On the eve of Rio+20, a scientific forum sounds the alarm on the state of the planet
an article by UNESCOPRESS
Biodiversity in decline, melting glaciers, acidification of the oceans, threatened water resources: most of the environmental indicators on our planet are flashing red. Using the latest data available, participants attending the Forum on Science, Technology and Innovation for Sustainable Development, to be held in Rio de Janeiro from 11 to 15 June, intend to draw attention to the urgency of the situation. The Forum, organized by the International Council for Science (ICSU) and UNESCO, takes place on the eve of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio + 20), and will identify a practical path to follow after the event.
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During the five-day Forum, participants will discuss climate change, demographic changes, indigenous knowledge, the transition to a green economy and water security. The aim is to establish a platform for scientists and information technology experts and improve cooperation between researchers, governments, policy-makers and civil society to produce the knowledge and technology needed to build sustainable, green societies.
The Forum on Science, Technology and Innovation for Sustainable Development will also provide an opportunity to launch the Future Earth initiative on 14 June. Over the course of ten years, this joint initiative--which unites agencies including the ICSU, UNESCO, the United Nations Environment Programme and the United Nations University--will mobilize thousands of scientists to develop knowledge that addresses the environmental change. The Future Earth initiative also aims to strengthen partnerships with policy-makers to consider post-Rio solutions.
Gretchen Kalonji, UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Science, and Lidia Brito, Director of the Division of Science Policy and Sustainable Development, are members of the organizing committee of this Forum, which will provide a substantial contribution from the scientific community to Rio+20..
Deeply involved in the preparations for the Rio+20, UNESCO has established a road map for the Conference. A brochure entitled ‘From Green Economies to Green Societies’ reports and reiterates on UNESCO’s commitment to sustainable development. Other resources include the Blueprint for Ocean and Coastal Sustainability, an inter-agency document which puts forward 10 proposals to protect marine habitats, a key resource for the future of the planet.
UNESCO, which has a specific mandate in the sciences, has long promoted science for sustainable development through programs and platforms such as the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, the International Hydrological Programme, the International Geoscience Programme and the Man and the Biosphere Programme.
For more information on the Forum, go to the official website
(Click here for a French version of this article)
Question(s) related to this article:
Despite the vested interests of companies and governments, Can we make progress toward sustainable development?
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LATEST READER COMMENT:
It's been a year since I wrote the above remarks about the failure of the nation states to address the problem of global warming, and it seems that nothing has changed. Here is the statement from leading environmental NGOs about the latest international conference on the environment being held in Warsaw, Poland.
Enough is enough.
We have said we stand in solidarity with the millions impacted by Typhoon Haiyan, and with all climate impacted people. Our solidarity compels us to tell the truth about COP 19 – the Warsaw Climate Conference.
The Warsaw Climate Conference, which should have been an important step in the just transition to a sustainable future, is on track to deliver virtually nothing. In fact, the actions of many rich countries here in Warsaw are directly undermining the UNFCCC itself, which is an important multilateral process that must succeed if we are to fix the global climate crisis.
The Warsaw Conference has put the interests of dirty energy industries over that of global citizens - with a “Coal & Climate Summit” being held in conjunction; corporate sponsorship from big polluters plastered all over the venue; and a Presidency (Poland) that is beholden to the coal and fracking industry. When Japan announced that it was following Canada and backtracking on emission cut commitments previously made, and Australia gave multiple signals that it was utterly unwilling to take the UN climate process seriously, the integrity of the talks was further jeopardized.
This week saw a “finance ministerial” with almost no actual finance, and loss and damage talks that have stalled because rich countries refuse to engage on the substance of an international mechanism. Warsaw has not seen any increase in emission reductions nor increased support for adaptation before 2020 – on these things it has actually taken us backward. And a clear pathway to a comprehensive and fair agreement in Paris 2015 is missing.
We as civil society are ready to engage with ministers and delegations who actually come to negotiate in good faith. . ...more.