Mon, November 18, 2019
Celebrating the 20th anniversary of the 1999 World Conference of Science, the World Science Forum (WSF) will return to Budapest to be hosted once again by the Hungarian Academy of Sciences under the main theme ‘Science, Ethics and Responsibility’.
Speakers of WSF will discuss the opportunities and risks of the new technological revolution in biological engineering, artificial intelligence, and other highly debated fields of scientific research that have the potential to radically transform human life. The forum itself will take place on 20-23 November 2019, but the InterAcademy Partnership (IAP) and the Global Young Academy (GYA) will kick-start the event on 19 November with their Science Leadership Workshop. The event will be attended by around 40 excellent young scientists from around the world (discover who they are here), who will reach Budapest not only to address questions of ethics in science, but also to learn skills to approach problem solving, seek creative approaches, collaborate, and deal with science communication.
IAP and EASAC will present or partecipate in the following session:
Wednesday / 20 NOV
11:00 - 12:30
A recent global, innovative project organised by the InterAcademy Partnership (IAP) brought together regional academy networks from Africa, Asia, the Americas and Europe for systematic analysis of evidence and perspectives. Academies agreed transboundary goals to explore how better to generate and integrate scientific evidence on both the demand-side and supply-side issues, while also enabling academy capacity-building at the science-policy interfaces. The recently published final report explored various issues for local-regional-global connectivity, for example for improving scientific infrastructure and research collaboration, food system efficiency and resilience, and linkages between food-energy-water-health, all key issues for developing cohesive policy and for tackling multiple Sustainable Development Goals.
This session, organised by IAP and EASAC will review project outputs on the priorities for science, innovation and policy. Our particular objective is to stimulate discussion on the ethical aspects of changing food systems for planetary and human health, including equity of access, problems for vulnerable groups and for intergenerational equity, reduction of waste, environmental sustainability and diversity, and capitalising on advances in science and technology.
This panel is proposed by the H2020 European project InsSciDE (Inventing a shared science diplomacy for Europe, www.insscide.eu). InsSciDE aims to create new knowledge on past and present science diplomacy in Europe and reveal and foster Europe’s capital of science diplomacy experience. InsSciDE's interdisciplinary group of researchers invites scientists and diplomats to explore what could be the science diplomacy of the European Union and to formulate recommendations for the harmonious division of competencies between the member states and their Union. Themes of historical and critical study include Heritage, Health, Security, Environment, and Space.
14:00 - 15:30
Recent analyses have shown that current EU policies are unlikely to deliver greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions quickly enough to limit climate warming to less than 2°C”. GHG emissions from transport differ between countries, but represent 24% of all GHG emissions from the EU. Road transport makes up nearly three-quarters of this.
This situation implies a number of ethical challenges, on a regional and personal level. Regionally, important GHG emitters such as the EU should make more rapid contributions to emission reductions than regions in the global South. On an individual level, the more vulnerable groups in society should be protected from having to pay for the required changes to transport systems.
The current situation could be turned around by putting ‘avoid, shift, and improve’ measures into place quickly. Better targeted policies could contain demand for inefficient motorised passenger and freight transport, promote healthy walking and cycling in urban areas, accelerate the phase out of fossil fuels, and increase access to low carbon electricity. Public funding could incentivise low-emission vehicles and fuels, energy infrastructure and high-quality public transport”.
International collaboration, new business models and citizen engagement will become more important as falling fossil fuel consumption makes oil and gas prices more volatile.
The panel discussion will focus on the challenges of implementing policies that require personal mobility lifestyle changes by all sectors of society. Freight transport will also be addressed, as this is heavily influenced by the advent of online shopping.
Finally, EASAC will highlight how academies are using excellent science to address these challenges; by engaging with stakeholders and policy makers, and by promoting innovation and best practices. This side event of the World Science Forum will be based on very recent EASAC work and will stimulate global discussion.
14:30 - 16:00
Science and technology played a vital role in the development of today's world throughout the human history. However, till last century, science was not in the center of policymaking or diplomacy. In today‘s world, Science diplomacy tackling the trans-boundary environmental issues, global health challenges and building bridges between countries who doesn't have diplomatic relations.
The aim of this session is to present the current opportunities for a scientist to become a science diplomat. Successful Science Diplomat‘s career path would be analyzed to give the audience an overview of the barriers and how to overcome them. This session will provide necessary tools for early career scientists to analyze their career paths.
