The world forum of the International Research Foundation for Development will focus on the Implemention of Agenda 21 adopted during the Rio Conference on Environment. We are inviting researchers, policy makers, members of governments and advocacy groups, and all civil society members who are interested and concerned about sustainable development issues to participate in the World Forum. The main objective of this Forum is to contribute to the United Nations effort of ensuring the implementation of the Agenda 21.
   
 
The International Research Foundation for Development is engaged in mobilizing civil society through policy oriented research, education and advocacy on sustainable development. With this general objective, the world forum would like to draw the attention to implementation gaps outlined in the report of the Secretary-General issued on 20 December 2001 (E/CN.17/2002/PC.2/7).
   
    The reports have outlined four major gaps:
    1. A Fragmented Approach Towards Sustainable Development;
    2. Unsustainable Consumption and Production Patterns;
    3. A Lack of mutually coherent policies or approaches in the areas of finance, trade, Investment, technology and sustainable development;
    4. Insufficient Financial Resources, Inadequate Transfer of Technology, and Uneven and Volatile Capital Flows.
   
 
The Secretary General’s report further emphasizes the WTO’s focus of the development in trade negotiations, need for promoting coherence and consistency in the global financial system which will be the subject of the Conference on Finance and Development, the political will within a framework of partnerships combined with a renewed spirit of global cooperation and solidarity.
   
 
In line with the United Nations apprehension, the International Research Foundation for Development would like to mobilize its affiliates and interested parties to engage in a dialogue, research tasks, and participate in the upcoming events.
 
  Special Invitation to the Scientific Community
  “Towards a Sustainable Future” Five Areas of Action
(WEHAB) – UN Secretary General
   
 
The UN Secretary General has emphasized the need of research and development and more focused studies in the areas of Water and Sanitation, Energy, Agricultural Productivity, Biodiversity and Ecosystem Management, and Health. “No longer, it was hoped, would environmental protection be regarded as luxury or afterthought. Rather, environmental factors would be integrated with economic and social issues and become a central part of the policy making process” (UN SG,14 May, 2002, New York Times). The International Research Foundation for Development, through its project “Economy, Environment and Society” promotes the Secretary General’s view of integration and would like to mobilize the scientific community to share their research findings and engage in a dialogue with policy makers and the civil society at large to contribute to the Johannesburg Summit on Sustainable Development.
   
1.
Water and Sanitation
Scientific research to improve access, efficiency of water use, watershed management, reduce leakage, sustainable catchments, mining ground water, tropical land and water management, water needs for food production in developing countries.
   
2.
Energy
Clean energy supplies and improve energy efficiency. Improve sustainable practices, develop alternative energy technology. Exploitation and wider use of renewable energies. Energy diversification and rational use in industrial, agricultural, and transportation sectors. Development of bioclimatic architecture and building materials. Dissemination of information regarding energy sources and sustainable energy practices. Development of a stable international energy trade.
   

3.

Agricultural Productivity
Develop ideas to combat desertification, land degradation, human encroachment on forests, grasslands and wetlands. Challenge the adverse effects of pest control and fertilization while maintaining high-yield production.
   
4.
Biodiversity and Ecosystem Management
Combat the destruction of ecosystems, loss of species, and loss of genetic varieties. Protect forests, wetlands and coastal waters. Persevere on clamping down on illegal and unsustainable fishing and logging practices.
   
5.
Health
Research links between the environment and human health. Toxic chemicals and other hazardous materials, air pollution, indoor pollution caused by burning wood and dung, emissions from industry and automobiles, tropical diseases such as malaria and African Guinea Worm and its link to polluted water sources and poor sanitation.
   
 
   
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  International Research Foundation for Development, Inc.
  2830 South Holly Street
  Cambridge, MN 55008 - USA
  Ph: 763 689-2963; Fax: 763 689-0560
  e-mail: info@irfd.org