(Beijing, 12 November 2006) Immediate, collaborative action by governments is necessary to ensure sustainable development in the face of unprecedented global environmental change, according to a statement released today by hundreds of scientists attending the Earth System Science Partnership (ESSP) Open Science Conference on Global Environmental Change: Regional Challenges in Beijing.
The scientists expressed their concern about the continuing adverse affects of human activities on the global environment and the resulting serious threats to human livelihood. In the conference statement, they resolved to mobilise their knowledge for action, in order to provide society with the scientific information needed to support sustainable development.
?Science has placed the issue of climate change in front of global leaders, assisted greatly by ESSP?s four global environmental change programmes sponsoring the Open Science Conference,? said Dr. Gordon McBean, conference co-chair and a professor at the University of Western Ontario, Canada. ?The challenge for scientists now is to better inform governments on the actions they can be taking,? he said.
The statement acknowledges the launch of two important new ESSP research initiatives on human health and Monsoon Asia to complement existing projects on carbon, food and water systems. The Global Environmental Change and Human Health Project will identify and quantify health risks posed by global environmental change, and develop cost effective adaptation strategies. The Monsoon Asia Integrated Regional Study addresses the interaction between humans and the environment in Monsoon Asia in order to support strategies for sustainable development in the region.
The four-day Open Science Conference has focused on how regions can cope with the consequences of natural and human-driven changes to the Earth?s environment, what future changes they can expect, and what the nature of those changes and their impact on human livelihood will be. Conference sessions have underscored how regional sustainability challenges can best be met by the integrated, global approach followed by ESSP programmes. This approach bridges the disciplinary gaps across environmental science, and has dramatically improved understanding of the complex Earth system and its interaction with human society.
ESSP is a joint initiative of four global environmental change research programmes: DIVERSITAS, the international programme of biodiversity science, the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP), the International Human Dimensions Programme on Global Environmental Change (IHDP), and the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP).
Mary Ann Williams
phone: +46 8 673 9562
fax: +46 8 16 64 05
Local Conference Organiser
phone: +86 10 6217 2957
fax: +86 10 6217 4797