In 2015, the international community unanimously adopted a commitment to sustainable development as a plan for the future of humanity and its home planet. The commitment was enshrined in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Agenda is currently mobilising pervasive and ubiquitous scientific and operational efforts. A global community of scientists is currently engaged in solving scientific problems such as the lack of unified methodologies for research and applications in sustainable development and the link between the development goals.
Climate change is one of the global factors that interacts with most development goals and acts as a ‘threat multiplier’ and ‘conflict accelerator’. The risks of instability are particularly acute in areas where a fragile ecosystem overlaps with a fragile society burdened by historical, social, economic or governance problems. The Mediterranean and sub-Saharan areas are, and are expected to become increasingly so, a hotspot of such dynamics.
On the occasion of the International Seminar on Planetary Emergencies held in Erice in August 2017, scientists participating in the Permanent Monitoring Group on Sustainability proposed to establish an International School on Environment, Conflict and Migration, driven by the need to provide the international community with the contribution of Erice’s knowledge relevant to understanding, managing and achieving the SDGs framework.
The school is aimed at the scientific community, public and private sector decision-makers, NGOs and community leaders. It is an opportunity for science, but also for meeting and sharing knowledge among various stakeholders, particularly with developing countries that are facing the most severe impacts. It will address key issues at the intersection of resource exploitation and environmental consequences that contribute to conflict and subsequent migration.