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Scientific Grand Challenges identified to address global sustainability
Date:11/11/2010

Paris, FranceThe international scientific community has identified five Grand Challenges that, if addressed in the next decade, will deliver knowledge to enable sustainable development, poverty eradication, and environmental protection in the face of global change. The Grand Challenges for Earth system science, published today, are the result of broad consultation as part of a visioning process spearheaded by the International Council for Science (ICSU) in cooperation with the International Social Science Council (ISSC).

The consultation highlighted the need for research that integrates our understanding of the functioning of the Earth systemand its critical thresholdswith global environmental change and socio-economic development.

The five Grand Challenges are: 1. ForecastingImprove the usefulness of forecasts of future environmental conditions and their consequences for people. 2. ObservingDevelop, enhance and integrate the observation systems needed to manage global and regional environmental change. 3. ConfiningDetermine how to anticipate, recognize, avoid and manage disruptive global environmental change. 4. RespondingDetermine what institutional, economic and behavioural changes can enable effective steps toward global sustainability. 5. InnovatingEncourage innovation (coupled with sound mechanisms for evaluation) in developing technological, policy and social responses to achieve global sustainability.

'The challenges are a consensus list of the highest priorities for Earth system research and provide an overarching research framework. If we, the scientific community, successfully address these in the next decade, we will remove critical barriers impeding progress toward sustainable development,' said Dr Walt Reid, who chaired the Task Team overseeing the first step of the visioning process.

'Addressing these challenges will require new research capacity, especially the involvement of young scientists and scienti
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Contact: Walt Reid
wreid@packard.org
510-697-9317
International Council for Science
Source:Eurekalert

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