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SECOND REPORT ON INTERNATIONAL SCIENTIFIC ADVISORY PROCESSES ON THE ENVIRONMENT AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
PROBLEMS OF THE ENVIRONMENT
INTERNATIONAL COUNCIL FOR SCIENCE (ICSU-SCOPE)
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The Scientific Committee on Problems of the Environment (SCOPE) was established by ICSU in 1969 as an interdisciplinary body of natural science expertise, which addresses constraints of society on the environment as well as the human response to environmental issues. The SCOPE scientific programme consists of projects that focus on the concepts and practices of sustainability. Sustainability is defined as maintaining the life-support system of humankind by safeguarding the natural resource base over time. A long-term aim is to assist in the design of processes and practices which reduce the depletion rate of non-renewable resources, identify substitute resources, and assure a sustainable supply of renewable resources.
Membership Composition and Dynamics:
Save for its Secretariat, SCOPE has a flexible programme and no pre-defined structure. It is seen to acts as an interface between science and decision-making, providing advisors, planners and policy-makers with the analytical tools to promote sound management and policy practices.
Work and Outputs:
Project proposals are submitted by Members for the approval of the General Assembly. Each project included in the programme independently establishes its objectives and work plan under the guidance of a Scientific Advisory Committee. The programme's 3-cluster structure (Managing societal and natural resources; Ecosystem processes and biodiversity; Health and environment) promotes overall coordination, interaction and consistency.
SCOPE network scientists also contribute their expertise to certain outreach activities, within international intergovernmental or non-governmental programmes.
Current SCOPE Projects:
Cluster 1 - Managing Societal and Natural Resources (MSNR): This includes projects founded on scientific research, but emphasising its applications in developing options for practices and policies leading to a more sustainable biosphere: Sustainable Biosphere Project (SBP); Ecological Engineering and Ecosystem Restoration; Global Invasive Species Programme (GISP); Environment in a Global Information Society (EGIS); Environmentally-Sound Agricultural Practices; Urban Waste Management; Material Flow Analysis; Implications of Aquaculture and Mariculture on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Processes; and, environmental transformations in peri-urban systems.
Cluster 2 - Ecosystem Processes and Biodiversity (EP&B): This includes projects which focus on ecosystem processes, how these processes operate and interact with human activities, and the significance of biological diversity in relation to ecosystem functioning: Nitrogen Transport and Transformation; Earth Surface Processes, Material Use and Urban Development (ESPROMUD); Soils and Sediment Biodiversity and Ecosystem Functioning; Dynamics of Mixed Tree-Grass Systems; Resilience and Behaviour of Large-Scale Ecosystems; Land-Ocean Nutrient Fluxes: Silica Cycle; Interactions of the Major Biogeochemical Cycles; Use of Molecular Biology in the Study of Environmental Issues; and, International Programme on Ecosystem Changes (IPEC).
Cluster 3 - Health and Environment (H&E): This includes projects that develop methodologies for assessing chemical risk to human and non-human targets, and use case studies of environmental contamination to assess the health and environmental risks of specific chemicals: SGOMSEC; Mercury Transport and Transformation; Cadmium in the Environment; Radioactivity at Nuclear Sites (RADSITE); Vector-Borne Diseases and Environmental Change; and, Endocrine Disruptors/ Modulators.
Results of SCOPE projects are usually published as scientific monographs. The 59 titles in the SCOPE Series are widely referenced state-of-the-science analyses and evaluations of environmental issues. Other outputs (including executive summaries, journal articles and brochures) target a wider audience, and these have been well-received by those involved in policy-making, planning and decision-making.
Ted Munn, Anne Whyte and
Peter Timmerman, 'Emerging Environmental Issues: A Global Perspective of
SCOPE,' Ambio (V.28, N.6, September 1999) pp. 464-471.
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