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Science for Sustainable Development


Bettina Schlüter, Björn Müller-Bohlen, Dorothee Dzwonnek, Jörg Hinrich Hacker, Elisabeth Weiser, Michael Hoch, and Maria Hohn-Berghorn (f.l.t.r.)


Jörg Hinrich Hacker, Dorothee Dzwonnek, and Michael Hoch (left to right) shortly before the beginning of the lecture.


Moderator Kai Pfundt, editor at the Bonner Generalanzeiger, opened the evening and welcomed our guests.


About 130 people came to join the first event of our new lecture series "Global Solutions for Sustainable Development" with members of the UN Secretary General's Scientific Advisory Board.


Rector of the University of Bonn, Michael Hoch, gave a warm welcome address.


Dorothee Dzwonnek, Secretary-General of the German Research Foundation (DFG), introduced SAB member Jörg Hinrich Hacker.


In his lecture, Jörg Hinrich Hacker spoke about the importance of science for sustainable development.


During the discussion, questions about science communication, the collaboration of the sciences and policy-makers, as well as the education of science were brought up.


Our audience was invited to join the discussion.

[Global Solutions] The opening event of the new lecture series “Global Solutions for Sustainable Development” with members of the Scientific Advisory Board of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon took place at the Bonner Universitätsforum on April 13th, 2016. The Rector of the University of Bonn, Prof. Michael Hoch, opened the evening and the lecture series. Dorothee Dzwonnek, Secretary General of the German Research Foundation (DGF), introduced the speaker of the evening and SAB member, Prof. Jörg Hinrich Hacker.

What is the role of science for sustainable development? To what extent is a close collaboration of the scientific, social and political sphere crucial? Moreover, on which basis did the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon found the Scientific Advisory Board and why? These questions and other aspects were thoroughly addressed by Prof. Hacker in the first presentation of the new lecture series “Global Solutions for Sustainable Development”.

Opening the evening, moderator Kai Pfundt greeted our almost 130 guests. Before Prof. Hacker gave his speech, Prof. Michael Hoch extended a warm welcome. He valued the importance of science for the University of Bonn and, also, the City of Bonn. Subsequently, Dorothee Dwzonnek outlined the academic background of Prof. Hacker and introduced him to the audience.

In his lecture, Prof. Hacker addressed various aspects concerning the significance of science for sustainable development. In his role as the German member of the UN Secretary General’s Scientific Advisory Board (SAB), he summarized the development and structure of the SAB. In this context, he also referred to the inaugural meeting in January 2014, in which Ban Ki-Moon expressed the need for a strong global “commitment to put the world on a sustainable path”. 

In his presentation, Hacker highlighted that science, technology, and innovation have to be seen as critical means of implementation for sustainable development. In addition, he stated that there is a high need for a broad understanding of science and, most importantly, an integrated scientific approach. He mentioned five guiding principles that scientists and policy-makers need to address together: the recognition of science as a universal public good, the acknowledgment of basic science as a fundamental need for innovation, the enhancement of diversity in science, the reiteration of the decisive role of science education, and the promotion of interdisciplinary scientific cooperations. To underline the significance of such cooperations, Prof. Hacker pointed out how scientists and policy-makers need to work together to successfully fight infectious diseases, like Ebola or the Zika Virus. Additional funding, prioritized research agendas, global surveillance programs and plans for a coordinated rapid response are required to fulfil Sustainable Development Goal 3 (Good Health and Well-Being) by 2030.

After the presentation, the audience joined the discussion which was shaped by critical questions concerning educational programs of science within schools and universities. Furthermore, the current state of the collaboration between different branches of science and politics was touched upon. Even though Prof. Hacker was optimistic about the development of the public recognition and appreciation of science in general, he implied a decisive need for improvement. Being asked about the global cooperation of different sciences and policy-makers, he stated that the basic sciences, as well as the applied sciences and social sciences, should be more present in the current public discourse. Therefore, it would be of great significance to bridge the science-policy gap through a more efficient and coherent science communication.


The lecture series is coorganised by the German Commission for UNESCO, the Forum Internationale Wissenschaft (fiw) and the Liaison Office International Academic Sciences of the UN City of Bonn. 

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