World Science Day 2012
World Science Day for Peace and Development is an opportunity for us to confirm the potential of the sciences to build a better world. It is through human intelligence, scientific research and innovation that we will be able find tomorrow the answers to the challenges that today seem insurmountable. Science is our best asset for supporting inclusive and equitable development, and for building global sustainability at a time of uncertainty, and faced with the biophysical limits of the planet.In order to succeed, we must train today the researchers of tomorrow in greater numbers. We must also place science at the service of all, while observing the fundamental rights of the individual. Above all, we must open a new chapter in scientific integration. Innovation and social transformation depend on our capacity to combine disciplines and create synergies among all sciences, natural, human and social, including local and indigenous knowledge.
The complexity of issues today goes beyond the framework of any single discipline. The economic, environmental and social challenges of sustainable development are interconnected. This was the message of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development held earlier this year, in Rio de Janeiro. It was also the message of the report of the High-Level Panel on Global Sustainability: Resilient People, Resilient Planet: A Future Worth Choosing. Although modern science has been able to prosper on the principle of specialization, it is now time to build more cooperative, better integrated approaches that can combine the progress made by each science in its own field. Sustainability will come through multidisciplinarity. It also requires an improved interface between the sciences, policy and society, so that each may enrich and reinforce each other. That is the theme of the World Day this year, “Science for Global Sustainability Interconnectedness, Collaboration, Transformation”.
UNESCO has made transdisciplinarity the cornerstone of its work for sustainability, in its international science programmes and in its work on education for sustainable development. Ten years after the first World Science Day, UNESCO remains determined to support international reflection on a science of global sustainability, notably through the Scientific Advisory Board of the United Nations Secretary-General. It is in this spirit that I call today on governments, civil society, public and private actors, well beyond scientific circles, to mobilize so as to release the full potential of all sciences for development and peace, which are inseparable and essential for the future that we want.
Irina Bokova, UNESCO Director-General