The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is one such model of placing scientific assessments into the deliberative processes of a political assembly. These are surveys and analyses of the status of one or more important global problems, often with recommendations for international cooperative action. Part of the value of the IPCC rests on the credibility of its process. Its periodic reports have provided established information on trends in climate change to parties adhering to the UNFCCC, together with recommendations for actions that could be adopted in response. Other deliberative bodies could benefit from similar scientific and policy assessments that were undertaken on a periodic basis.

Recommendation 5. Assemblies and other deliberative bodies should make greater use of scientific assessment mechanisms, such as the IPCC, that have the transparency and credibility of a scientific process. Scientific assessment mechanisms provide a good model to be considered for other nonscientific, deliberative, and advisory processes.

In making these five recommendations, we recognize that each UN organization must adapt them to the circumstances of its own charters and operations. We also recognize that they cannot be implemented overnight and that they represent goals to be achieved by UN organizations over the first years of the 21st century.

The 20th century will be remembered for its great scientific and technological advances and their application to human welfare, especially in health, agriculture, and reduction of oppressive labor.1 Tragically, the use of some of these technological powers for destructive purposes has become a clear threat to human civilization. The challenge at the dawn of the 21st century is to harness the ever-growing power of science and technology for improving the human condition and the well being of the Earth’s life support systems for current and future generations. To fulfill this sustainability promise will require the mobilization of the scientific community of the world to contribute to this effort. One means for doing this is to make greater use of science and technology advice to the UN system in order to contribute to improved global governance. By strengthening its science advisory processes, the UN system will ensure its effective leadership in reaching goals of sustainability during the century ahead.


A committee of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering selected these developments as the most important engineering accomplishments of the 20th century: electrification; automobile; airplane; water supply and distribution; electronics; radio and television; agricultural mechanization; computers; telephone; air conditioning and refrigeration; highways; spacecraft; Internet; imaging; household appliances; health technologies; petroleum and petrochemical technologies; laser and fiber optics; nuclear technologies; and high-performance materials,

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