Other members of the 26-member UN Scientific Advisory Board include Rajendra Pachauri
, the Nobel Prize-winning chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and former Dorothy S. McCluskey Fellow, and Ahmed Zewail
, a Nobel laureate in chemistry and professor at the California Institute of Technology.
“Governments have been exploring ways to improve the science-policy interface for sustainability, and the creation of the UN Scientific Advisory Board is a very positive development,” says Ivanova
, who is now a professor at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. “Contemporary global problems require innovative solutions that combine insights from a number of fields. The board will seek to bring such innovation from the academy into the global policy process.”
And in many ways, she says, the purpose of the new board reflects that of the Global Environmental Governance Project, which she helped develop in 1998 with F&ES Professor Daniel Esty
, her advisor at the time. The project — which she still directs out of UMass Boston as part of the Center for Governance and Sustainability
— has provided a clearinghouse for the latest developments in environmental governance, a sometimes “brutal” analysis on how leaders are doing, and an honest broker that brings different groups together.
"In a sense, the UN board taps into exactly the same functions,” Ivanova says. “Each of us can tap into clearinghouses of knowledge and the state-of-the-art science across our various fields.”
She added: "Many of us have devoted our lives to pursuing particular questions — often very policy–relevant questions — but the UN has not engaged us. This is a way to change that dynamic."