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How can science contribute to sustainable global development?

Joint Conference of the DFG and UNU in New York brought together research, policy makers and political and civil society organizations / “The source of wisdom is knowing the facts”

Jakob Rhyner, Guilherme de Aguiar Patriota, Robert C. Orr, Amina Mohammed, Jörg Hacker, Dorothee Dzwonnek and Peter Strohschneider
Jakob Rhyner, Guilherme de Aguiar Patriota, Robert C. Orr, Amina Mohammed, Jörg Hacker, Dorothee Dzwonnek and Peter Strohschneider Enlarge Image (jpg)

(27.04.15) An international conference, which was organized by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) and the United Nations University (UNU) with the assistance of the Permanent Mission of the Federal Republic of Germany to the United Nations (UN) in New York, focused on issues of global sustainability and the contribution of science to solving the pressing problems associated with sustainable global development. The meeting, which was held at the headquarters of the United Nations from Thursday, April 23 to Friday, April 24, brought together about 60 scientists from varying disciplines, UN policy makers as well as representatives from both political and civil society organizations.

In his introduction, DFG President Professor Peter Strohschneider emphasized the length of the debate on sustainability by recalling a report published in 1987 by the Brundtland Commission which to this day has not lost its urgency. Critical advances can only be achieved, if science in all of its various dimensions (from basic to applied research), is deployed in the political decision-making process and this conference provided an ideal platform.

Bringing together relevant expertise and diverse perspectives in a single program is an essential feature of this conference, as DFG Secretary General Dorothee Dzwonnek pointed out: "The goal of the conference has been just to do that, to bring in science and to open a forum of debate for scholars, practitioners, and policy-makers. Over the last two days, they have discussed various concepts and approaches, often passionately, but always with a clear focus on applicability."

Presentations and Panel Topics
DFG President Peter Strohschneider during his introduction

The conference’s four sessions each addressed the question of how scientific research can contribute to the development of both indicators and measuring instruments - tools which would make sustainable global development not only more feasible, but also easier to evaluate.

Closing Event at the United Nations
Introduction: Amina Mohammed, Special Advisor of the Secretary-General of the United Nations on Post-2015 Development Planning

The results from the four academic sessions were presented at the closing event, during which senior UN staff were also given the opportunity to weigh-in on the discussion.

Further Information
Reinhard Josef Krapp during the welcoming remarks for the reception

The aim of the background paper was to provide background information to speakers, panelists, and participants about the issues that were discussed during the conference.

Scientific Program Committee
Steering Committee: Jakob Rhyner, Anita Engels, Joseph Alcamo, Thomas Risse, Marianne Beisheim, Martin Visbeck

We have provided a full list of the members of the scientific program committee as well as the program for which they were responsible.

Contact Information

Contact information for DFG contacts in Bonn and New York as well as media contacts for the DFG and UNU


Films of the Conference

See all films of the conference in the Media Library of the DFG

Additional Information

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