Workshop on Sustainability Science: Enhancing Cooperation Between Non-Governmental Organizations and Scientists
October 27, 2011 • Washington DC
On the 27th October 2011, we will hold a one day, high level workshop to discuss sustainability science and enhancing cooperation between NGOs and scientists to make this a more sustainable world. We are holding a small round table with world-renowned scientists, leaders of international NGOs, and representatives of private foundations and NSF Program Directors to discuss the potential for enhanced collaboration among scientists, NGOs, NSF and the public and private sector.

The premise is that cooperation is essential for meaningful mitigation of the causes and consequences of human induced environmental emergencies and degradation. Furthermore, reducing the human activities that are adversely impacting global sustainability (climate change; resource production, extraction, and exploitation; and forced relocation) is a high priority for both the nation as well as the international organizations whose missions are to ameliorate the human suffering and environmental degradation caused by these issues. Finding ways to enhance the synergy of the research by scientists and the programs of NGOs is essential to meaningful action on issues of sustainability.

There is a significant overlap between the proposal driven NSF and the work of NGOs. However, to date the interaction among the scientists who are responsible for performing the science and the NGOs that are responsible for implementing policy, providing aid, and developing approaches to mitigating crises has been limited. This round table is a first step for finding ways to change this and instigate coordinated action around the world. On one hand, the round table will evaluate the potential for developing a system for NGOs to help formulate the research being conducted by NSF scientists in order for it to be more useful to the organizations working on the ground. On the other, it could potentially inform NSF in the implementation of scientific findings by NGOs in order to enhance the potential of worldwide sustainability.

The Roundtable will also assess whether a larger workshop reaching out to a greater range of scientists, NGOs and other integral parties will be able to create the desired collaborative approach to promoting sustainability.