Statement of Major Groups and Stakeholder Science and Technology at the third session of the United Nations Environment Assembly

Thank you Mr. Chair.

Science presents clear evidence of the various negative impacts of pollution, and the need to act with urgency if we are to have a sustainable future. Yet many governments do not hear or act on this message.

We hope that UNEA 3 will provide a number of opportunities to strengthen the science-policy interface at local, national, regional and international levels.

While technological innovations are an important part of the solution, they alone will not suffice. Knowledge from across the natural and social sciences is needed to identify, assess and monitor new technologies for their environmental and social impacts, to ensure that proposed solutions are environmentally and socially appropriate. This includes ensuring rapid technology transfer from North to South.

We continue to strongly support the GEO-6 process, and look forward to the global version of the report. In addition, projects like The Earth System Governance project, Future Earth and The Sustainable Development Solutions Network are just a few other examples of ongoing scientific research that can also be instrumental in monitoring and setting indicators to address pollution.

Briefly, we recommend the following to UNEA 3:

Establish strong Environmental governance for all pollution issues (water, land, waste…etc) with regularly-updated legislation, including financial incentives and disincentives, community participation and data collection and monitoring.
More governmental incentive and financial support to research on safer alternatives to hazardous chemicals, with priority to non-chemical alternatives, e.g. agroecological farming.
Avoiding false solutions to address pollution issues, such as incineration for e-waste & plastics.
Professional science alone cannot provide information at the scales and resolutions necessary to understand environmental change. The dominant culture of scientific expertise does not account for different ways of knowing, and often fails to engage the public.  Thus, we strongly support the establishing of a Global Citizen Science Coalition. Citizen science emphasizes collaborative intelligence and co-creation to facilitate scientific and community-based solutions. Citizen science also provides active and meaningful ways to integrate of local and indigenous knowledge. 

Finally, UNEA 3 must ensure the full engagement of the scientific community at the global level  - so that no scientist is left behind.

Thank you