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Posted on on October 22nd, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (

THE INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR SYSTEMS ANALYSIS – IIASA – Celebrates its 40th Birthday at a Conference in the Rooms of the Austrian Presidency.

International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis
Laxenburg, Austria (22 October, 2012) How can science and policy come together to provide solutions to global problems? This week, international scientists, policymakers, and business leaders will come together to discuss our global future, as well as the latest findings from researchers who study global issues, at the IIASA 40th Anniversary Conference: Worlds Within Reach – From Science to Policy from 24-26 October, 2012.

The opening session on 24 October features speakers such as Austrian president Heinz Fischer, Nobel prize-winners Thomas Schelling, Carlo Rubbia, and international sustainable business leader Bjorn Stigson.

Media are invited to a press conference following the opening session to ask questions of high-level speakers.

IIASA, the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, is an independent research institute that studies problems of global importance. Systems analysis combines detailed modeling work with a broad examination of interconnected areas. At the conference, IIASA scientists and researchers from around the world will present new findings in the areas of energy, climate change, food security, water resources, and ecosystems management.

IIASA Director and CEO Prof. Pavel Kabat will highlight the role of systems analysis in supporting the sustainability goals of Rio+20. He says, “Narrowly focused, single-disciplinary science alone cannot adequately underpin policies and solutions to resolve major sustainability challenges.”

IIASA Deputy Director Nebojsa Nakicenovic will describe his vision for a sustainable future, based on IIASA’s unique brand of systems analysis. If we can get away from business-as-usual practices and policies, and transform our old systems into sustainable ones, says Nakicenovic, we can find our way to a more equitable and sustainable world.

Keywan Riahi will discuss key findings from the Global Energy Assessment (GEA), the first comprehensive global assessment of energy challenges, scenarios, and pathways for change. The report involved 300 authors and 200 reviewers worldwide, and was made available for free as an online PDF on 20 October, 2012.

Wolfgang Lutz will provide new findings from IIASA’s  population projections to 2050, which project a world population of around 9 billion people in less than 40 years’ time. The projections have been analyzed by 600 international experts and their views will serve as the “human core” of new IPCC projections.

Michael Obersteiner will show that to balance the need for greater food with preserving the environment and biodiversity, we need a range of new efforts from  individual lifestyle changes, shifts in human diets, to scientific inquiry that improves our understanding of land cover. Improving data about land cover can help lands be managed more intelligently to preserve the biosphere while also providing sufficient material goods for our survival and wellbeing.

Zbigniew Klimont will speak about recent findings of 14 “win-win” measures that would simultaneously benefit the climate, the environment, and human health. These measures must supplement, not replace efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, says Klimont.

Sabine Fuss will present research showing how climate change will create more instability in many areas that link to food production, such as water, weather, and land use. Fuss’ research examines a variety of solutions geared towards several different climate scenarios, but finds that there is no one single solution that works across all possible scenarios.

David Wiberg will discuss the new World Water Scenarios project, a joint effort coordinate by IIASA, UNESCO, and other groups. The project defines a variety of scenarios, working with stakeholders and scientists to include the many factors, from climate, population, and agriculture, to determine how much water might be needed, and how much water will be available in 2050.  The project aims to provide a toolbox for decision-making at local and international levels.

The conference program is available at
A Media Kit will soon be available with story ideas, contact information, speaker information, and more.
The conference will be livestreamed via the web site:

On Wednesday, 24 October, media are invited to a press conference with speakers from the IIASA 40th Anniversary Conference.

Date: 24 October 2012
Time: 11:00-11:45
Location: Press Room, Hofburg Palace, Vienna

Q&A Session with High Level Speakers & Dignitaries

During the opening session of the IIASA Conference on 24 October, attendees will hear discussions from top policymakers and scientists. These three sessions will provide the background for the conference, and set the stage for more detailed discussions of global issues and potential solutions. Speakers in this session will address science and policy support for global transitions to a more sustainable and equitable world.

Following the first opening session, from 11:00 to 11:45, journalists will have the opportunity to participate in a Question and Answer session with key speakers from the three opening sessions. The press conference will include the following speakers:

  • Pavel Kabat is Director and CEO of IIASA, the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis. He argues that a systems analysis approach – science that takes a broad view of issues and their interconnections – is key to solve global problems.
  • Nebojsa Nakicenovic is Deputy Director of IIASA. Says Nakicenovic, if we can get away from business-as-usual practices and policies we can find our way to a more equitable and sustainable future.
  • Sergey Glaziev is Counselor of the Admninistration of the President of the Russian Federation. He is known for championing social justice and opposing political corruption.
  • Nina Fedoroff is a professor at Pennsylvania State University and King Abdullah University of Science and Technology. Federoff will discuss how human population growth is putting pressure on the food supply, the environment, and the climate.
  • Gusti Muhammad Hatta is the Minister of Research and Technology in Indonesia. He believes Indonesia should look to science and technology to add value to natural resources in the country.
  • Wolfgang Lutz is the head of IIASA’s World Population Program. He notes the importance of people in considering sustainability. His research suggests that the world population will grow to 9 billion by 2050.
  • Thomas Schelling is a Nobel Prize-winning economist at the University of Maryland, where he studies conflict and cooperation in problems such as climate change. Schelling emphasizes that the worst impact of climate change will be on the poor in the poor countries.
  • Bjorn Stigson,  is the chairman of Stigson & Partners AB, and was until 2011 the president of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, which he founded. Stigson notes that the business community has a crucial role in the transformation to a sustainable world.

Moderator: Nisha Pillai, former BBC News anchor


For more information or to register for the conference please contact:
Katherine Leitzell, Press Officer and Communications Specialist
IIASA Press Office

Tel: +43 2236 807 316
Mob: +43 676 83 807 316

International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Schlossplatz 1 A-2361
Laxenburg, Austria

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