21.11.2011 - Natural Sciences Sector

World Science Forum adopts declaration on new era of global science

For the first time, the World Science Forum has adopted a declaration. Acknowledging that the landscape of science is changing rapidly, the declaration adopted by participants on 19 November also contains five recommendations. Participants call for the responsible and ethical conduct of research and innovation, an improved dialogue with society on scientific issues, the promotion of international collaboration in science, collaborative policies to overcome knowledge divides in the world and, lastly, for a reinforcement of capacity-building for science.

The declaration echoes some of the key trends identified by the UNESCO Science Report 2010. It states, for example, that ‘the former triadic dominance of North America, Europe and Japan in global knowledge production has been seriously challenged and a new multipolar world of science has emerged, accompanied by the rise of new scientific powerhouses, which are now not only prominent actors in the world economy but have become key players in cutting-edge research and development activities. In this new context of global science, science diplomacy is now an acknowledged tool to promote partnership among nations by fostering scientific co-operation.

The declaration calls for a renewed engagement of all stakeholders to ensure that full use is made of the opportunities science may offer for development and prosperity. ‘It is the responsibility of those who promote science and scientists to maintain the primacy of moral and social concerns over short-term economic interest in the selection and implementation of industrialised research projects’, it states.

‘There is an urgent need to elaborate new, effective science policies at national, regional and global levels to better co-ordinate and monitor scientific research worldwide, to harmonise university education systems and to facilitate global and regional scientific co-operation based on equity and participation.’

The declaration calls for ‘comprehensive actions’ to ‘strengthen the role of women in science and innovation and to expand the participation of women in science and science policy making.’

These recommendations will inform UNESCO’s own programmes in the sciences.

This year, the biennial World Science Forum was organized by the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, in partnership with UNESCO, the International Council for Science. The forum was attended by 700 participants from 108 countries.

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