Research 4 Rio

This series of events was brought to you by the European Commission, UNEP, GLOBE and IEEP, to address the question:

"How research can best inform the transition to a green economy"

We hosted a series of events both in Brussels and Rio de Janeiro, and document the process on this blog. You can also find information on relevant projects, interviews with event participants, key messages developed at different events, and questions raised along the way.

Look at Our Events page to see how the events happened.

This series of events was lead by KNOSSOS, a project aimed at bridging the gap between science and policy, and funded by the EU 7th Framework Programme.


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Concrete measures include institutionalising targets and indicators on resource efficiency for key resources——such as land, water, materials, carbon and nutrients——helping policy integration and the monitoring of related efforts.

Chris Vanden Bilcke, UNEP Liaison Office to the EU

Event 4 - Key Messages

At our final event on 19 June 2012 the following key messages were presented at Rio+20 in the EU’s pavilion:

  1. Research should highlight the gaps in policy so that policy can be readjusted accordingly.
  2. Clear goals are needed in order to measure progress.
  3. Science needs to play a key role in both goal-setting as well as evaluating the progress. 
  4. Holistic (cross-sectoral and multi-stakeholder) approach to policy making and technology transfer needed. 
  5. New policies should be designed with the outcomes of Rio+20 in mind.

Ecological resilience: a life insurance policy for communities

By Peter Bjerregaard

What is the Green Economy really? That was the key question posed by UNEP here in Rio this week when experts and policy makers met in the UNEP Pavilion for a discussion on the link between research and policy during the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20).

The overall answer to the question was to integrate nature and start valuing the services provided by ecosystems, such as water, agriculture and biodiversity. One of the main points of discussion was therefore the importance of creating healthy and resilient eco-systems for the long-term socio-economic development. To do so, Patrick ten Brink, Head of the Environmental Economics Team at the Institute for European Environmental Policy, stressed that we need clear goals for how we should measure progress, and that science needs to play a key role in both goal-setting as well as evaluating the progress. 

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Tancrède Voituriez presents his project SustainableRIO - a project that aims to disentangle the components of this paradox and to derive conceptual insights for the definition of sustainable development (EU) policies in a globalised world.

Science helps policy makers to make informed decisions. Science can tell us where we will need water in the future and how this will affect communities in these areas,

Patrick Ten Brink, IEEP

Patrick Ten Brink, IEEP, presents the KNOSSOS project’s Green Economy policy brief

Event 3 - Key Messages

At the UN conference on sustainable development Rio+20 on 18 June we held our second event with a range of conference attendees. The following key messages were taken from the event:
  1. A strong science policy interface is needed so that politicians know what research is being done & how they can use it.
  2. Improving the science policy interface is key to effective research-based policy.
  3. Partnership approaches will be even more important in the future, in particular with actors at regional and local levels (cities).

Policy Brief that highlights key research results and policy options to support the transition to a green economy.

Antonio Navarra presents his project 'CIRCE' at the UNEP Pavilion. CIRCE aims at developing for the first time an assessment of the climate change impacts in the Mediterranean area.

Event 2 - Key Messages

At the European Parliament in Strasbourg on 13 June 2012 our second event was held with EU parliamentarians on a new green economy policy brief [PDF]. The parliamentarians gave the following key messages to the general role of research.

  1. Social and cultural importance in innovation should not be underestimated.
  2. More reliable data and assessments over an extended time period are needed in order to create, evaluate, and readjust policy.
  3. Macro assessments are needed to evaluate the impact of changes in business practices on reaching environmental goals.
  4. Both policy and research need a holistic approach which incorporates social, economic, and environmental factors.
  5. Need for better availability and access to modelling and projections that factor in future realities - like climate change or food security – to be able to provide responses.

EVENT 1 - Dr Benedict Mutua, Dean, Faculty of Engineering & Technology, Egerton University, Kenya - on “How research can best inform the transition to a green economy.” 

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