22.06.2012 - UNESCOPRESS

Ban Ki-moon calls on UNESCO to lead implementation of recommendations on science for sustainable development

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UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has requested UNESCO to take the lead in creating a Scientific Advisory Board and also to provide the secretariat for it. The initiative is one of the outcomes of the Secretary General’s High-level Panel on Global Sustainability (GSP) and its report Resilient People, Resilient Planet: A Future Worth Choosing.

“UNESCO commits itself to be fully engaged in taking forward the recommendations of the GSP in close collaboration with other partners,” said its Director-General, Irina Bokova.  “We will do our utmost to be of service to our Member States and to society at large.” 

Members of the GSP presented the report on 21st June, during the Rio +20 conference in Brazil. It presents a vision for a sustainable future by eradicating poverty, reducing inequality and making production and consumption more sustainable, while at the same time respecting environmental boundaries. 

In addition, the report contains recommendations to put sustainable development into practice. “It is a must read,” stated the Secretary-General.  “And its message is clear: we need a much more holistic approach to addressing multifaceted challenges such as climate change, food and energy security, unemployment and the global financial crisis.”  He then tasked Irina Bokova to lead on the follow up to the science-related recommendations of the report. 

The Director-General started by assembling an ad hoc group of UN agencies with substantive science portfolios and leaders of major international scientific bodies to provide advice.  As a result, the Secretary-General has now decided to set up a Scientific Advisory Board, bringing together eminent specialists from natural sciences, social and human sciences, and engineering, representing diverse backgrounds and regions. Through this Board, the Secretary-General and UN agencies will obtain comprehensive advice on all dimensions of science, technology and innovation for sustainable development.  The Board will also promote cooperation among various UN agencies and with the international scientific community. 

“It is important that advice to the Secretary-General span a broad spectrum, from the basic sciences, through engineering and technology, incorporating also health sciences, agricultural sciences, human and social sciences, in addition to environmental sciences,” said Irina Bokova. “I will ensure that The Scientific Advisory Board draws on the wealth of expertise of the UN system and from major international scientific organizations.”

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