder farmers in coastal Kenya are already significantly affected by climate change, particularly in semi-arid and dryland areas. They have developed a number of innovations to enhance resilience and productivity, eg. crop diversification using resilient local varieties, new planting techniques and wild tree domestication. An International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) team has published a report on this biocultural system.

The WHO public health approach to HIV treatment and care: looking back and looking ahead

In 2006, WHO set forth its vision for a public health approach to delivering antiretroviral therapy. This approach has been broadly adopted in resource-poor settings and has provided the foundation for scaling up treatment to over 19.5 million people. Challenges remain, however, in the attempt to control the HIV epidemic and provide universal health coverage.

Analysis of global yellow fever vaccination coverage from 1970 to 2016

The aims of this study were to estimate global yellow fever vaccination coverage from 1970 through to 2016 at high spatial resolution and to calculate the number of individuals still requiring vaccination to reach population coverage thresholds for outbreak prevention.

Migrating to Opportunity: Overcoming Barriers to Labour Mobility in Southeast Asia

Intra-regional migration in the ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations) region has increased significantly, turning Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand into regional migration hubs with 6.5 million migrants. But migration policies in the region have a way to go to better match countries’ evolving economic needs, and allow workers to more easily pursue better careers and education across ASEAN.

Getting started with the SDGs in universities: A guide for universities, higher education institutions, and the academic sector (UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network and Australian Campuses Towards Sustainability, 2017)

A new guide from the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) Australia/Pacific highlights the important role universities in Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific have in implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and provides practical guidance on how they can accelerate their contributions.

Has Universal Development Come of Age? (Institute of Development Studies, 2017)

Increasing attention is being paid to universal development based on the assumption that today’s development challenges are as relevant for the Global North as for the South. Now a timely new IDS Bulletin entitled ‘Has Universal Development Come of Age?’ explores how South and North approaches to development can be interlinked and argues that in order to achieve development for all more needs to be known about the nature of learning from South to North. People and institutions need to share lessons and ideas wherever their origin to address common problems.

Networks in Action - solutions and initiatives for the SDGs (UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, 2017)

The report by the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) showcases the array of innovative solutions and initiatives being undertaken by the SDSN national and regional networks, including an introductory essay on the role of universities in achieving the SDGs.

Famine: Lessons Learned (Devereux, S., Sida, L. and Nelis, T.; 2017; Institute for Development Studies)

Famine: Lessons Learned was produced as the world was responding to four potential famines simultaneously – in Nigeria, South Sudan, Yemen and Somalia.

Antibacterial agents in clinical development - An analysis of the antibacterial clinical development pipeline, including tuberculosis (World Health Organization, 2017)

This report shows a serious lack of new antibiotics under development to combat the growing threat of antimicrobial resistance.

Financing health systems to achieve the health Sustainable Development Goals (Fryatt and Bhuwanee, 2017, Lancet)

Financing health systems to achieve the health Sustainable Development Goals, Lancet. In September, 2015, 193 countries agreed to the ambitious Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). SDG 3, for “healthy lives and wellbeing”, includes targets for universal health coverage (UHC). Some international commentators have raised questions about whether many of the SDGs are feasible and affordable. Targets related to health have good metrics to assess progress, and there is a good track record of achieving many of the previous ambitious goals. So, health is a good place to start assessments of feasibility and affordability.

The Africa Data Revolution Report 2016 - Highlighting developments in African data ecosystems (UNECA, UNDP, OpenData for development network and World Wide Web Foundation, 2016)

This first edition of the biennial Africa Data Revolution Report aims to address issues on the process of transforming data ecosystems, from the status quo to an aspirational state where data from both conventional and new sources are being harnessed to better inform decision-making and enable sustainable development with contributions from diverse data communities.

The Global Challenges Initiative is a Strategic Research Initiative of the University of Cambridge that aims to enhance the contribution of its research towards addressing global challenges and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.

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