WAAS Statements

The Security and Sustainability Guide

Founded in 1960, the Academy (worldacademy.org) is a non-profit public benefit organization with a membership of some 750 elected Fellows and Associate Fellows, chosen for their excellence in interdisciplinary thinking.  The registered office of WAAS is in Napa, California, and its administrative office is in Pondicherry, India. Purposes of the Academy are “to contribute to the progress of global civilization, human welfare, the evolution of global governance, peace, the sustainable development of the planet, and the realization of human dignity…” (and) “To function as a transnational forum for examination of important global issues from a multidisciplinary and transdisciplinary perspective…”

Statement by Prof. Heitor Gurgulino de Souza 

(Brasilia; Hon. President, WAAS; former Rector, United Nations University, Tokyo)

When the Charter of the United Nations was written in San Francisco in 1945, the 51 founding members included the words “We the peoples of the UN determined: to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war” and “to unite our strength to maintain peace and security.”

Security was very important at that time, and a Security Council of five permanent members and ten others elected for two-year terms was established and given strong powers to govern planning and action. The Security Council continues unchanged, despite the fact that “security” for the 194 UN members in 2014 has become far more complex and demanding.  In 1945, security was seen mostly as the traditional military and as issues of national security, mostly focusing on conflicts among nations.

Today, security embraces many other areas, and distinctions have been blurred between traditional military and civilian sectors, public and private sectors, combatants and non-combatants, and even war and peace.

Environmental issues first received global attention at the UN’s Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment in 1972.  The concept of “sustainable development” was introduced in 1987 in the Our Common Future report of the World Commission on Environment and Development, led by Gro Harlem Brundtland of Norway.  In 1992, the UNCED Earth Summit conference was held in Rio de Janeiro.  Formally titled the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, it connected the concepts of sustainability for both environment and development.

There can be no doubt that security and sustainability, in their broadest sense, are vital for humanity in the 21st century, and, increasingly, both should be considered together.  We must congratulate Marien, Harries, and Sales for providing us with this important Guide describing key active organizations worldwide, all seeking to attain the intertwined objectives of security and sustainability for the betterment of all people and the planet.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]

Statement by Garry Jacobs  

(CEO and former Board Chair, World Academy of Art and Science)

The S&S Guide is a valuable source of knowledge about our emerging global society, and an invaluable practical tool for those who seek greater understanding of the expanding breadth and depth of research, policy formulation, and activities related to the domains of security and sustainability.

The Guide documents the rapid, mostly silent expansion of global civil society in recent decades—non-profit research and activist organizations and the private foundations that fund them—a highly significant landmark in the emergence of human community.  It also documents a wide variety of UN agencies promoting sustainability, various university programs and agencies of national governments, for-profit green consultants, and selected businesses that are often inspired or prodded by NGOs and UN programs such as the Global Compact.

More significantly, the Guide reveals the growing awareness of the interdependence of the major global challenges confronting humanity in the 21st century “Anthropocene” era.  A major theme is that security and sustainability are inseparable, and rest on a complex nexus of factors: peace, disarmament, conflict prevention, human rights, democracy, decent employment, democracy, equality, migration, resilience, climate change and pollution mitigation, sustainable development, planetary boundaries, etc.  The fragmented approach to understanding and addressing these challenges is gradually being replaced by systemic emphasis on the linkages and underlying factors they have in common.  Reflecting this reality, humanity urgently needs to evolve new human-centered concepts, strategies, and policies—which will be patently “cost-effective” when full costing and other “new economics” concepts such as the Genuine Progress Indicator are widely accepted.

While national governments and many academicians still cling to obsolete notions of sovereignty, security, and progress, most of the organizations described in this Guide are advocating truly global and transdisciplinary thought, and collective action via alliances, coalitions, consortia, and networks—many identified here.  Together, these new organizations play a vital role in positive social evolution.