SETAC Globe - Environmental Quality Through Science
16 January 2014
Volume 15 Issue 1

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A Message from SETAC World Council Immediate Past President Bill Goodfellow

Bill Goodfellow, EA Engineering

SETAC is truly a global, professional scientific society with increasing membership in all regions of the world. Our well-respected and appreciated scientific program draws on the best environmental scientists and practitioners from governments, business and academia internationally. Society membership has risen to approximately 6,000 professionals representing more than 110 countries and is steadily increasing each year.   With the addition of Africa as a formal Geographic Unit (GU), our presence and collaboration in developing countries is on a broader and sounder basis, and our scientific program, already quite formidable, has been reinforced by our ever-growing global outreach. Through our GU network, we are able to address international as well as regional and local environmental problems and challenges. Our five GUs allow our “grass-roots” culture to be maintained and ensures decisions are made with our individual members clearly in mind. Most importantly, our science is particularly valued for its foundation in a consensus between the important sectors of government, business and academia, an approach based on SETAC’s founding principle of tripartite engagement and governance.

SETAC remains active within such significant global undertakings as the Stockholm Convention, the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Global Mercury Partnership, the international negotiations on a mercury convention, and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). We also are working with many partners from international governmental and nongovernmental organizations. Since 2002, the UNEP/SETAC Life Cycle Initiative has been the most visible and broad collaboration with UNEP, and we have expanded this relationship by working with UNEP Chemicals and other key units in the UN system. This initiative is currently in phase 3, an effort to mainstream life cycle thinking worldwide.

The World Council is particularly proud of the opportunities that SETAC programs offer to our members throughout their professional careers, in all geographies, and across the broad range of scientific disciplines encompassed by SETAC member interests. Our scientific programming is anchored by our well-attended annual meetings in key regions of the world. In 2013, we had annual meetings in Glasgow (SETAC Europe), Lusaka (SETAC Africa) and Nashville (SETAC North America). We also had special meetings on various topics in Hanoi, Kumamoto and Rome, as well as numerous branch and regional chapter meetings throughout the world.

We also successfully negotiated a new publishing contract this past year with our publishing partner, Wiley-Blackwell. As part of this new contract, we were able to ensure the same financial resources to SETAC while eliminating page charges for authors. This was very important for our journals to remain competitive, making sure that we continue to attract the best submissions for our respected journals, Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (ET&C) and Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management (IEAM).

SETAC’s global and regional workshops and symposia encourage the opportunity for scientific dialogue and debates on important and emerging issues that use science as part of management or impact policy decisions. Upcoming workshops and symposia will address eco-system services, hydraulic fracturing, life cycle impact assessments and marine debris, and they build on an already impressive portfolio of events, which most recently focused on global climate change, pollinators and pesticides, life cycle database parameters, predictive ecotoxicology, passive sampling devices and endocrine disrupters.

At the SETAC North America annual meeting, we initiated digital content capture of selected sessions, allowing attendees to be in more than one place at the same time as well as creating the opportunity for persons that were unable to attend the Nashville meeting to partake of our scientific programming. From the initial feedback, this appears to be a highly successful pilot program. We also kicked off the Global Horizon Scanning Research Prioritization Project this past year at the Lusaka and Nashville annual meetings, to bring forward the next generation of important environmental questions that need to be addressed both regionally and globally. Our goal for 2014 is to expand the project to the annual meetings of the remaining three GUs. 

SETAC committees and advisory groups continue to grow in response to member interest, and we are particularly proud of their efforts in working together across disciplines to tap the great potential of our interdisciplinary expertise and the passion of our members. I believe it is activities such as these that are SETAC’s greatest strength.

Our Society continues to be a leader in the sustainability dialogue. Sustainability was a principal theme of the World Congress in Berlin in 2012 and featured prominently in programming throughout 2013. SETAC training and capacity-building efforts encompass outstanding programs such as professional training courses at geographic and regional annual meetings, successful distance learning via well-attended webinars, regular podcasts from IEAM and the video roundtable from ET&C, and major international capacity-building events related to SAICM.

Our future goal is to continue adding to this impressive story in the years ahead, working towards our next World Congress in Orlando, Fla., USA. We know that members want to belong to a professional society that is impactful and meaningful. We are continuing to strive for providing the best tools and programming opportunities to meet this need. My colleagues on the SETAC World Council and I encourage you to be as active within the SETAC community as possible. Your contributions as individual members, and ours as a professional society, will continue to ensure that SETAC is a global scientific leader on the environment for years to come.

As we start the new year, I would like to thank the leadership and membership of SETAC for their continued support. I know that you will continue to provide support to our new SETAC President, Peter Campbell. I would also like to thank the SETAC World Council and members of the GU board of directors and councils for their dedication. The membership of all committees and advisory groups ensure that SETAC is relevant, thank you. I would also like to thank executive directors Greg Schiefer and Bart Bosveld along with their very dedicated staff for everything they do (much of it goes unnoticed but much appreciated). I would like to thank the editors and staff of the SETAC journals and Globe, as well as everyone that submits their manuscripts and news items or that serves as peer reviewer. Without your efforts, SETAC would not be the professional society that we have become. Finally, I would like to thank Mike Mozur, our past Global Executive Director, for his more than six years of energy and effort that he provided to SETAC.

Thank you all for what I believe was a very successful year in 2013!

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