The ISC and the United Nations Environment Programme

In December 2022, the ISC signed an MoU with UNEP in order to cooperate more closely on strengthening the capacity of science – including data, engineering, and the social and behavioural sciences – to achieve common objectives aimed at living sustainably within planetary boundaries.

This enhanced collaboration came at a key juncture in global environmental policy when countries were setting new global biodiversity and climate goals for the next decade at the COP15 United Nations Biodiversity Conference, and at the COP27 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

The first joint project between the ISC and UNEP is centred on strategic foresight and horizon-scanning of environmental trends and signals. The ISC was delighted by the overwhelming response from its Members in nominating experts to join the interdisciplinary Foresight Expert Panel. This group will guide and oversee the development of a joint global report that will be published in 2024 to inform the deliberations of the sixth session of the United Nations Environment Assembly and the Summit of the Future.

In 2022, the ISC also co-organized the COP15 Fifth Science–Policy Forum for Biodiversity, together with its Members, the International Union of Biological Sciences (IUBS), UNEP and the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). The Forum enabled analysis of the emerging science–policy landscape, a review of experiences from science-based policy-making in the context of the CBD, and the drawing of lessons from multilateral environmental agreements and national actions. The discussions produced concrete ideas to strengthen implementation of the post-2020 global biodiversity framework.

The ISC facilitated inputs of experts and scientists in the first negotiation talks on the creation of a legally binding treaty on plastic pollution, following a resolution by the United Nations Environment Assembly.

Finally, the ISC participated in mobilizing transdisciplinary and geographically diverse expertise to support the seventh edition of UNEP’s flagship assessment: the Global Environment Outlook (GEO-7), to be released during the next United Nations Environment Assembly in 2026.


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