greatest challenge of our time is to create a world where all citizens
live in dignity and peace in a hospitable environment that they
have learnt to care for. Achieving this will require political will,
public support and science. In celebrating World Science Day for
Peace and Development 2003, we place particular focus on the role
of science, calling attention to the positive attributes and beneficial
consequences of scientific research and knowledge.
while we continue to marvel at new scientific discoveries and enjoy
the benefits of innovative technological developments grounded upon
scientific advances, there is a growing unease about science and
mounting concern about its adverse consequences. In some quarters,
these misgivings have turned into distrust and opposition, reactions
which are worrying because they may erode the foundations of public
support for science. That support, which is inseparable from public
confidence in science and scientists, can no longer be taken for
Today, therefore, the case for science needs to be re-made, in terms
that are convincing to a general public less and less deferential
towards the pure intentions of scientists or their greater wisdom.
Nor can the case for science rest on past achievements or on promises
of future benefits taken on trust. Science will increasingly need
to justify itself a new in the knowledge that its evidence and arguments
may be subjected to critical scrutiny by a more skeptical public.
should welcome these developments, especially when they are associated
with the proper functioning of democratic processes.At the same
time, scientists should work hard at educating policy-makers, opinion-shapers
and the general public about science - its purposes, its principles,
its methods, its critical and questioning spirit, and its many accomplishments.
In this perspective, science education should addressnot only education
in science but also education for and about science,taking the more
troubling and contentious issues confronting us intoactive consideration.
must become better communicators but this is not just about sending
out clear, accurate and relevant messages about science. It is also
about listening to the interaction between science and society aswell
as recognizing the failures and dangers of scientific activities
- the days of an automatic equation of "scientific development"
with "human progress" are long past. Consequently, the
education and training ofscientists, which should be considered
lifelong in character, must include the ethical, social and political
dimensions of scientific activity.
science is recognized as contributing to some of the problems and
looming crises facing our world, this does not mean that viable
solutions can leave science out of account. The design of realistic
solutions must be undertaken with science, not against it. We need
the contribution of science, for example, to analyse the extent
to whichhuman activities are responsible for climate change, environmental
degradation and other worrying phenomena. And it is scientists and
engineers who will help us to prepare for tomorrow's complex problems.
must be mobilized globally to address the enormous problems related
to public health, agricultural productivity, environmental degradation
and poverty. This will require addressing thevery real disparities
between the developed and developing countries when it comes to
producing scientific knowledge and using this knowledge for social
and economic benefit. Closing this knowledge gap will require, inter
alia, finding solutions to the unceasing exodus ofscientific brainpower
to the rich countries of the North.
the scientific knowledge gap also requires North-South andSouth-South
partnerships between scientists, institutions and governments. Science
is a shared enterprise. The pace of scientific progress and the
interrelations between global problems require teamwork and networking.
Consequently, national and international partnership and collaboration
between scientific institutions, academia, NGOs and other sectors
and disciplines are essential.
Science Day for Peace and Development is an occasion for UNESCO
to reaffirm the vision of scientific research as promoting theeconomic,
social and cultural development of nations and peoples and fostering
the prospects for peace and a sustainable future. Let us all commit
ourselves to working together for greater solidarity in the sharing
of scientific knowledge. Without global science, there can be no
sustainable development; without sustainable development, there
can be no global peace.