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Vol. 33 No. 6
November-December 2011

IUPAC Wire | News and information on IUPAC, its fellows, and members organizations
See also www.iupac.org/indexes/News

ICSU and Rio+20

Rio+20, the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development that is to take place in Brazil on 4–6 June 2012 !! for update -including dates, see www.uncsd2012.org/rio20 !! , will mark the 20th anniversary of the 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development, held in Rio de Janeiro, and the 10th anniversary of the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development held in Johannesburg. For the occasion, ICSU, the International Council for Science, is co-organizing partner for the Scientific and Technological Community Major Group, together with the World Federation of Engineering Organizations.

Rio+20

This is one of nine Major Groups (non-governmental stakeholder groups) which will participate alongside governments in the Rio+20 conference, and in all stages of the preparatory process for the conference. These Major Groups are identified in Agenda 21 (Rio 1992), and consist of the following: women, youth and children, indigenous peoples, non-governmental organizations, local authorities, workers and trade unions, business and industry, farmers, and the scientific and technological community.

ICSU therefore has a key role to play in Rio+20, as it is jointly responsible for representing the knowledge, needs, and concerns of the scientific and technological community. This includes the full range of scientific disciplines, including the natural, social, health, and engineering sciences, and the humanities. ICSU has a number of key objectives for Rio+20, and key issues which it wishes to address:

  • highlight the urgent need for greater action on sustainable development
  • ensure that policy recommendations resulting from Rio+20 integrate the best available knowledge from across the natural, social, and engineering sciences
  • emphasize that strengthening science and technology will be essential for accelerating the implementation of sustainable development
  • ensure that the needs of the international and national research community are recognized, and that support is given to research, training and monitoring programs that address sustainable development

Key issues:

  • Natural science, social science and technology together have crucial roles in finding solutions to the challenges of sustainable development.
  • A much greater proportion of research must be solution-oriented and interdisciplinary, addressing the integrated social, economic, and environmental pillars of sustainable development.
  • Research agendas must be defined through broad-based, participatory approaches involving those in need of scientific information. The scientific and technological community must improve cooperation with other parts of civil society, the private sector, governments, and intergovernmental bodies.
  • Improving science education and capacity-building, for women and men, is essential, as is bridging the North-South divide in scientific and technological capacity.
  • Improving public access to scientific data and information, and data sharing between scientists, is crucial for sustainable development.

In preparation to this major event, ICSU aims to work with its members to ensure that coordinated messages from the science community are brought to Rio+20 through numerous avenues. Some of ICSU’s members, including IUPAC, have submitted statements for Rio+20, which ICSU will draw on for its oral and written submissions to the Rio+20 process.

www.icsu.org/rio20/icsu-members


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