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Chemical Sciences in Development
The Chemical Sciences and Development
IOCD is an independent, international non-governmental organization. It was founded at a meeting hosted at UNESCO in 1981. Our current priority focus is on promoting the chemical sciences for development and especially for global sustainability.
2023 competition under way: At the beginning of the year, IOCD, in collaboration with the UK’s Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC), launched an annual essay competition on the role of the chemical sciences in sustainability. The competition is open to entrants under 35 years of age and the theme for the 2023 essays is ‘How can the chemical sciences lead the stewardship of the Earth’s element resources?’. Entries from around 35 countries across the world were received by the closing date of 31 March and judging is now in progress, with the regional winners due to be announced at the end of June.
News and Views
Earth Day on 22 April 2023 has the theme ‘Invest in our Planet’. Chemistry, the science of transformation of matter, has a central role to play in making that investment work, by ensuring that all processes and products are sustainable and that the planetary boundaries of our delicate, interconnected Earth systems are not transgressed.

Federico Rosei, IOCD’s Executive Director, is one of the outstanding individuals across all fields who have been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2023. Professor Rosei is scientific head of the Nanofemtosecond Laboratory at the Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique in Quebec, Canada, where he holds the UNESCO Chair in Materials and Technologies for Energy Conversion, Saving and Storage and the Canada Research Chair in Nanostructured Materials.

Alain Krief, IOCD’s former Executive Director (2009-2020), was honoured with a Special Issue of the journal Synthesis to mark his 80th birthday. Members of IOCD’s group Chemists for Sustainability published an appreciation of Professor Krief’s contributions to chemistry and to IOCD in the Special Issue.

Three new Vice-Presidents: IOCD is delighted to announce the election of three people to serve as Vice-Presidents for terms of 5 years from 1 January 2023:
  • Régis Réau (France) as Vice-President for Industry
  • Catherine Ngila (Kenya) as Vice-President for Emerging Economies
  • Stephen Matlin (UK) as Vice-President for External Relations
Working for Sustainable Development
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), to be achieved by 2030, were agreed by governments at the UN in New York in 2015. The SDGs embrace a global vision of development for all and with responsibility shared by all countries. The 2020s is a critical decade for sustainability. Intensified efforts will be needed in the present decade to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals — 17 Goals and 169 targets associated with the UN's Agenda 2030. At the same time, a widening set of planetary environmental crises and emergencies is unfolding that urgently need attention — amidst warnings that actions taken in this decade are likely to impact on the state of the planet's environment for thousands of years to come.
IOCD's organizational strategy for focuses on promoting the chemical sciences for development and especially for global sustainability. For details, click here.
Chemistry and the SDGs: Chemistry's contribution is essential to meeting most, if not all, of the SDGs. Importantly, many of these contributions require that chemistry works in close concert with other disciplines to identify solutions that are practical, affordable and sustainable. IOCD is committed to working in partnership with others to ensure that chemistry fulfils its potential of contributing to sustainable development.
  • IOCD’s working group — Materials for Energy Conversion, Saving and Storage (MATECSS) — focuses on two critical areas. First, it aims to expedite technology transfer by connecting experts from around the world with local scientists, engineers and students in LMICs. Second, it aims to create a flow of knowledge and know-how to local stakeholders in low-and middle-income countries.
  • IOCD’s action group — Chemists for Sustainability — focuses on the roles of chemistry in sustainable development. The group has published extensively on aspects of the role and future of the chemical sciences.
  • IOCD and systems thinking in chemistry : IOCD has proposed a new orientation, ‘One-World’ Chemistry, which recognises the interconnectedness of human, animal and planetary health and embraces the need for chemistry to adopt systems thinking and cross-disciplinary working to tackle the emergent planetary challenges. In 2017-2019, IOCD collaborated with IUPAC in a global project to infuse systems thinking in chemistry education (STICE), co-led by Peter Mahaffy and Stephen Matlin. They are now, along with others, heading a new IUPAC project, Systems Thinking in Chemistry for Sustainability: Toward 2030 and Beyond (STCS 2030+), in 2020-2023.