Author(s): Sarah West and Rachel Pateman

Year: 2017

Type: Policy brief


Link to SEI authors:

How could citizen science support the Sustainable Development Goals?

citize scientists nonthaburiCitizen scientists in Nonthaburi, Thailand, explore the benefits of their homegardens. Photo: Vanessage Hongsathavij

Citizen science approaches have the potential to support the definition, monitoring and implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Tracking progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) requires high-quality, timely and accessible data, often in areas where very little data exists today.

At the same time, the SDGs demand public engagement, not only to keep up pressure on governments and businesses to take action, but also to generate the broad societal transformations required to bring the goals within reach. Citizen science could make important contributions to addressing both of these needs.

This brief introduces the concept of citizen science and discusses how it could support SDG implementation and monitoring, along with some of the challenges of this approach. It also includes some concrete examples of how citizen science could be applied to the SDGs. The brief draws upon a decade of experience at SEI of working with citizen science approaches


Download the brief (1.9 MB)