11 October 2016

GEF-IUCN International Dialogue on the Global Commons and Science Day

The Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) hosted an International Dialogue on the Global Commons on 12 and 13 October. This meeting was preceded by a Science Day on 11 October. IIASA Director General and CEO Professor Dr. Pavel Kabat also used the visit to strengthen relations with a range of academic, government, and international organizations in the USA.

Professor Dr. Pavel Kabat and Marcia McNutt, President of the National Academy of Sciences

Professor Dr. Pavel Kabat and Marcia McNutt, President of the National Academy of Sciences

International Dialogue on the Global Commons

The Global Commons: tragedy or opportunity? The world is reaching the limits of what it can provide sustainably. Life on Earth depends on clean air, biodiversity, and a stable climate. These global commons are the very foundation of our global economy, and are facing an all-too-familiar tragedy of over-exploitation and rapid degradation. With increasing pressures from humanity, the window of opportunity to act is closing quickly. It is crucial to bring about transformations in key economic systems, and leverage evidence and new information technology, political leadership, coalitions for change, and innovation. At this invitation-only event on 12 and 13 October, leading experts in science, academia, and economy, discussed how to turn the tide from tragedy to opportunity. The aim was to review scientific assessments, and evaluate transformative solutions to rethink the global commons, and the risks and opportunities they represent to a prosperous, but crowded, planet. Prior to the International Dialogue, a Science Day, supported by IIASA, Stockholm Resilience Centre, World Resources Institute, and the World Economic Forum, took place on 11 October.

IIASA Director General and CEO Professor Dr. Pavel Kabat, IIASA Deputy Director/Chief Executive Officer Nebojsa Nakicenovic, and Caroline Zimm, research assistant in the IIASA Transitions to New Technologies (TNT) program, attended the events. Nakicenovic gave a presentation titled The State of the Global Commons on 11 October at 9.30am as part of the Science Day. He was joined by Johan Rockström, Executive Director of the Stockholm Resilience Centre and IIASA Distinguished Visiting Fellow.

Strengthening Relations with the USA

The United States is a founding member of IIASA and its membership is underpinned by its relationship with academia (the National Academies of Sciences is the IIASA National Member Organization for the USA), government (IIASA’s systems analysis helps its member countries find solutions to the complex global challenges that they face), and a strategic and funding relationship with the National Science Foundation (NSF). During this visit Kabat met with:

Professor Dr. Pavel Kabat, IIASA Director General and CEO, and Dan Mote, President of the National Academy of Engineering © IIASA

Integrated Solutions for Water, Energy, and Land project

Integrated Solutions for Water, Energy, and Land project has been launched by IIASA, together with the Global Environment Facility (GEF), and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).

This new project aims to identify integrated solutions to energy, water, food, and ecosystem security in selected regions of the world. These are regions facing multiple energy and land use challenges and rapid demographic and economic changes, and are hardest hit by increasing climate variability and change.

The new project aims to answer questions about how to achieve the new sustainable development goals (SDGs) that will be set in 2015 with respect to climate change and sustainable development, including:

  1. how these goals can be jointly addressed;
  2. the costs of inaction; and
  3. how problems in one area may exacerbate or mitigate problems in other areas.

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Last edited: 06 October 2016


Pavel Kabat

IIASA Director General and Chief Executive Officer


T +43(0) 2236 807 402

Nebojsa Nakicenovic

IIASA Deputy Director General/Deputy Chief Executive Officer


Senior Research Scholar

Transitions To New Technologies

Senior Research Scholar


T +43(0) 2236 807 411

Caroline Zimm

Research Assistant

Transitions To New Technologies

T +43(0) 2236 807 274

International Dialogue – Background Information

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International Dialogue – Agenda

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Science Day – Agenda

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Tentative list of Participants

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Nakicenovic N, Rockström J, Gaffney O, & Zimm C (2016). Global Commons in the Anthropocene: World Development on a Stable and Resilient Planet. IIASA Working Paper. IIASA, Laxenburg, Austria: WP-16-019

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