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Sustainability as a trademark of the ERA

Sustainability should be a trademark of the European research Area (ERA), write Erik Fellenius and Ingvar Andersson in the Chairman's conclusions of the 'Bridging the gap. Sustainability research and sectoral integration,' conference, organised by the Swedish presidency, which...

Sustainability should be a trademark of the European research Area (ERA), write Erik Fellenius and Ingvar Andersson in the Chairman's conclusions of the 'Bridging the gap. Sustainability research and sectoral integration,' conference, organised by the Swedish presidency, which took place in May in Stockholm, Sweden. 'The existing Fifth Research Framework programme and the implementation of the European Research Area (ERA) are adding an important dimension to sustainable development. [...] However, there is a gap between research and necessary actions on the environment and sustainable development. The European research area should help to bridge the gap. This applies particularly to the new initiatives on governance, a concept particularly well suited to solving this issue,' state the conclusions. In particular, the conference recommended that researchers should contribute to sustainable development by focusing their research efforts in six unsustainable trends: combating climate change caused by greenhouse gases, developing efficient natural resource management, including the decoupling of economic growth from resource use, protecting public health including the effects of chemicals, developing land use and transport that allow for sustainable mobility, combating social exclusion and poverty and understanding the implications of an ageing society. Six sector specific issues are highlighted for closer attention in the future: - health and the environment - the challenge of chemicals in our society; - climate change - a challenge for the transport sector; - sustainable development and global trade; - climate change - towards an energy efficient society; - information and communication technology; - greening agriculture - challenges for a new rural economy. The conclusions also call for long term research, combining the three pillars of sustainability: economy, ecology and society. A new kind of research must balance innovation, opportunities and risks, states the paper.untry's minist

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