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UN Science-Policy-Business Forum on the Environment: The Future of Citizen Science (Parallel Session)

Date & Time

Dec. 2, 2017
9:30am – 10:30am


UNON Conference Centre
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UN Science-Policy-Business Forum on the Environment: The Future of Citizen Science (Parallel Session)

By involving members of the public in authentic scientific research, citizen science helps test new concepts, accelerates discovery, and involves the public in evidence-based decision-making to create an informed and active society. Researchers estimate that 1.3-2.3 million volunteers offer up to $2.5 billion in kind support for biodiversity monitoring each year.  Citizen science provides hands on STEM learning, increases STEM literacy, and feeds the STEM pipeline.  Finally, citizen science leads to better decision-making.  Government agencies and businesses use citizen science to gather baseline data or asses the impacts of programs.  Individuals may adopt more green behaviors or contact a local government representative.

Many researchers around the world already use citizen science to combat pollution and promote sustainable development.  The challenge now is scaling our impact.  The future of citizen science lies in coordinating people, projects, and data; and, in engaging a range of partners in government agencies and businesses.  This session will begin with lightening talks that show how governments, universities, and NGOs bring different perspectives to bear on citizen science around the world.  A panel of experts will then discuss how coordination and partnership can help maximize the impact of citizen science on environmental governance and sustainable development. 

Among other questions, the session will seek to explore the following: 

•       How is citizen science promoting better environmental governance around the world?

•       How can citizen science help bridge the science-society gap, particularly in regard to local communities, local knowledge, and local decision-making?

•       How is citizen science already supported by governments agencies, and what additional support is needed?

•       What role can business partners play in supporting and benefiting from citizen science, for example by providing supporting technologies?

•       How can citizen science scale its impact through coordination and stakeholder engagement?

Key outcomes include recommendations for advancing global citizen science through coordination and partnership and announcement of a new Global Citizen Science Consortium.


Shannon Dosemagen, Executive Director, Public Lab

Michael Køie Poulsen, Co-founder, Nordic Foundation for Development and Ecology (NORDECO)

Gayle Hagler, Assistant Laboratory Director for Air, Climate, and Energy, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Panel Discussion

Moderator: Anne Bowser, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars

Prof. Johannes Vogel, General Director for the Museum für Naturkunde, Berlin.

Martin Brocklehurst, Honorary Policy Chair and Founding Member of the European Citizen Science Association (ECSA)

Sarah Marniesse, Director for the Mobilization of Research and Innovation, Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD)

Harry Verhaar, Head of Global Public & Government Affairs, Philips Lighting

Mr. James Donovan, Founder and Chairman, Global CEO Alliance

Prof. Paul Tiyambe Zeleza, Vice Chancellor and Professor of the Humanities and Social Sciences, United States International University-Africa

Hosted By

Science and Technology Innovation Program

Our science and technology policy experts translate compelxity, and explore converging and emerging technologies to maximize benefits and minimize risks.   Read more

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