UN Scientific Advisory Board Meets in Kuala Lumpur
We are closing in on the December 2015 UN Climate Change Conference in Paris where the international community will attempt to achieve a binding and universal agreement on climate change during twelve days of negotiations. In the lead up to Paris, Ban Ki-moon has called a series of meeting for his new Scientific Advisory Board to make policy recommendations regarding a host of issues related to sustainable development. The most recent meeting took place form May 25-26 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Our own co-Director Professor Maria Ivanova, an expert in global environmental governance, sits on the board alongside thought leaders and dignitaries like UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute President and Director Dr. Susan Avery. In Kuala Lumpur, Ban Ki-moon had each advisory board member present the outcomes of the Delphi Study, in which each board member was tasked with proposing “a big idea that would have a global impact in addressing the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals over the next 15 years.”
The board then ranked the ideas so that they may be prioritized. Some of the top ideas include establishing a new paradigm for the global tropics as regards biodiversity, changing the fossil fuel paradigm, and investing a fraction of GDP in research and education in basic science. The board also discussed the science-policy interface, a central topic of research here at the Center for Governance and Sustainability.
Professor Ivanova leads the working group on the science-policy interface. In Malaysia, the working group called for the forthcoming Global Sustainable Development Report to be “a high-quality scientific assessment tackling critical concerns…Without reducing inequality, effective family planning, and empowering women, it will be close to impossible to deal with any of the challenges – economic, environmental, social – that the world faces today.” The board is due to produce a policy brief in which it will make recommendations on how to improve the science-policy interface in the UN’s High-Level Political Forum.