Committee on Chemical Research Applied to World Needs (CHEMRAWN)


The Continued Need for CHEMRAWN within IUPAC

by Leiv K. Sydnes

At the General Assembly (GA) in Paris in July 2019, the IUPAC Bureau recommended to Council that CHEMRAWN should be dissolved. This led many to question ‘What is the purpose of the CHEMRAWN committee?’ and perhaps this can be seen most easily through what it has done and continues to do within its role in addressing topics relevant to the UN’s sustainable development goals.

As the readers of this publication of course know, IUPAC celebrated its centenary in Paris last year. After having been active in the union in various capacities for almost 30 years I was indeed looking forward to the grand event. But the feeling of anticipation disappeared when I learnt that CHEMRAWN—the IUPAC Committee on Chemical Research Applied to World Needs—could cease to exist at the end of 2019 depending on the decision of Council. To me, serving both the presidential succession of the Union (2002-2007) and as Chair of CHEMRAWN for two periods (2008-2015), this caused significant dismay. Therefore, to make the IUPAC membership aware of what was going to be proposed at the GA, I took the initiative to write to all members of the Union and tell them what was about to happen. I was therefore not surprised when NAOs and delegates approached me and asked a number of questions before and after the GA. In fact, I still receive questions; not only that, it is clear that some people are not aware of the committee’s work and so after some reflection, I decided to write this article.

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Feeding the World in a Time of Climate Change

by Gary W. van Loon and Atanu Sarkar


Maintaining a plentiful and high-quality food supply is essential to enable humans to survive and flourish in the coming decades.  In 2019/20, an estimated 2.71 Gt of food grains have been produced worldwide.  This fundamental food source is alone enough to supply sufficient nutritional kilocalories for the entire current global population.  And nutrition is supplemented by the many other crops, livestock and sea food that are part of the over-all food system.  Yet, in the  same  year,  it  is  estimated  that  around  821  million  people,  more  than  one  tenth  of the 7.6 billion people in the world were chronically hungry.  There are many reasons for this.  Waste—the FAO estimates that around one third of food produced is wasted—is certainly one, but also important are the inequities in the food production and supply system.  While much can and should be done to correct these two critical problems, sustainable agriculture remains as the core feature of a healthy food supply. 

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Pure and Applied Chemistry Chemical Research Applied to World Needs (CHEMRAWN) issue 407

by Francesca M. Kerton

CHEMRAWN, which stands for Chemical Research Applied to World Needs, is a standing committee of IUPAC. It was established in the mid-1970s, with the purpose of increasing IUPAC’s engagement with societal issues related to chemistry. The committee’s work targets the use of chemical research to meet unmet world needs through the application of chemistry and chemical technologies. Many of the issues that CHEMRAWN members have been involved with over the past decades are now encompassed by the UN Sustainable Development Goals. In 2021, the CHEMRAWN XXII conference “E-waste in Africa” will be held in Lagos, Nigeria using a hybrid model to allow global involvement during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. This milestone in our conference series comes 43 years after the first CHEMRAWN Conference, which was on “Future Sources of Organic Raw Materials”. The consideration of sugars, carbon dioxide and other materials as alternate feedstocks to fossilized resources (e.g. petroleum) is still important today, as exemplified by some of the articles in this special issue. CHEMRAWN conferences over the past four decades have covered an array of topics including agriculture, water, health and energy.

For further reading, click here (PAC Special topic issue)


CHEMRAWN committee members