Search By Topic


Science for peace: Future Earth at the 2017 World Science Forum

The Future Earth Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Regional Centre had a strong presence at this year’s World Science Forum, which adopted the theme of “Science for Peace.” The centre’s director, Manfred Lange, spoke during a session on “Empowering scientists and society to support the Sustainable Development Goals” and highlighted major sustainability challenges facing countries in the MENA region.

The World Science Forum ran from 7 to 10 November 2017 in Dead Sea, Jordan. Sometimes called the “Davos of Science” because of its similarities to the World Economic Forum that is held annually in Davos, Switzerland, the science forum takes place every two years. This event brings together scientists and leaders from the public and private sectors and civil society and the media. There, they discuss critical global issues and how science can help to address them in a holistic manner.

The 2017 forum was the first such meeting of this nature in the Middle East and was organised under the leadership of the Royal Scientific Society of Jordan, the founding members of the World Science Forum, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), International Council for Science (ICSU) and Hungarian Academy of Sciences.

This year’s overarching theme of “Science for Peace” was fitting for a region that has experienced major conflicts, wars and other transitions over the last few decades, Lange said. At the event, about 3000 participants from more than 120 countries discussed the “role of science in building a future that promises greater equality, security and opportunity for all, and in which science plays an increasingly prominent role as an enabler of fair and sustainable development.”

Lange’s talk, which took place at a session focusing on the MENA region, addressed the topic of “Sustainable Development in the MENA Region and Future Earth.” He discussed how nations in the region are facing challenges from increasingly scarce water  and other environmental and societal shifts. Lange stressed the need to enhance education, research and training around water-related issues in most MENA countries with a careful consideration of regional and local values and traditions. He also touched on the work of Future Earth and the initiatives and activities of the MENA Regional Centre.

In his role as ICSU president, Gordon McBean, co-chair of the Future Earth Governing Council, repeatedly referred to Future Earth at the event. He described its contribution to advancing peace and sustainable development in the MENA region and globally.