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Published: November 1, 2013

Carlos Nobre appointed to major UN scientific advisory board

News |

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has announced his first Scientific Advisory Board. Former IGBP chair Carlos Nobre is one of twenty-six scientists selected. The new board will provide advice on science, technology and innovation for sustainable development and report directly to the Secretary General. UNESCO will host the secretariat.

Brazilian academic Carlos Nobre (right) chaired IGBP from 2005 to 2011 and played a major role coorinating scientific input into the UN's Rio+20 summit in 2012.

The new Scientific Advisory Board ​was recommended by the UN Secretary-General’s High-level Panel on Global Sustainability, set up to provide input into the Rio+20 summit. The Planet Under Pressure conference, led by IGBP, provided direct input into the panel on issues relating to improving the international science-policy interface. This input included a recommendation to establish the position of chief scientific advisor to the UN, or advisory panel.

The new advisory board, which meets for the first time in December, will be coordinated by UNESCO, based in Paris.

More information.

UNESCO Press release

“The creation of the Scientific Advisory Board follows on a wide-ranging consultation work entrusted to UNESCO by the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon,” said UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova. 

“It brings together scientists of international stature, and will serve as a global reference point to improve links between science and public policies.”

The board is the first such body set up by the UN Secretary-General to influence and shape action by the international community to advance sustainable development and eradicate poverty.

The initiative derives from the report of the UN Secretary-General’s High-level Panel on Global Sustainability Resilient People, Resilient Planet: A Future worth choosing (January, 2012). This report recommended the launch of a “major global scientific initiative to strengthen the interface between policy and science. This should include the preparation of regular assessments and digests of the science around such concepts as “planetary boundaries”, “tipping points” and “environmental thresholds” in the context of sustainable development”.

The fields covered by the Board range from the basic sciences, through engineering and technology, social sciences and humanities, ethics, health, economic, behavioral, and agricultural sciences, in addition to the environmental sciences.

It aims to ensure that up-to-date and rigorous science is appropriately reflected in high-level policy discussions within the UN system, offering recommendations on priorities related to science for sustainable development that should be supported or encouraged; providing advice on up-to-date scientific issues relevant to sustainable development; identifying knowledge gaps that could be addressed outside the UN system by either national or international research programs; identifying specific needs that could be addressed by on-going assessments (e.g., IPCC or the IPBES); and advising on issues related to the public visibility and understanding of science.

Board members will act in their personal capacity and will provide advice on a strictly independent basis. They will serve pro bono for two years, with the possibility of renewal for one further two-year term, upon the decision of the Secretary-General. The first session of the Board will be held at the beginning of 2014.

Board members

The members of the Scientific Advisory Board are:

·         Tanya Abrahamse (South Africa), CEO, South African National Biodiversity Institute;

·         Susan Avery (United States of America), President and Director, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution;

·         Hilary McDonald Beckles (Barbados), Pro-Vice Chancellor and Principal, University of the West Indies;

·         Joji Cariño (Philippines), Director, Forest Peoples Programme;

·         Rosie Cooney (Australia), Visiting Fellow, Institute of Environmental Studies, UNSW, Sydney;

·         Abdallah Daar (Oman), Professor of Public Health, University of Toronto, Canada;

·         Gebisa Ejeta (Ethiopia), Professor of Agronomy, Purdue University, United States;

·         Vladimir Fortov (Russian Federation), President of the Russian Academy of Sciences;

·         Fabiola Gianotti (Italy), Research physicist and former Coordinator of ATLAS Experiment, CERN, Geneva, Switzerland;

·         Ke Gong (China), President of Nankai University;

·         Jörg Hinrich Hacker (Germany), President, German National Academy of Sciences – Leopoldina;

·         Maria Ivanova (Bulgaria), Professor of Global Governance, University of Massachusetts, United States;

·         Eugenia Kalnay (Argentina), Professor of Atmospheric and Ocean Sciences, University of Maryland, Unites States;

·         Eva Kondorosi (Hungary), Research Professor, Biological Research Centre, Academy of Sciences of Hungary;

·         Reiko Kuroda (Japan), Professor, Research Institute for Science and Technology, Tokyo University of Science;

·         Dong-Pil Min (Republic of Korea), Emeritus Professor, Seoul National University;

·         Carlos Nobre (Brazil), Senior Climate Scientist, National Secretary for R&D Policies; (pictured)

·         Rajendra Kumar Pachauri (India), Director-General, The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI); Chair, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change - Nobel Laureate for Peace;

·         Shankar Sastry (United States of America), Dean, College of Engineering, University of California, Berkeley;

·         Hayat Sindi (Saudi Arabia), Founder and CEO, Institute of Imagination and Ingenuity;

·         Wole Soboyejo (Nigeria), President, African University of Science and Technology (AUST), Garki;

·         Laurence Tubiana (France), Director, Institute of Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDDRI), Paris;

·         Judi Wakhungu (Kenya), Professor of Energy Resources Management, First Cabinet Secretary, Ministry for Environment, Water and Natural Resources;

·         Ada Yonath (Israel), Director, Helen and  Milton A. Kimmelman Centre for Biomolecular Structure and Assembly, Weizmann Institute of Sciences; Nobel Laureate in Chemistry;

·         Abdul Hamid Zakri (Malaysia), Science Advisor to the Prime Minister of Malaysia; Chair, Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES);

·         Ahmed Zewail (Egypt), Director, Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, California Institute of Technology, United States; Nobel Laureate in Chemistry.

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