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Scientific and Technical Meeting on Strengthening the Scientific Base of UNEP: A Brief Summary Report Thomas Rosswall International Council for Science (ICSU). The Context. Important UNEP initiative Science is essential to identify environmental problems and develop solutions

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Scientific and Technical Meeting on Strengthening the Scientific Base of UNEP:

A Brief Summary Report

Thomas Rosswall

International Council for Science (ICSU)


The Context Scientific Base of UNEP:

  • Important UNEP initiative

  • Science is essential to identify environmental problems and develop solutions

  • Policy development should be based on best available knowledge

  • Scientific research – monitoring – assessment - policy


Central Issues Scientific Base of UNEP:

  • Input necessary from natural, social, engineering and health sciences

  • Partnerships are essential: - With the international science community (e.g ICSU and TWAS) - With other components of the UN system (e.g., UNESCO) - With ongoing and planned assessments - With Multilateral Environmental Agreements


The Survey Scientific Base of UNEP:

  • Provides an excellent point of departure

  • Results are important both for the scientific and policy communities

  • Question 3 identifies needs and gaps to be linked with the 5 clusters of Box 1

  • Rich discussion in the Scientific and Technical Meeting

  • Broad participation in the consultation


Recommendations Scientific Base of UNEP:

  • Rich input to UNEP Secretariat but this report focuses on two issues

  • Interlinkages of drivers of change and sectors

  • Strengthening the scientific credibility of the GEO process


Interlinkages Scientific Base of UNEP:

  • A targeted report linked to the GEO process

  • Mainstreaming environment into the development agenda – MDG and JPI

  • Provide an overview of the assessment “landscape”

  • Meet objectives of MEAs (partnerships)

  • Build on assessment interlinkages reports (e.g., IPCC, CBD, MA, GEF-STAP)


Interlinkages (cont.) Scientific Base of UNEP:

  • Address spatial (global, regional, national) and temporal scales

  • Include capacity building as an essential component

  • Adaptive management and social learning

  • UNEP ED to set up an advisory committee to focus on scope, key questions (based on questionnaire), authors and time table


Interlinkages (cont.) Scientific Base of UNEP:

  • Ensure linkages to the GEO process and products

  • Build on the needs and gaps identified in the questionnaire survey


Science and GEO Scientific Base of UNEP:

  • It is essential to strengthen the scientific credibility of GEO

  • Strengthen linkages with other assessments and the international scientific community (e.g., ICSU and its SCOPE)

  • Ensure that a sufficient number of collaborative centres with high scientific credibility are involved


Science and GEO (cont.) Scientific Base of UNEP:

  • Address multiple scales

  • Improve the review process

  • For capacity building, collaborate with the various institutions involved and link to, e.g., UN Decade on education for sustainable development

  • As one example, for GEO4, look specifically climate change and biodiversity interlinkages


To strengthen the scientific base of UNEP is essential, but this consultation was just a first step in a necessary process.

Much more is needed!

Science must become more policy relevant and the scientific community is ready to contribute.


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