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Chemical Sciences in Development
The Chemical Sciences and Development
IOCD was founded at UNESCO in 1981. Our current priority focus is on promoting the chemical sciences for development and especially for global sustainability.
Call for essays: IOCD, in collaboration with the UK’s Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC), is launching an annual essay competition on the role of the chemical sciences in sustainability. Essays must not exceed 1500 words of main text. Entries will be grouped into seven regions for shortlisting and selection of winners, based on the entrant’s country of normal residence. Each regional winner will receive a prize of US$500 and their entries will be published in RSC Sustainability. The shortlisted essays will be collected in an annual compendium, Young Voices in the Chemical Sciences for Sustainability, published as a PDF online and available on IOCD’s website. Individual shortlisted entries will also be featured from time to time on IOCD’s website. The competition is open globally to entrants under 35 years of age on the submission deadline day of 31 March 2023. The aim is for selection of shortlisted candidates to be completed by mid-May and the seven regional finalists determined by mid-June.
The theme for the 2023 competition is: How can the chemical sciences lead the stewardship of the Earth’s element resources?
Submissions: Essays on the 2023 theme must be submitted, in English as a Word document, not later than midnight GMT on 31 March 2023 to accompanied by a completed Entry Form, available below.
Opening for part-time Competition Manager: IOCD is seeking a part-time project manager for its new Global Essay Competition. The work will cover the areas of (1) management and administration of the project, involving liaison with IOCD Secretariat, the processing of competition entries, and communicating with the essay competitors and evaluators; (2) data management; and (3) other communications work, including liaison with the website manager and inputting to web pages. The appointee will be self-employed, working from home. Application should be submitted as soon as possible, but not later than 15 January 2023.
News and Views
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

Transgressing planetary boundaries: A crisis wake-up call for chemistry. The IOCD group Chemists for Sustainability (C4S) has published a paper in the journal Chemical Science, calling for urgent attention to the crucial role that chemistry must play in tackling the multiple crises that are now unfolding due to the transgression of Planetary Boundaries. The nine boundaries define safe operating spaces within which humanity can continue to develop and thrive for generations to come and many of them are now being crossed, in part by the large and rapidly growing scale of biogeochemical flows. The deepening and accelerating crises in Earth systems cannot be ignored and there is a once-in-a-century opportunity for chemistry to make a critical difference to the future of people and planet. The C4S paper, which has been designated ‘pick-of-the-week’ by Chemical Science, proposes three crucial steps for chemists to respond to the wake-up call.
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.