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Annual Report 2012

Message from the President

In 2012, ICSU broke new ground in a number of areas, pushing boundaries both in the scope and ambition of its work. Future Earth, the new research initiative on global sustainability, was launched in overflowing halls from London to Brazil. Building on a genuine sense of enthusiasm at these events, a series of regional consultations were held in Africa, Asia-Pacific and Latin America to mobilize scientists and stakeholders in these regions. We have come a long way with this ambitious project. In 2013, Future Earth will move into a new phase of implementation, with the Interim Secretariat expected to get started.

In June 2012, ICSU completed a two-year engagement with Rio+20. Building on the success of the Planet Under Pressure conference in engaging a whole new community outside the traditional scientific audience, ICSU and its partners positioned themselves as the leading voice for international science at the Forum on Science, Technology and Innovation for Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro, the week before Rio+20. Our efforts resulted in considerable media coverage and a series of promising new relationships with civil society, business and policymakers. Throughout, ICSU worked hard to highlight the value of science for sustainable development.

Rio + 20 set the stage for strong involvement of science in global sustainable development. In particular, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) process foresees major scientific input. The UN Secretary General is also creating a Science Advisory Board, tasked with providing him with scientific advice, which is partly a result of recommendations by ICSU and its partners.

2012 was also a year of stock-taking, and one of the imperatives that we intend to take forward is the need to work collectively, across the scientific community and in concert with our Members and Unions, to tackle the challenges we currently face. This begins with listening carefully and building more opportunities for networking across organizations and disciplines.

The External Review, tasked with examining ICSU’s progress in responding to the recommendations of the 1996 assessment, is progressing on schedule with the selection of the
Review Panel. The panel will present its findings at the 31st General Assembly in September 2014.

I believe that we will look back on the last year as a year of milestones and lessons, all
of which will play a role in shaping the future direction of ICSU. It is now up to us as a community to define the road map ahead for ICSU.

Yuan Tseh Lee

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