UNESCO: United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization



Participants at UNESCO International Workshop on Sustainability Science Call for Integrated Approaches to Tackle Global Challenges

Participants at UNESCO International Workshop on Sustainability Science Call for Integrated Approaches to Tackle Global Challenges

(Thursday, 9 April 2013, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia). The international workshop titled “A science based approach to realise the future we want for all” took place from 3 April to 5 April 2013, it concluded with the declaration of the Kuala Lumpur Statement. Participants agreed that due to the diverse and often challenging social, economic, educational and political contexts in Asia-Pacific countries, there is a need for development and implementation of integrated policies, strategies, and management models within the sustainability science framework, in order to improve the living standards for local communities, and foster cooperation among countries for sustainable development. There was a consensus among delegates and organizers that only coordinated efforts and sustainability science based approach to solve the global challenges will bring about sustainable development.

“The workshop was organized by UNESCO and Institute for Environment and Development (LESTARI), University Kebangsaan Malaysia in collaboration with International Science, Technology and Innovation Centre for South-South Cooperation (ISTIC) and Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology –Japan (MEXT). This workshop was attended by Secretary General of MEXT, Science Advisor to the Prime Minister of Malaysia, UNESCO Senior Officials and number of eminent national and international delegates.”

This workshop was held at a critical juncture in time, ahead of the transition from MDGS to Post-2015 Agenda and therefore there were focused deliberations on how “Sustainability Science’ approach can be used to define global challenges and deliver solutions by maximizing benefits and minimizing possible negative spin-offs from new S&T based innovations and developments.

Ms Pilar Alvarez-Laso, UNESCO’s Assistant Director General for Social and Human Sciences noted that” Sustainability science refers both to science about sustainability and to science for sustainability. Science is unlikely to give definitive answers to many of the questions that societies will need to answer. In any new contract between science and society, social responsibility is important”. Ms Gretchen Kalonji UNESCO’s Assistant Director General for Natural Sciences stressed that “Particular attention should be given this time to the positioning of science and engineering in the Post-2015 agenda to ensure they will play a dual role in developing a full understanding of key global challenges as well as in generating sustainable and affordable solutions”. Mr Hubert Gijzen Director UNESCO Regional Science Bureau for Asia and the Pacific stressed the need to ‘educate for a sustainable future’ to generate greater societal and political awareness and support towards addressing key global challenges.


It was recommended to the governing bodies of UNESCO that they may promote this integrated approach into the next medium-term strategy and the programme and budget. It was emphasized that South-South-North cooperation is critical for the successful implementation of the sustainability approach. The progress made between Asia and Africa cooperation through connectivity tools need to be fostered further for capacity building at all levels. It is recommended to organize an Asia-Africa summit on sustainability science. The participants also felt the need for Sustainability Science Networks to be established to proactively promote this approach at all levels.

UNESCO Office Jakarta is actively involved in the processes for preparation of the Post-2015 Development Agenda, and leading consultations in specific areas such as water, youth, science and technology, and inequalities. UNESCO Jakarta’s strategy is to advocate for the role of education, sciences and culture in support of the “future we want for all”, capture and support the voices of stakeholders engaged in addressing questions related to UNESCO mandate, and raise awareness about the process.

Download 'The Final Kuala Lumpur Statement' here

  • 09-04-2013
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