Broadening the Application of the Sustainability Science Approach: A Focus on Regional Experiences

When, local time: 
Monday, 19 December 2016 - 9:00am to Wednesday, 21 December 2016 - 6:00pm
Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur
Type of Event: 
Category 8-Symposium
Salvatore Aricò (, Christine A. Iskandar (

Thematic symposium on Sustainability Science will take place in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, from 19 to 21 December 2016 and will present and discuss how to apply a sustainability science approach in UNESCO’s five regions. The symposium will allow to identify particular regional characteristics, priorities, needs and gaps, and to take these into account for the planned policy guidelines on the application of sustainability science. It will also provide an opportunity to feature topical issues related to sustainability science which may be specific to each region.
In October 2015, UNESCO’s Natural and Social and Human Sciences Sectors, together with the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (Japan/MEXT), initiated a project on “Broadening the Application of the Sustainability Science Approach” in support of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The overall objective of the project is to foster dialogue and disseminate concrete policy messages that will help UNESCO Member States introduce a sustainability science approach in response to global challenges. A set of guidelines on sustainability science will be developed - from definition to application, for consideration by UNESCO Member States in the last quarter of 2017.

With a strong multidisciplinary and multi-stakeholder composition, a scientific steering committee has been established in the framework of this project; a drafting sub-committee of the project’s steering committee has also been formed to outline the policy guidelines on sustainability science, which will represent the main output of the project.

Three symposia will highlight the inputs and expertise of several stakeholders including scientists, policymakers, other expert practitioners, and UNESCO Member States, as well as research and education institutions and organizations with relevant experience at multiple levels in sustainability-related issues.

The inception symposium, held on 5 and 6 April 2016 at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, provided an opportunity for a first face-to-face meeting between steering committee project members and other experts in sustainability science, and representatives of UNESCO Member States. Significant key lessons learned and recommendations emerged from the symposium through the presentation of scientific perspectives and case studies on sustainability science.