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Welcome to the September 2015 edition of the ICSU newsletter, bringing you highlights from ICSU's activities since our last edition in June.

What's in this e-mail?
  1. The latest news from the International Council for Science
  2. The latest stories from Road to Paris, ICSU's blog on climate change, sustainable development & disaster risk reduction
  3. Jobs at ICSU and in the network
  4. News from ICSU's Regional Offices
  5. Upcoming events


Last Friday, after a three-year consultation process, the world's governments agreed the Sustainable Development Goals. Throughout the process, ICSU and its partner organizations have continuously pushed for a sound scientific basis for these goals and a strong role for science in their implementation, for example through the first ever scientific review of the 169 targets that will operationalize the 17 goals, published in February. The 3rd ICSU/ISSC/DFG Young Scientists Networking Conference at Villa Vigoni had as its topic how science can contribute to the implementation of the SDGs, and we have just released a new video featuring interviews with the participants and their vision for a sustainable future.

During the World Social Science Forum in Durban, South Africa this month, the International Council for Science (ICSU), the International Social Science Council (ISSC) and International Council for Philosophy and Human Sciences (CIPSH) jointly announced that 2016 would be the International Year of Global Understanding (IYGU). The aim of IYGU is to promote better understanding of how the local impacts the global in order to foster smart policies to tackle critical global challenges such as climate change, food security and migration.

In early December, ICSU will return to South Africa to participate in the first meeting of Science International, a new coalition of the major international science bodies – ICSU, the InterAcademy Partnership (IAP), The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS), and the International Social Science Council (ISSC). At its first meeting, to be held from 7-9 December in Pretoria, the participating institutions will will agree an international science ‘accord’ on Big Data/Open Data. Webinars to discuss the draft accord will be held on 15-16 October and are open to all members of Science International partner organizations.

With the eyes of the world on Paris for the climate change negotiations in December, the science community gathered there in July to present the latest state of climate science at the conference "Our Common Future Under Climate Change". ICSU was one of the organizing partners of the conference and held a side event on Science and the Road to Transformation, focusing on how science can play an active role in the transition to a low carbon future.

In January, a major conference in Geneva will look at how the science and technology community can support implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction. The conference is open to all interested participants and there is no conference fee.

The Global Climate Observing System (GCOS) is starting to develop its new GCOS Implementation Plan that will guide the development of the global climate observing system in the future. The conference Global Climate Observation: the Road to the Future is being held to allow experts dealing with climate observations and other key stakeholders the opportunity to give their views and inputs into this plan. Registrations and the call for abstracts start on 15 October.

Future Earth, the ICSU co-founded research initiative on global sustainability, is looking to create a strong presence in Africa. In light of this, it is now looking for proposals from institutions that want to host a Future Earth Regional Office. Regional Offices are intended to provide a foundation for the later creation of a Regional Centre for Africa at one of the offices. The deadline for proposals is 28 October.

More news in brief:

Road to Paris

Three of our favourite stories from ICSU's Road to Paris blog covering disaster risk reduction, sustainable development and climate change:
100 days before the UN climate talks, Alice Bell looks at reasons to be cheerful. And reasons not to.
8 things to know from Addis Ababa. Claudia Delpero explains why the July conference on financing for development means a lot of unfinished business for Paris.
15 negotiators that can make or break the climate deal. Ramesh Bhushal on the people that will lead some of the key countries and blocs at COP21.

Jobs at ICSU and in the network

News from ICSU's Regional Offices


Asia & Pacific

In a milestone achievment, scientists from the Research Center for Environmental Changes of the Academy of Sciences located in Taipei, secured funding from the Ministry of Science and Technology, to undertake a pilot project developed through the ROAP sponsored work in its priority area on urban health and wellbeing. The project is entitled Planning Green Transportation for Better Urban Health Under Climate Change. The grant will enable several teams of researchers from the Center and elsewhere to collaboratively use the systems approach in research to better plan and manage urban health and wellbeing in Taipei. The systems approach involves multidisciplinary collaborative research among scientists from several disciplines. In this pilot project it will involve environmental chemists, human health specialists and transportation scientists. The ICSU ROAP priority area on urban health and wellbeing developed a science plan in 2011 that outlined why we need to move to more holistic approaches to urban health and wellbeing planning and management, and the tools available to do so. The pilot project will show how the use of the systems approach in urban health research will produce more holistic and comprehensive solutions.

More news from ICSU's Regional Office for Asia & the Pacific

Latin America and the Caribbean

As a result of the third Latin American Workshop on Mathematics Teaching held in early January 2015 in the city of Havana, Cuba, ICSU ROLAC defined the priority of starting the process of making Honduras the first country in Central America and the Caribbean to start a process for the study and implementation of standards for the training of teachers of mathematics, taking note of the Chilean experience.

With the advice of the Center for Mathematical Modeling of the University of Chile and under the leadership of the National Academy of Sciences of Honduras and the University José Cecilio del Valle, the project was presented to the National Pedagogical University Francisco Morazán and the Ministry of Education of Honduras. 

The project launch event and “problem solving” workshop took place in August 3-4 in Tegucigalpa, Honduras.

More news from ICSU's Regional Office for Latin America & the Caribbean


The African Future Earth Committee (AFEC) held its first in-person meeting on 13 – 14 August 2015, in Pretoria, South Africa. This meeting was attended by all eleven members of AFEC plus Hassan Virji from START (representing the Future Earth Global Secretariat) and Berhanu Abegaz from the African Academy of Science (as meeting chair). The event was co-sponsored by the government of South Africa (through the National Research Foundation) and ICSU.

The Committee discussed issues/recommendations emanating from the previous Future Earth activities in Africa and took into considerations developments at global level. It was agreed to narrow the current work of AFEC around the following: (i) developing the ToR of the Committee; (ii) establishment of a Future Earth Regional Centre for Africa; and (iii) developing a process to articulate key science and other challenges that are of prime interest to Africa and Future Earth globally. Fore more information about the Committee's proposed activities and actions, please see the meeting report.

More news from ICSU's Regional Office for Africa


International Collaboration for Advancing Polar Data Access and Preservation. Waterloo, Canada, 27-28 October 2015.
PECS 2015 conference. Stellenbosch, South Africa, 2-5 November 2015.
2nd COSPAR Symposium: Water and Life in the Universe. Foz do Iguacu, Brazil, 9-13 November 2015.
Nuclearisation of Africa. Johannesburg, South Africa, 16-19 November 2015.
Science International. Pretoria, South Africa, 7-9 December 2015.
UNISDR Science and Technology Conference on the implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030. Geneva, Switzerland, 27-29 January 2016.

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