Adopted by 193 countries in 2015, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a momentous global call to action addressing issues such as poverty, climate change and gender inequality.
The SDGs will not be accomplished by proceeding with business as usual. Their attainment requires behavioural change on the part of individuals, communities, organizations, and societies. Through people-centered theories and methods, the social and behavioural sciences enable interventions that produce such change. Instead of placing unrealistic demands on people, behaviourally informed interventions leverage what is known about human nature to design human-centered policies and programs that nudge decisions and behaviours in SDG-friendly directions.
The power of Behavioural Insights (BI) has been demonstrated across a wide variety of domains including but not limited to health, finance, energy, the environment, education, labor, and organizational behaviour. Accordingly, BI is relevant to a wide range of SDGs and has been incorporated into governments as well as private- and public-sector organizations, with the OECD documenting more than 195 institutions around the world applying behavioural insights to public policy.
The event is organized by UNITAR, with participation from UNICEF, UN Women, and UNDP. It will include a panel discussion where early adopters of Behavioural Insights at the UN will discuss their thoughts, experiences, and initiatives integrating Behavioural Insights at the United Nations. This will be preceded by a keynote address from Professor Dan Ariely, renowned speaker, James B. Duke Professor of Psychology & Behavioural Economics at Duke University, and a founding member of the Center for Advanced Hindsight. Prof. Ariely has authored a number of best-selling books, including Predictably Irrational, and he has a regularly occurring column in The Wall Street Journal, “Ask Ariely.”
1. Provide an overview of Behavioural Insights, demonstrating how the behavioural sciences can be applied to effect the behavioural change needed to accomplish Agenda 2030.
2. Share findings from experiments and studies that make the case for developing Behavioural Insights capacity at the United Nations.
3. Describe how different UN entities are beginning to think about and incorporate Behavioural Insights in their work.