News: News Archives
AAAS Promotes Role for Science
in Sustainable Development
From 26 August through 4 September, the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg is expected to draw almost 20,000 participants and observers interested in addressing the problems of poverty and environmental damage that plague much of the developing world.
During the summit, AAAS staff members are manning an exhibit booth to educate summit participants about the importance of the role that science and technology play in worldwide efforts to address the need for sustainable development.
At booth number 209 in the Ubuntu Exhibition area, staff members are also providing information about AAAS's history, and describing the organization's contribution to improving science and mathematics education, and to building an educational and research infrastructure worldwide. The exhibit will distribute literature, including a just-published opinion article by AAAS leadership on the role of science in sustainable development, and copies of a recent issue of Science that is dedicated to the same topic.
AAAS is also co-sponsoring an educational workshop on 1 September in Johannesburg that will link the issues of human rights to the right of access to clean water, productive soil, and adequate supplies of food. Details on these contributions and others follow below:
- Shirley Malcom, director of the AAAS Education and Human Rights Directorate, led an International Council for Science (ICSU) committee in producing a report on the role of capacity building and education in sustainable development. This committee's report has been submitted to the summit and is being included in the proceedings.
- Audrey Chapman, the director of the AAAS Science and Human Rights Program and Sage Russell, senior program associate, have organized a workshop exploring the connections between human rights and sustainable development and environmental protection. This workshop, which will include representatives of 17 other organizations, will take place as part of the civil society activities on 1 September at the Johannesburg Expo Centre (Nasrec).
- AAAS has also contributed to the broader sustainability debate with an op-ed written by Peter Raven, director of the Missouri Botanical Garden and chairman of the AAAS Board of Directors, and AAAS CEO Alan Leshner. The article suggests that science is prepared to address problems related to sustainable development, but that it can do so only if the nations of the north provide support and infrastructure, and if the nations of the south are willing to make a commitment to educating their people and building the local capacity for research. See the Raven/Leshner op-ed as it appeared in these publications:
- St. Louis Post Dispatch
- Süddeutsche Zeitung Online in Germany
- Folha de Sao Paulo in Brazil
- The Baltimore Sun (select "World Aid Through Science," Aug. 26, 2002)
- Le Figaro in France
- La Nacion in Costa Rica
- Canberra Times in Australia (click on "editorial/opinion" in the left-hand column, then scroll down to "columnists analysis" and click on "Political will the key to summit," Aug. 25, 2002)
- The AAAS journal, Science, contributed to World Summit discussions, too: In a 9 August research article, Science reported that it pays to save wild nature. "A single year's habitat conversion costs the human enterprise, in net terms, on the order of $250 billion that year, and every year into the future," wrote Andrew A. Balmford of the University of Cambridge, U.K., and colleagues. The article, disclosed at a special London press conference co-sponsored by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and Science, was accompanied by supporting pieces by Dr. Raven and Dr. Leshner. For examples of news coverage on the Balmford paper, please see Salon.com, The Guardian (UK), and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
26 August 2002