Berlin, June 20th, 2012 – The Global Young Academy today issued a sharply worded statement calling on the scientific community to do more to promote progress towards global sustainability. “The problem is not science, it is leadership”, said GYA co-chair Rees Kassen.

Members of the GYA feel a special urgency on sustainability, since many of them came of age in the period between the first ‘Earth Summit’ on sustainability at Rio in 1992, and the United Nations Conference on Sustainability – the so-called Rio+20 meeting – starting today. “We are the inheritors of the decisions being made over the next three days”, said GYA co-chair Bernard Slippers, “so we have a vested interest in charting the way forward”.

The ‘Sandton Declaration’ makes it clear that sometimes scientists are their own worst enemy. Reward structures in science often discourage or even punish public engagement and outreach. “This must change”, Kassen says. The declaration calls on the scientific community to revise its reward structures to value knowledge mobilization by scientists themselves. It also encourages scientists to take a more active role in promoting the use of scientific evidence in decision-making and encouraging inquiry-based science education in schools and universities.

About GYA
The Global Young Academy, founded in 2010, is the voice of young scientists around the world. Members are chosen for their demonstrated excellence in scientific achievement and commitment to civil society. Currently there are 172 members from 54 countries.

For more information:
Bernard Slippers, GYA co-chair (South Africa); , tel: +27-12-420-2463
Rees Kassen, GYA co-chair (Canada); , tel: +1 613 562-5800 x6978
Heidi Wedel, GYA Managing Director (Germany); , tel: +49 30 20370 631