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The ISC and UNEP to cooperate on advancing the use of science in environmental policy and decision-making

The International Science Council (ISC) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to support closer cooperation on strengthening the capacity of science – including data, engineering and the social and behavioural sciences – in order to achieve common objectives on environmental sustainability.

The ISC and UNEP will work to mobilize the global scientific community to contribute to international environmental governance, including ensuring scientific representation from diverse stakeholders, non-traditional voices and under-represented regions. This will include coordinating efforts to foster equitable access to relevant scientific data and information, and collaboration on knowledge management, science communication and outreach.

“The ISC and UNEP have a long history of effective collaboration on mobilizing scientific expertise for environmental assessment, and I am pleased to announce this formal cooperation agreement. Our closer collaboration will further enhance capacity to bring together and integrate scientific excellence and science policy expertise to solve environmental problems,” said Sir Peter Gluckman, President of the International Science Council.

“This partnership is an opportunity to strengthen and focus our knowledge systems for the pursuit of a better future on a healthy planet. The multifaceted challenges we face require a multidisciplinary approach to science and a reorientation towards inclusive evidence-based solutions. Cooperation between the social and natural sciences, and drawing on the humanities and local knowledge systems and diverse experiences is paramount” said Chief Scientist Dr Andrea Hinwood, UNEP

The strengthened cooperation will be acted on in a number of key areas including strategic foresight and horizon-scanning of environmental trends and signals, as well as mobilization of a broad array of expertise in support of the seventh Global Environment Outlook (GEO-7), UNEP’s flagship assessment, which is in preparation and will likely be launched at the seventh United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA), in 2026.  A call for nominations for authors, review editors and fellows to support the drafting of GEO-7 and a call for expressions of interest for institutions to become GEO collaborating centres has already been circulated to the ISC’s Members and wider network.

This collaboration reflects the renewed mandate of the ISC as the voice for and of global science in support of multilateral processes, independent science advice to governments and multistakeholder dialogues around science.

With the ISC’s unique global membership, representing both the natural and social sciences and scientists in all world regions, and UNEP’s mandate to set the environmental agenda and keep the global environment under review, this new agreement will strengthen the contribution of the international scientific community and scientific knowledge towards environmental policy and practice. The combined experience of both organizations will be essential to ensuring evidence-based decision-making on the environment at a key juncture in global environmental policy when countries are setting global goals for biodiversity for the next decade, tackling plastic pollution and seeking to raise ambitions for the implementation of the Paris Agreement on climate change.

Image by Klima- og miljødepartementet via Flickr. The UNEA gavel made from recycled plastics.

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