Side Event on Integrated Approaches to Science and Engineering for Sustainable Development
This UNESCO-UNU-ICSU-ISSC side event deals with the complex question of how science can assist us in our quest for sustainability. The need to address this question is reflected in the Outcome Document of the Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development, which calls for the strengthening of the science-policy interface.
The priorities of science for sustainable development are defined by governments and other stakeholders and addressed through scientific research, observations and assessments. But how can science best meet the needs of society? In which cases and to which extent multi- and inter-disciplinarity can be pursued, and through which approaches? How can natural and social sciences cross-fertilize each other? Can the lessons tested in certain universities and research centers around the world be replicated in others, when it comes to interdisciplinary research and education? Are there institutional or governance barriers which hamper the application of integrated approaches to science and engineering for sustainable development?
The side event will be open by the Director-General of UNESCO and the Representative of the UNU Rector. Participants will hear the presentation of the outcomes of the UNU/University of Tokyo/UNESCO Symposium on “Sustainability Science: Promoting Integration and Cooperation” (UNESCO, Paris, 19 September 2013). This symposium was called for by the Executive Board of UNESCO in order to clarify the notion of sustainability science and UNESCO’s possible role and value-added in this area. An overview of UNESCO's programmes and activities in this area will be presented, including a presentation of the Future Earth initiative. An ensuing discussion with Member States will follow.