Rio+20 Launch of the International Council for Science and the Environment

June 22, 2012

RIO DE JANEIRO—Today marks the historic launch of an organization aimed at dramatically increasing international scientific collaboration to develop solutions to the challenges of sustainable development. Here, at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), we are launching the International Council for Science and the Environment (ICSE).

Its purpose will be to strengthen, enrich and clarify the science-policy dialogue, to improve the scientific basis for environmental decision-making and to advance long-term sustainable development.

At the outset, ICSE will organize hundreds of universities globally to help their scientists and scholars better inform decision-makers, including governments at all levels.

The International Council for Science and the Environment will improve the scientific basis for environmental decision-making by engaging those working in academia, governments, civil society, and corporations and helping them conduct:

  • collaborative research and solution development;
  • synthesis of science findings and reporting to decision-makers; and,
  • more comprehensive communication of science to the global public.


The report of the United Nations Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel on Global Sustainability, Resilient People Resilient Planet: A Future Worth Choosing, recommends:

            “measures should be taken to strengthen the interface between science
            and policymaking in order to facilitate informed political decision-
            making on sustainable development issues.” 

Responding to this high level call to action, the International Council for Science and the Environment will implement measures to make this recommendation a reality.

The ICSE will convene, empower and develop platforms for the global scientific community to express their actionable scientific conclusions and intellectual probity so as to achieve action towards the goal of sustainable development.

Maurice Strong, Secretary-General of the original 1992 Rio Summit, declared, “The International Council for Science and the Environment will address a key missing element in achieving the goals of the original Earth Summit and reaffirmed here twenty years later. The science community needs to be a global force working for sustainable development in a more cohesive and effective manner. I am profoundly encouraged to see the International Council for Science and the Environment organizing scientists at universities and elsewhere to take significant leadership for the future.”

“I am excited to see a vehicle for tens of thousands of individual scientists to collaborate with colleagues in other nations to find solutions to a host of problems that must be overcome before sustainability can be attained,” said Mohamed Hassan of the Academy of Sciences for the Developing World.

“Science will play a decisive role in finding solutions to the many challenges to a sustainable world. The International Council for Science and the Environment will play an essential role in guiding humanity to a sustainable future by enabling scientists and engineers to work together and with decision-makers in every nation,” stated Paulo Alcantara Gomes, President of the Brazilian Council of Education and the Rede de Technologia.

Angheluta Vadineanu, the UNESCO-Cousteau Chair of Ecotechnie at the University of Bucharest, noted, “By basing itself in impartial use of science, the ICSE will have the ability to gain the trust of communities in disagreement and assist them in jointly finding acceptable solutions to seemingly intractable environmental challenges.”

Catalyzing the launch of the ICSE is the United States-based National Council for Science and the Environment, which has successfully mobilized scientists and engineers based at over 160 universities and colleges, together with an annual conference that mobilizes over 1,200 top decision-makers in the United States as participants, to work across traditional boundaries with each other and with environmental managers and policy-makers.

The Honorable Bill Richardson, former US Ambassador to the United Nations, declared, “I am delighted to champion this critical global step towards stronger science for sustainable development. The International Council for Science and the Environment will foster a quantum leap in the dialogue between scientists and decision-makers for sustainable development.”

"The International Council for Science and the Environment will bring a new leadership to the world’s scientific community and work effectively alongside other international scientific institutions,” stated Ashok Khosla, President of the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Dr. Peter Saundry, the Executive Director of the National Council for Science and the Environment, declared, “The ICSE will join with other institutions and scientific leaders to carry forward a vision for a sustainable planet, a just society, and a growing green economy.”

Presenting the launch of ICSE at Rio+20 will be members of the Board of Directors for the National Council for Science and the Environment:

David Jhirad, Ph.D., Director, Johns Hopkins University, School of Advanced International Studies

Jan Hartke, Esq., Counselor, Clinton Climate Initiative


Scientific and Policy Leaders Supporting the Creation of the International Council for Science and the Environment:

  • Maurice Strong, UN Secretary-General for the Earth Summit, 1992 (Canada)
  • Aicha Adamou, Expert Consultant Renewable Energy Strategy (Algeria)
  • Mohammed Sadeck Boulahya, Regional Adviser in Climate for Development in Africa (Africa)
  • Rita Colwell, Former Director, National Science Foundation (USA)
  • Sir Gordon Conway, Professor of International Development, Agriculture for Impact at the Imperial College (UK)
  • Gary Dirks, Former President, BP Asia Pacific and BP China (USA)
  • Mohamed El Ashry, Former President, Global Environmental Facility (Egypt)
  • Paulo Alcantara Gomes, President, Technological Network, Rede de Technologia & the Council of Education (Brazil)
  • Mohamed Hassan, Former President, The Academy of Sciences for the Developing World (Sudan)
  • Mark Howden, Chief Research Scientist, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (Australia)
  • Saleemul Huq, Director, International Centre for Climate Change and Development, Independent University (Bangladesh)
  • Ashok Khosla, President, International Union for Conservation of Nature (India)
  • Antonio Divino Moura, Independent Scientist (Brazil)
  • Mai Trong Nhuan, President, Vietnam National University, Hanoi (Vietnam)
  • Rajendra Kumar Pachauri, Director General, The Energy and Resources Institute (India)
  • Honorable Bill Richardson, Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations (USA)
  • James Gustave Speth, Former Administrator, United Nations Development Programme (USA)
  • Nils Christen Stenseth, President, Norwegian Academy of Sciences (Norway)
  • Kazuhiko Takeuchi, Director, Institute for Sustainability and Peace & Vice Chancellor, United Nations University (Japan)
  • Right Honorable Simon Upton, Former New Zealand Minister of Science & former New Zealand Minister of Environment (New Zealand)
  • Angheluta Vadineanu, UNESCO-Cousteau Chair of Ecotechnie, University of Bucharest (Romania)
  • Sander Van Der Leeuw, Dean and Professor, School of Sustainability, Arizona State University (USA & Netherlands)
  • Anyaa Vohiri, Executive Director, Environmental Protection Agency of Liberia (Liberia)
  • Jiemian Yang, President, Shanghai Institutes for International Studies (China)