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Vol. 34 No. 5
September-October 2012

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

Linking Science and Policy at Rio+20

In June 2012, ICSU organized a major five-day Forum on Science, Technology, and Innovation for Sustainable Development in the days just prior to the Rio+20 conference in Rio de Janeiro.

According to the organizers, the forum was a great success and had a big impact on the outcomes for science at Rio+20 and beyond. Over 1 000 people attended the event from 11–15 June, with another 1 000 watching the live webcast and many more interacting via social media. The forum was organized by ICSU, in partnership with UNESCO, the World Federation of Engineering Organizations, the International Social Science Council, the Brazilian Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation and the Brazilian Academy of Sciences.

Professor Lidia Brito, director, Division of Science Policy and Capacity Building, Natural Sciences Sector, UNESCO, France, speaking at the forum.

The forum brought together leading international scientists, policy-makers, industry professionals, NGOs, journalists, and youth from more than 75 countries to explore the key role of interdisciplinary science and innovation in the transition to sustainable development, a green economy, and poverty eradication.

It was a very exciting and inspiring week for all.  Alongside the main plenary sessions, the forum provided smaller spaces for learning, exchange, and networking via 25 side events which ran throughout the week.

“Ensuring a sustainable future in the face of inter-connected, human-induced challenges facing the Earth system urgently requires new knowledge and a new relationship between science and society,” said the final communiqué from the forum. Scientists and policymakers debated themes ranging from energy, food and water security to indigenous knowledge and the green economy. Two important conclusions stood out: the necessity for social and natural scientists to work closely together, and the need for integrated policy approaches.

Future Earth, a new 10-year interdisciplinary initiative on research for global sustainability that will bring together natural and social scientists, was launched at the Forum <www.icsu.org/future-earth>.

The final outcome document adopted at Rio+20 on “The Future We Want” <www.un.org/en/sustainablefuture> contained several important references to science:

  • need to strengthen the science-policy interface
  • decision to develop a set of Sustainable Development Goals
  • role and functions of a new High-Level Political Forum

Visit the ICSU forum page for access to all the sessions, summaries, blog and photos, and numerous links to blog and media highlights.

www.icsu.org/rio20/science-and-technology-forum


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