SDSN United States

Hosted by:
  • Hosted by Sustainable Development Solutions Network, Columbia University, Yale University, and the University of California
    New York, New Haven, and San Diego, United States

SDSN USA is a dynamic network of more than 135 universities, colleges, and non profit organizations across 44 states, Washington DC, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. Network members collaborate and share knowledge towards achieving a vision of a more equitable future through sustainable development. Since its launch in December 2018, the network has introduced a flagship project on deep decarbonization in the United States, produced research focused on measuring the SDGs in the United States, formed working groups around areas of common interest, and held a number of webinars and events to build network capacity and connectivity.

Working Groups & Initiatives

In January 2019, SDSN USA launched a US Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project. Since then,the network has produced a national level white paper modeling the energy and infrastructure transition to achieving net zero emissions by 2050. Furthermore, the network has issued two regional decarbonization studies to clarify technology choices and investment options, and to identify clean energy opportunities in the US Southeast and Midwest regions. Additionally, the network published a white paper on Spatial Planning for a Low-Carbon Future highlighting integrated planning tools used in California and the Southwest to improve renewable energy siting. In January 2020, a second phase of the project was launched with the formation of 11 working groups to jointly produce a supporting policy paper to be published in late 2020, coinciding with the presidential election, entitled Deep Decarbonization Action Plan for the United States. Additional working groups are in various stages of formation, on topics including: Zero Hunger; Indigenous Science; Curriculum; and University SDG Monitoring & Reporting. Co-chairs of each working group determine the scope and priorities of engagement, and all SDSN USA members are invited to participate.

SDG Research

SDSN USA produces indices assessing US progress on the SDGs at the state, city, and national levels. The team is currently working on a project utilizing disaggregated data to assess disproportionate progress towards the SDGs in the United States across by race/ethnicity. All of these projects illustrate the need to take action towards this agenda in the United States, as well as significant data gaps, particularly on the disaggregated data needed to better understand US progress and needs on the Leave No One Behind Agenda.

Building Network Capacity & Connectivity

The SDSN USA has held a range of events on topics related to the SDGs. This includes webinars and presentations on the SDG Indices and deep decarbonization pathways project, regional and national networking gatherings, and a panel discussion of university leaders during SDSN’s 24h Webinar.

Looking ahead

Throughout 2020 and into 2021, SDSN USA will continue to build out the working groups program and support the development of new solutions initiatives. The network will also host a number of virtual events, including collaborations with other SDSN networks on the topic of University SDG Reporting, networking events, and topic specific webinars. The DDAP working group plans to release a report in Fall 2020, and the Zero Hunger Working Group plans to launch an initiative on Zero Hunger in the United States later in the year. In addition, an updated report on the SDGs in the United States, incorporating disaggregated data and examining disproportionate impacts across Black, Hispanic, and Indigenous populations is in progress.

The SDSN USA team is based out of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network New York Office. Co-chairs include: Helen Bond, Howard University; Dan Esty, Yale University; Gordon McCord, UC San Diego; and Jeffrey Sachs, Columbia University located in Washington, DC; New Haven, Connecticut; and San Diego, California; and New York, New York, respectively.