Following reports that the U.N. Secretary-General was interested in appointing either a science adviser or a scientific advisory board, word comes from Rio (H/T Twitter) that the process has started to craft such a board. Per the UN:
“the Secretary-General decided to set up a Scientific Advisory Board, bringing together eminent specialists from natural sciences, social and human sciences, and engineering, and from diverse backgrounds and regions. Through this mechanism, the Secretary-General and UN agencies will be provided with comprehensive advice on all of the dimensions of science, technology and innovation for sustainable development, as well as on how to promote cooperation among various UN agencies and with the international scientific community.”
The Secretary-General has asked UNESCO (the United Nations Economic, Social and Cultural Organization) to implement the science recommendations in the Resilient People, Resilient Planet report released by the Global Sustainability Panel. The Director-General of UNESCO has assembled an ad hoc group of representatives of the various UN agencies that have scientific components to their work, as well as several international science organizations.
This is the first step, among many, in creating the board and the supporting mechanisms to keep it going. How effective it will be is completely up in the air. At least some of the motivation for the board seems to be an urge to ‘improve’ the science-policy interface. Whether that’s in response to the challenges faced by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or motivated by other concerns, I suspect there will be a lot of muddling through in the future for this advisory board.