13.06.2012 - Natural Sciences Sector

Technological solutions and social transformation go hand in hand

© ICSU Lidia Brito presents the State of the Planet Declaration during the Forum

A major five-day Forum on Science, Technology and Innovation for Sustainable Development opened on 11 June, just prior to the Rio+20 conference in Rio de Janeiro. The Forum brings together leading international scientists and policy-makers and aims to help establish the research, technology and policy agendas that will be needed after Rio+20.

The stage was set on Monday morning with presentations of the outcomes of ICSU-UNESCO Regional Science and Technology Workshops and the conclusions of the Planet under Pressure Conference held in London in March 2012.

Lidia Brito (Director, Division of Science Policy, UNESCO) presented the State of the Planet declaration which calls for ‘New knowledge towards solutions’, saying that the importance of acting now and urgently is its key message. Noting that we are now in a new geological epoch, the Anthropocene, as humans are the major changing force of the Earth system, she explained that the answers provided by technological solutions can only go so far it they do not come with social transformation as well.  

The challenge of our age is to safeguard the earth's life support systems to ensure the well being of civilizations’, she said, calling for for a new approach to research that is more integrative, inter-disciplinary, solutions-oriented, linked to high-efficiency, and policy-relevant.

The Forum is linking science and policy to meet this challenge. Rio+20 should be a fundamental milestone in the development of a new contract between science and society.

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