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IFS responds to World Environment Day

Published: 2014-06-04

Promoting research on the most pressing environmental challenges of our day

World Environment Day (WED) was established by the UN General Assembly in 1972 to mark the opening of that Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment. It is the principal vehicle of the United Nations for encouraging worldwide awareness and action for the environment and to promote positive action on the most pressing environmental challenges of our day. Sitting a few kilometers from where the 1972 Conference on the Human Environment took place, it is especially appropriate to mark World Environment Day by sharing the new scope and areas of research supported by the International Foundation for Science to help to address those urgent environmental challenges. Read more...


When global temperature warms, to take just two examples:

  • extreme weather events – heat waves, floods, droughts, tropical cyclones and hurricanes – become more frequent and severe, threatening our lives and livelihoods;
  • ice melts and seawater expands and occupies more space, threatening coastal communities with floods and storm surges, to which small islands are the most exposed.

At the UN Climate Talks in 2010, governments committed to a maximum temperature rise of 2 degrees Celsius (36°F) above pre-industrial levels. However signs show that the world is increasingly not likely to meet this goal. Critical steps must be taken. These depend on actions such as improving energy efficiency, increasing use of renewable energy and finding means to minimize emissions from land-use change, for example, by ensuring low-carbon agriculture.

 IFS believes that research is an essential precursor to innovation, and to the policies and institutional changes needed as a foundation for promoting sustainable development and which can help realise the economic, social and cultural rights of all groups of people under changing ecological, socio-economic and political circumstances. The development and application of biological, water and energy resources requires an understanding of the dynamic relationships between people and nature, and how the resources can be channelled in ways that further individual and social goals. There is a consensus that the advances in natural science and technology and engineering can contribute new tools that are needed to counteract declining resources and identify opportunities for better or new ways of using underutilised resources. Similarly, the various social sciences can provide new insights and tools to show how creative livelihoods may be sustained.

 The International Foundation for Science investment in support of research on biological, water and energy resources in the developing world, both through the natural and the social sciences is a contribution to the larger agenda for meeting such global challenges and exploiting future opportunities, including: building human capability, investing in an enabling research environment including infrastructure, promoting innovation, stimulating entrepreneurship and improving the governance of innovations on a sustainable basis.

 For the full document of the research clusters supported by IFS please go to http://www.ifs.se/IFS/Documents/Programme/IFS_Research_Support.pdf


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