On invitation from STS Forum founder Koji Omi, the Tang Prize recently attended the forum in Japan to engage with scientists and other experts from around the world. Chang Herng-Yuh, Director of the Department of Planning and Development at the Tang Prize Foundation and other representatives attended the event from October 4 through 6.
On one of the central issues of the forum, sustainability, Director Chang vocalized the importance of the Tang Prize in the world: The Tang Prize in Sustainable Development awards outstanding contributors and innovators within the field of sustainability, said Director Chang, no matter their nationality. It focuses on real, substantive changes in the field, those which contribute to the well-being of humanity and the environment that we all share. The spirit of selflessness and contribution that these laureates represent has been a motivating factor for professionals in all areas of the field to share their research results for the benefit of all.
This year's STS was held at the Kyoto International Conference Center, the very same center where the signing of the Kyoto Protocol took place in 1997. The forum also focuses on what is called the "lights and shadows" of technology. As anyone out in the noontime sun knows, where there is light there is also, inevitably, shadow. Technology has raised the standard of living for humans on earth, but at the same time it has brought several ills along with it—problems in ethics, health, security, and environment. The STS Forum was created to bring such problems to the awareness of the public and discuss solutions among the world's foremost experts.
As the largest science and technology forum in the world, the STS Forum gathered a considerable 1,009 professionals from 93 countries to watch the opening ceremony on October 3. Attendees included Japanese PM Shinzo Abe, French PM Manuel Valls, and Deputy PM of Russia Arkady Dvorkovich. Discussions spanned topics far afield, from environment and energy, industrial innovation, oceanography, nuclear energy, regenerative and preventive medicine, infectious diseases, to the internet of things, and privacy and change in an ICT driven society.
The Foundation further pointed out that its inaugural laureate in Sustainable Development, former Norwegian Prime Minister and chair of the World Commission of Environment and Development Gro Harlem Brundtland, coined the term 'sustainable development' in the 1987 report Our Common Future: sustainable development is "development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs." Her 1987 report led to the UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in 1992 and the Kyoto Protocol five years later, both of which were legally binding agreements that put restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions and encouraged the world to live a more sustainable lifestyle.