Paul Shrivastava is Future Earth Executive Director, Review of targets for SDGs release
Paul Shrivastava named Executive Director of Future Earth
Paris, February 13th 2015 ? The International Council for Science (ICSU), on behalf of the Science & Technology Alliance for Global Sustainability, announced today the appointment of Paul Shrivastava as Executive Director of Future Earth.Currently he is the David O’Brien Distinguished Professor of Sustainable Enterprise, and the Director of the David O’Brien Centre for Sustainable Enterprise, at the John Molson School of Business, Concordia University in Montreal, Canada. Shrivastava has more than three decades of experience in management education, entrepreneurship, and working as a consultant to major multi-national corporations.
Shrivastava, a US citizen, was born in India and works in Canada and France. He will take up his post in early February 2015, based at the Montreal Global Hub of the Future Earth Secretariat. He will lead a globally distributed secretariat composed of five global hubs functioning as a single entity, located in Montreal, Paris, Tokyo, Stockholm and Boulder, Colorado. The global hubs will be complemented by a set of regional hubs for the Middle East and North Africa, Latin America, Europe, Asia and Africa.
The Prime Minister of Quebec, Philippe Couillard, will hold a press conference later today in Montreal (9:30 am EST) to announce Shrivastava’s appointment. Gordon McBean, President of the International Council for Science, and co-chair of the Science & Technology Alliance for Global Sustainability, will be present.
Shrivastava will work with Frans Berkhout, Interim Director of Future Earth, to ensure a smooth handover of functions from the Interim Secretariat based at ICSU in Paris to the new globally-distributed Executive Secretariat. Reporting to the Governing Council of Future Earth, the Executive Director will work closely with an Executive Team formed of the five Global Hub Directors, as well as the Chairs of the Science and Engagement Committees. Recruitment of the hub directors is currently underway.
Flavia Schlegel, co-chair of the Alliance and Assistant Director-General for Natural Sciences at UNESCO, said, “We are very pleased to announce the appointment of Shrivastava, whose unique background and skillset at the intersection of academia, business and management makes him the perfect choice to achieve the step-change in ambition that Future Earth requires.”
“I am honoured by this appointment to lead the Future Earth Executive Secretariat. Future Earth is an organisation of thousands of volunteer scientists working in hundreds of locations around the world. The secretariat will strive to be the glue that holds the organisation together, by facilitating and coordinating its activities, communicating with stakeholders, enabling research, building capacity, and synthesising foresights. I look forward to joining the Future Earth team of professionals and highest calibre scientists to develop co-designed and stakeholder engaged sustainability sciences,” Shrivastava said.
Shrivastava received his PhD in Strategic Planning and Policy from the University of Pittsburgh. He was tenured Associate Professor of Management at NYU Stern School of Business, Howard I. Scott Professor of Management at Bucknell University, and helped establish the International Research Chair in Art and Sustainable Enterprise at ICN Business School in Nancy, France. He was part of the management team that launched one of India’s largest computer companies, Hindustan Computers Ltd, and founded a non-profit organisation to mediate the crisis between Union Carbide Corporation and the Indian government during the Bhopal crisis in the 1980s. He has published 18 books and over 100 papers in academic and professional journals.
ICSU and ISSC release “Review of Targets for the Sustainable Development Goals: The Science Perspective“
The International Council for Science, in partnership with the International Social Science Council, released a new report today which provides an independent review of the 169 targets under the proposed Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are set to be approved at the General Assembly of the UN in September.
Bringing together the work of over 40 leading researchers from across the natural and social sciences, the report is being released ahead of a major meeting at the UN in New York from 17-20 February where negotiators in the Open Working Group will discuss an over-arching declaration for the proposed framework, a “goal of the goals”.
The authors find that the SDGs offer a "major improvement" over their predecessors, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). However, of the 169 targets beneath the 17 draft goals, just 29% are well defined and based on the latest scientific evidence, while 54% need more work and 17% are weak or non-essential.
Many of the targets suffer from a lack of integration, some repetition and rely too much on vague, qualitative language rather than hard, measurable, time-bound, quantitative targets, the report finds.
Authors are also concerned the goals are presented in ‘silos.’ The goals address challenges such as climate, food security and health in isolation from one another. Without interlinking there is a danger of conflict between different goals, most notably trade-offs between overcoming poverty and moving towards sustainability. Action to meet one target could have unintended consequences on others if they are pursued separately.
Finally, the report highlights the need for an ‘end-goal’ to provide a big picture vision for the SDGs. “The ‘ultimate end’ of the SDGs in combination is not clear, nor is how the proposed goals and targets would contribute to achieve that ultimate end,” write the authors. They recommend that this meta-goal be “a prosperous, high quality of life that is equitably shared and sustained.”
Call for Oral and Poster Contributions: International Scientific Conference "Our Common Future Under Climate Change"
The international scientific conference “Our Common Future under Climate Change” will take place at UNESCO in Paris in July 2015.
This four-day conference will be the largest forum for the scientific community to come together ahead of the 21st UNFCCC Conference of the Parties (COP21), which will be hosted by France in December 2015. Building on the results of IPCC 5th Assessment Report (AR5), the conference will address key issues concerning climate change in the broader context of global change. It will offer an opportunity to discuss solutions for both mitigation and adaptation issues.
A call for contributions (oral and poster) is being held by the conveners of parallel sessions in close collaboration with the conference's scientific committee. Proposed contributions must be relevant to one of the themes for parallel sessions.
Once the call for contributions has closed, selected oral contributions may be included in the parallel sessions hosted by conveners or may be recommended as a poster contribution as part of the conference’s poster sessions.
The Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) has put out a request for nomination of experts for a set of regional and sub-regional assessments of biodiversity and ecosystem services, a thematic assessment of land degradation and restoration, and the scoping of a global assessment of biodiversity and ecosystem services.
They are in need of a broad variety of experts from various natural and social scientific disciplines and from indigenous and local knowledge systems, as well as policy and technical experts and practitioners.
Interested experts (nominees) are requested to fill out their application form no later than 31 March 2015. Nominators (governments or organisations) should submit approved applications by 5 April 2015 at the latest. Earlier nominations are encouraged.