1135117 (Moses). An ad hoc NRC committee under the Science and Technology for Sustainability Program will identify and describe the need for sustainability linkages among domains such as energy, water, and health that are not routinely considered in decision making. The premise is that sustainability is a systems problem that cannot be achieved by separately optimizing its pieces. The study and subsequent report will highlight priority areas for interagency cooperation, at the federal level, on specific sustainability challenges and opportunities, as well as impediments to transdisciplinary jurisdictional programs and associated scientific research gaps as they relate to a systems approach to sustainability. The study will build upon existing and emerging expertise throughout the scientific, technological, and policy communities, describing the nexus where domains intersect but existing institutions and disciplines do not. The committee will convene a series of fact finding meetings, commission expert-authored case studies, review the pertinent literature, and author an overall consensus report. The report will include a decision framework that can be used by U.S. policymakers and regulators to help them examine the consequences, tradeoffs, synergies, and operational benefits of sustainability-oriented programs. The decision framework will include social, economic, and environmental dimensions of sustainability.

Project Report

. The premise is that achieving sustainability is a systems challenge that cannot be addressed by separately optimizing pieces of the system. To address this systems challenge, an ad hoc committee with a wide range of expertise and experience in government, academia, and business was convened. The committee was charged to produce a report with consensus findings that provides an analytical framework for decision formulation and decision making related to linkages of sustainability. This framework can be used by U.S. policy makers and regulators to assess the consequences, trade-offs, and synergies of policy issues involving a systems approach to long-term sustainability and decisions on sustainability-oriented programs. The framework was to include social, economic, and environmental domains of sustainability, highlighting certain dimensions that are sometimes left unaccounted for in cross-media analyses. Committee Meetings During the course of the study, the Committee on Sustainability Linkages in the Federal Government conducted several fact-finding meetings and committee meetings. The first committee meeting was held September 20-21, 2011 in Washington, D.C. During this meeting, sponsors discussed areas of interest to their agency or organization, and several panel discussions addressed a variety of perspectives (state and local, industry, nongovernmental, and national) on sustainability linkages. Three subsequent fact-finding workshops examined specific examples that cut across a variety of geographies and scales and featured a range of sustainability challenges. The purpose of these meetings was to examine in detail a number of approaches to challenges involving either connections among sustainability-related resources, or of linkages across agencies addressing such challenges. At these meetings, the committee heard from and questioned those involved about issues of science, monitoring, organization, communication, and governance. The geographies included sustainability management of coastal systems (the Puget Sound, the Great Lakes; second committee meeting in Seattle, WA, February 6-8, 2012), regional nonurban systems (the Mojave Desert, the Platte River; third committee meeting in Omaha, NE, April 11-12, 2012), and urban systems (Phoenix, Philadelphia; fourth committee meeting in Tempe, AZ, June 11-12, 2012). A fifth committee meeting was held on July 16-19, 2012 in Woods Hole, MA, to begin to draft the consensus report, and a sixth meeting was held on October 11-12, 2012 in Washington, DC. A Consensus Report, Sustainability for the Nation: Resource Connections and Governance Linkages On June 28, 2013, the Committee on Sustainability Linkages in the Federal Government publicly released a landmark consensus report, Sustainability for the Nation: Resource Connections and Governance Linkages. The report provides a decision framework for policymakers to examine the consequences and operational benefits of sustainability-oriented programs. The report also recommends priority areas for interagency cooperation on specific sustainability challenges; identifies impediments to interdisciplinary, cross-media federal programs; and highlights scientific research gaps as they relate to these interdisciplinary, cross-media approaches to sustainability. The report can be accessed for free on the National Academies Press web site at: www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=13471. A booklet that provides a brief summary of the report was also released, which can be downloaded at: http://sites.nationalacademies.org/xpedio/idcplg?IdcService=GET_FILE&dDocName=PGA_083865&RevisionSelectionMethod=Latest. Dissemination Activities With the release of the report, the STS program began a series of focused discussions with the goal of engaging in an ongoing dialogue with policymakers at all levels, from local to regional to federal, to disseminate the report findings and recommendations. On July 24, 2013, a special dissemination event was held at the University of California, Davis, CA. The event included several small roundtable discussions that focused on the report recommendations as well as a larger plenary session which was open to the public. The webcast of the plenary session can be found at: http://sites.nationalacademies.org/PGA/sustainability/PGA_083956. Additionally, a committee member presented the major findings and recommendations from the report at the American Public Health Association’s November 2013 meeting. On January 28-29, 2014, two events were organized at the annual National Council for Science and the Environment Conference held in Arlington, VA. During the January 28 symposia, committee members presented the findings and recommendations from the report while federal agency and private sponsors participated as discussants to talk about how the report resonates and could be applied to their work. The January 29 breakout workshop followed on the themes discussed during the symposia, including building partnerships, to implement the findings and recommendations of the report.

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