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Vol. 28 No. 1
January-February 2006

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

Strengthening International Science—A Recurring Catchphrase from ICSU

"The world needs natural, social and economic scientists to work together . . ."

In an unprecendented statement to the U.N. General Assembly, the leadership of international scientific, engineering, and medical organizations urged the heads of state and government meeting in New York in September 2005 to strengthen worldwide capacities in science, technology, and innovation. Stronger capacities in science and technology are required to allow humanity to achieve the U.N. Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the statement concludes. In September 2000, 147 heads of state and government, and 189 nations in total, committed themselves by year 2015 to reduce significantly global poverty and the related problems of illiteracy, hunger, discrimination against women, unsafe drinking water, and degraded environments and ecosystems.

Among the signers of the statement was ICSU* President Jane Lubchenko, who, along with leaders of the other organizations, made a commitment to help strengthen global capacities for achieving the Millennium Development Goals. The group stated that “sustained progress in reducing poverty and related problems require strengthened institutions for science, technology, and innovation throughout the world, including in each developing nation.”

In a press release, Thomas Rosswall, Executive Director of ICSU stated that “ICSU is committed to help implement the challenges to the international scientific community in line with its pledges to the World Summit on Sustainable Development. Science is essential for sound decision making as well as for technological development and national innovation systems. The MDGs can be met if international science is strengthened for the benefit of society. Science and technology are necessary, but not sufficient, prerequisites for achieving the MDGs.”

More recently, at its General Assembly this past October in Suzhou, China, ICSU released a new strategy to strengthen international science for the benefit of society. Acknowledging that the world of scientific research has not lived up to its full potential in addressing some of society’s most pressing concerns, including the terrible impact of natural disasters, ICSU announced an ambitious plan of action to strengthen international science for the benefit of society. It will focus on interdisciplinary science in key areas of policy uncertainty, including sustainable development, and efforts to mitigate the impact of disasters such as the recent earthquake in Kashmir, Hurricane Katrina, and the tsunami in the Indian Ocean.

“The tsunami and Hurricanes Katrina and Rita have demonstrated the devastating consequences to people and property of the removal of natural storm surge barriers such as wetlands, mangroves, and coral reefs,” said ICSU President Jane Lubchenco in a press release. “When coastal development ignores scientific information about the critical protecting functions of these ecosystems, people are at greater risk. The world needs natural, social and economic scientists to work together, tailor their research and share their findings more effectively,” she continued.

www.icsu.org

* For an Overview of the International Council for Science, see Chem. Int. Nov-Dec 2004, p. 4


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