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Policy: Base Sustainable Development Goals on Science

A commentary on the Rio+20 Summit in 2012, which emphasized the importance of global sustainable development in conjuction with humanitarian development worldwide: "Human pressure on the Earth system may move us beyond safe natural boundaries. As the climate changes, biodiversity is lost and ecosystems decline, we are on course to interlinked environmental, economic and social crises that will make it difficult to provide the growing world population with food, water and energy. Only by setting human development on a sustainable trajectory will we safeguard Earth systems for future generations." Describes the need for evidence-based discussion in order to reach tractable goals regarding issues such as water scarcity, ecosystem health, and food security. Because the issues outlined in the Sustainable Development Goals are so interdisciplinary, Glaser suggests that the UN goals "should be built around cross-disciplinary themes such as food, water and energy security, rather than separate pillars of economy, environment and social development [as is current]."
Gisbert Glaser
International Council for Science, Paris, France
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