ROLAC Annual Report 2010
In 2010, ICSU ROLAC followed up on the activities it initiated over the past three years and engaged in some new activities. Again in 2010 a major part of ICSU ROLAC's work was dedicated to the development of its four scientific priority areas. One of the milestones was the publication in book form in English and Spanish of the four science plans for these priority areas Biodiversity, Natural Hazards, Sustainable Energy and Mathematics Education. Another important achievement was the publication of the policy brief on biodiversity and human well-being in Latin America and the Caribbean in English, Spanish and Portuguese. This publication is the result of an extensive multi-sectoral consultation on the relationship between biodiversity and human well-being in Latin America and the Caribbean, which gathered the perspectives of different social actors and stakeholders, completed by a synthesis workshop in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 2009.
Another workshop in the priority area biodiversity, entitled: Facilitating the dialogue among national, regional and international databases on biodiversity took place in Buenos Aires, Argentina in August 2010. Its main objective was to bring together specialists and representatives of different biodiversity institutes of Latin America and the Caribbean to develop a regional initiative for facilitating the dialogue among national, regional and international databases on biodiversity. In the ICSU ROLAC priority area sustainable energy, the major achievement was the presentation of the proposal of the project Establishment of an Inter-American Research Network on Sustainable Energy: Design of a Regional Program to the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) in October 2010. The proposal, which was approved by the IADB and provided the basis for the project signed by ICSU, suggested the development of a Sustainable Energy Research Network, to foment the exchange and integration between active institutes and research groups in sustainable energy in the Americas, as well as fostering innovative links with the private sector.
In 2010, ICSU ROLAC was involved in three grants awarded by the ICSU grants programme: Extreme Natural Hazards and Societal Implications (ENHANS) in collaboration with IUGG, Capacity Building in Biophysics: Training African Graduate Students in Latin America in collaboration with IUPAB, and Capacity Building in Chemical Risk Assessment in Latin America in collaboration with IUTOX. All three projects were implemented by the organization of several symposia and workshops during 2010.
ICSU ROLAC continued its outreach activities within and outside the ICSU family. 14 Scientific Union Members of ICSU had appointed a contact person for Latin America and the Caribbean by 2010. To strengthen its relationship with ICSU Scientific Union Members and ICSU National Members in the region, ICSU ROLAC visited several of its contact points and attended several Scientific Union meetings in the region in 2010. Outside the ICSU family, one important achievement was the establishment of strong relations with the Organization of American States (OAS). In 2010, ICSU was granted Civil Society Organization Status, and as such will be able to participate in all relevant meetings of the OAS, including the Summits of the Americas.
The 2010 ICSU Review of the Regional Office, which took place between February and June 2010, found that the regional office had made significant efforts to promote the participation of LAC countries in ICSU and to involve ICSU Unions in ROLAC activities. Furthermore, it was stressed that very good progress had been achieved in assisting ICSU and its members to link to the scientific community in Latin America and the Caribbean. The upcoming relocation of the Regional Office from Brazil to Mexico was considered a major challenge, although the review panel was convinced that the Mexican Academy of Sciences (AMC) and the National Council for Science and Technology (CONACyT) were fully committed to making the move a success.