05.10.2016 - Natural Sciences Sector

UN Scientific Advisory Board shares new recommendations with UNESCO’s Executive Board

© UNESCO Members of the UN Secretary General's Scientific Advisory Board with Chairperson Michael Worbs.

An information session was held during the 200th session of the UNESCO Executive Board to allow members of the UN Secretary General’s Scientific Advisory Board (UN-SAB) to presented their summary report, as well as two new sets of recommendations on Indigenous and Local Knowledge and Science for sustainable development. The information session was convened by the Chairperson of the Executive Board, Mr Michael Worbs.

The UN-SAB has demonstrated clear value in informing the global agenda, from coping with and combating climate change, to promoting a data revolution which will be of help to all, and also in relation to emerging challenges such as ocean sustainability and its impact on the life support system, health, and food security” explained UNESCO’s Assistant Director General for the Natural Sciences, Ms Flavia Schlegel, as she introduced the panel.

Ms Susan Avery presented the main conclusions of the UN-SAB, as presented in a Summary Report entitled “The Future of Scientific Advice to the United Nationsthat was submitted to the Secretary General in September.

In a new policy brief that was presented for the first time today, the UN-SAB recognizes that “Inasmuch as biological diversity underpins the resilience of ecosystems, likewise, cultural diversity underpins social resilience for sustainable development”. Highlighting the potential of Indigenous and Local knowledge(s) in alliance with the science(s) in closing knowledge and technology gaps, poverty eradication and addressing inequalities, the brief provides concrete examples of the contributions of indigenous and local knowledge, while identifying challenges that must be overcome. Ms Joji Cariño presented these along with recommendations for building a partnership of Indigenous and Local Knowledge(s) and Science(s) to diversify, popularize and expand the STI Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Another new policy brief on Science and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development was presented by Mr Jorg Hacker. The brief underlines a set of principles that underpin the crucial role of science for sustainable development, beginning with the recognition of science as a universal public good that empowers people to lay the foundation for a sustainable world. It also lays out clear recommendations to maximize the contribution of science beyond being a ‘means of implementation’ with regard to achieving the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs.

The presentations were followed by a lively discussion with the members of the Executive Board.

The Scientific Advisory Board of the United Nations Secretary-General was established in 2014 to formulate recommendations in the sciences, technology and innovation (STI) that will enlighten the work and decisions of the United Nations. The Board numbers 26 scientists of world renown appointed to take stock of scientific needs to tackle global challenges. UNESCO serves as the secretariat of the Board which produces documents on subjects such as the data revolution, the role of the sciences in meeting sustainable development goals or the Delphi Study, which identifies major scientific concerns for the future of the planet.

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