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Brain power comprises the competences, abilities, traits and motivational skills that enable people to make sound decisions and adapt their behavior. Brain power is a key prerequisite for a successful transition towards sustainability. Individual brain power develops out of a continuous, lifelong interaction between genetic dispositions, maturation processes, environmental conditions and social experience. The most obvious way to strengthen brain power is to provide positive supportive environmental conditions in early childhood, both formal and informal high-quality education as well as lifelong learning. Furthering general cognitive and motivational competences proves to be more effective than specialized programs.
Brain power helps to enhance the capabilities of people and societies to move towards the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs. It has the potential to become one of the most important drivers for inclusive and people-centered sustainable development: (1) It empowers people to better help themselves and has direct effects on health, poverty reduction and economic prosperity. (2) It enables people and communities to better adapt to unavoidable changes and increases resilience to climate change and natural disasters. (3) It can help to advance relevant technological, medical and socio-economic innovation in cutting edge scientific research. (4) It enhances the possibility for global collective action and improves institutional settings to address the challenges towards a successful sustainability transition. Science and the interdisciplinary collaboration between neuroscientists, psychologists and social scientists is of critical importance for sustainable development.