14.08.2019 - UNESCO Montevideo Office

The right to science gains importance in Latin America and the Caribbean in times of special political and environmental impact of science

From August 20 to 21, 2019, Workshop The Human Right to Science: a Latin American perspective will be held in Buenos Aires, Argentina at the UNESCO Villa Ocampo Observatory.

From August 20 to 21, 2019, Workshop The Human Right to Science: a Latin American perspective will be held in Buenos Aires, Argentina (UNESCO Villa Ocampo Observatory)

It will be a closed discussion aimed at experts from the scientific, human rights, science ethics, scientific policy, ancestral knowledge and private sector communities, which is being organized by the Social and Human Sciences and Natural Sciences sectors of the UNESCO Regional Office of Science for Latin America and the Caribbean.

What is the right to science? Does the right to science have an individual dimension and a social or collective dimension? Is it a right of science professionals or of all people? Are indigenous peoples collective subjects of the right to science? Are the obligations of the State limited to the prohibition of the censorship of scientific expression, or should they create the conditions for scientific and technological development and for citizens to enjoy their applications? What obligations do research centers, laboratories, technology companies, and other private entities that develop science and technology have? These are some of the questions around which experts will be working during the days of the meeting.

UNESCO has already promoted a series of global meetings to discuss the right to science (Amsterdam -2007, Galway-2008 and Venice -2009) and has produced various documents, principles, statements and recommendations that somehow relate to the subject. Today, the development of the concept gains special importance in these times where scientific and technological advances are having a special political, ethical, social and environmental impact at national and global level.

In Latin America and the Caribbean, little has been studied and deepened in the right to science, beyond the reference in inter-American human rights instruments*. In response to this, recently, UNESCO has been creating discussion spaces in the region similar to the one being convened for next week, particularly in the framework of the CLACSO 2018 Conference or the BAPA + 40 Global Conference on South-South Cooperation of 2019. The objective of these meetings is to start positioning the issue in the Latin American and Caribbean region and begin a joint analysis of how the right to science should be understood from the regional perspective itself.

* For example, in Article 27, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states: “Everyone has the right ... to participate in scientific progress and the benefits that result from it ... Everyone has the right to the protection of moral interests and materials that correspond to it due to scientific productions… ”

Such consideration is ratified and reinforced in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (article 15), at the inter-American level, in the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man (article 13) and the Protocol of San Salvador on Social and Cultural Economic Rights - DESC (article 14), which include scientific progress also enjoy technological progress.

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