Science academies unite for sustainable development and poverty reduction

Marina Lemle

Marina Lemle
Freelance journalist, SciDev.Net

Science academies should mobilize the best brains worldwide and from different disciplines to assist in defining, addressing and solving grand challenges in health, food, water, energy, biodiversity, climate, disaster management and education.

This will be a recommendation from the Rio 2013 Letter on the Role of Science Academies in Grand Challenges and Integrated Innovations for Sustainable Development and Poverty Eradication, coming out of the 7th  IAP Conference, held in Rio de Janeiro (24-26 February).

The letter was prepared by the conference’s scientific committee before the event, and discussed during the final plenary session. A few words were changed or included, but the main idea – the necessity of strenghening the role of science academies in advising governments and decision-makers on the best sience and technology based policies for acting on grand challenges and poverty issues – was preserved.

The scientists agreed that academies of science should work both individually and jointly towards helping to reach post-2015 UN Sustainable Development Goals, as well as to stimulate a coordinated application of scientific, technological, social and business innovation to complex challenges.

They also said academies should assist in mentoring young scientists and promoting the participation of women in science.

“Scientific and technological entrepreneurship must belong to all, independent of nationality, religious belief, social background, ethnicity, or gender,” says the letter, which will be released later this week.

And the academies should be raising the level of public engagement, appreciation and understanding of science, by communicating successful experiences and case studies in a format easily understood by the general public.

According to Marcos Cortesão, from the Brazilian Academy of Sciences, each academy will publicize the letter nationally and to their governments.

“It’s of our interest that the society becomes aware of this potential support scientific community can give to the construction of our future,” said Cortesão.

This blog post is part of our coverage of 2013 Global Network of Science Academies (IAP) conference which takes place 24-26 February 2013, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. To read further news and analysis please visit our website.

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