MARI Activity Reports


In 2015, the United Nations agreed on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which aims towards seventeen Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In most countries and internationally, stakeholders are strongly engaged in implementing the 2030 Agenda. Making progress to the SDGs poses wicked problems to society. Wicked problems are social or cultural problems that are difficult or impossible to solve because of incomplete or contradictory knowledge, the number of people and opinions involved, the large economic burden associated with progress towards a solution, and the interconnected nature of these problems with other problems. All of this applies to making progress towards the SDGs: Knowledge on how to make progress towards the SDGs is incomplete and contradicting, reaching the SDGs even on a local level involves the whole of society, making progress requires a rethinking of economy (UNRISD, 2016), and the goals are strongly interconnected and there are many interactions between the individual goals that are variable across different economic, social, and cultural settings.

The governments cannot implement the SDGs without the people, and they cannot implement them for the people; they have to implement them with the people. This necessitates to bring the SDGs to the people in a way that demonstrates the benefits of the 2030 Agenda to the people.

Making progress towards the SDGs requires a transdiciplinary effort across all societal and disciplinary boundaries at all levels from local to global. MARI is engaged in activities that supports and facilitates such transdisciplinary efforts. Importantly, the A core principle for bringing the SDGs to the people and engaging them is to create and change consciousness through integrated information. An example is MARI's engagement in the efforts made by the government in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG), which is establishing a “geo-space for SDGs” to create ownership for the SDGs in local communities. Earth observations, knowledge derived from Earth observations, and other data are fundamental in this effort. Most of the knowledge relevant to SDG implementation in the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) like SVG relates in one way or another to the surrounding ocean. MARI led the organization of a workshop on “Implementing and Monitoring the SDGs in the Caribbean:The Role of the Ocean” and is taking the lead in follow-up activities to fully develop and implement the geo-space for SDGs in SIDS. Read the InsideODU article on the workshop ...

MARI aims to increase the number of ODU faculty supporting the implementation of the 2030 Agenda with collaborative research and there are opportunities for students to engage in activities. Interested faculty and students should contact hpplag at