Thursday / 21 NOV
11:30 - 13:00
2019 is a milestone year for the UN's Agenda 2030, the 15 year blueprint for the world's social, economic and environmental development. In July 2019, the quadrennial Global Sustainable Development Report will report to the UN High Level Political Forum: prepared for the first time by an independent group of scientists, the report will give a systemic, holistic account of the transformations required to realize the SDGs, and how to turn vicious into virtuous cycles. In September 2019, the UN General Assembly will review progress on the implementation of the SDGs in the four years since they were adopted by all Member States. It will also agree the process for the next reporting and review period. Two months on, the WSF can provide a timely opportunity to reflect on these processes and what they mean for science. Responses will be provided from representatives of two mechanisms introduced by the UN specifically to feed science into the SDGs; unique innovations for Agenda 2030 that recognize the vital importance of STI for the realization of the SDGs. These are the UN Technology Facilitation Mechanism (TFM) and the Technology Bank for the Least Developed Countries (TBLDC). Together with the already existing STI-related work of the UN specialized agencies, such as UNESCO, ITU, WIPO, WHO, FAO and others, these mechanisms are intended to strengthen STI for the SDGs. Finally, recognizing that the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs are still unknown to young researchers, this session will serve as a starting point to define new strategies to help young researchers seize the opportunities and addresses the challenges of working on science for sustainable development and actively engaging in research for the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.
17:00 - 18:30
Friday / 22 NOV
This is a crucial time for reflecting on the role of science in politics and policy-making. In scientific communities throughout Europe and in the U.S. there is a palpable concern over the degree to which the public trusts scientific experts and authorities. Many view the public health threats emerging as a result of people’s concerns about vaccine safety and effectiveness as a sign of decreasing trust in scientific authority. Another case in point is the ‘climate change denial’, which refers to the unwarranted doubt of scientific consensus on the rate and extent of global warming.
In this new era, populism and anti-intellectualism appear to be serving as catalysts for a political culture that discounts institutional authorities across a range of science policy realms from climate to food safety to health. And, the rise of social media has facilitated the rapid flow of information –and misinformation—about science, thereby providing new avenues for communication and potentially new virtual communities in which to share “alternative facts.” In addition, political or economic interferences with scientific practice raise questions of integrity and freedom, with potentially negative consequences for the quality of science and its support to evidence-based policy.
Consequently, there is increased pressure on scientists to engage with politics and society and to be more transparent about their data and research findings. The line of thinking is that such efforts will bolster public trust in science and promote evidence-based policy decisions Particularly in Europe, initiatives to promote ‘Open Science’ have become part of policy plans to accelerate innovation and bolster Europe’s competitive edge.
This panel will look at effective and evidence-based ways to engage with R&I stakeholders and science policymakers in an era when scientific evidence and the value of scientific expertise as such, seem to be losing their relevance in decision-making. The panel brings together international experts from both sides of the Atlantic, with backgrounds in public opinion, politics, science communication and science policy.
We will discuss the consequences for scientific practice from calls for increased engagement and transparency. The panelists and audience members will discuss practical issues in science communication with public and policy influencers, including the best ways to communicate evidence-based policy recommendations with research funders and policymakers.
Ethical issues are at the centre of research to help tackle the Sustainable Development Goals. How much burden will be placed on future generations by today’s consumption and production decisions that lead to changes in the climate system over decades and centuries; how much solidarity should we expect today to assist those who are most vulnerable? Moreover, issues of scientific integrity and quality are fundamental to ensuring decisions can be made on the best available information.
This session, organised by EASAC and IIASA, focuses on climate change. Tackling climate change is the focus of SDG 13 and will also play an important role in countries’ efforts to achieve many of the other SDGs. With accelerating climate change there is increasing evidence on limits to adaptation in natural and social systems. What are the issues for climate justice in dealing with the risks imposed on the most vulnerable worldwide, particularly with regard to health? Recent research insights will be presented on climate risk responsibility and governance, the interplay of justice and transformation, and social insurance mechanisms that explicitly integrate justice aspects, relevant to the loss and damage debate.
Research examples from a recent EASAC European project will describe priorities for particular vulnerable groups, including the elderly, young, sick, and migrants, and the global responsibilities of the EU. Discussion will be encouraged to examine the concern about inadvertent consequences – the potential for climate change mitigation and adaptation actions to exacerbate health inequity – and on how to tackle misinformation that undermines the urgency of political action. How should the scientific community work together and with other stakeholders worldwide to extend exploration of the issues for climate, equity, and health, to show where there is consensus and to stimulate policy development?
Regenerative medicine comprises novel approaches such as cell and gene therapies aimed at tissue regeneration and repair. It offers significant future promise to tackle intractable diseases but, so far, has proved itself in only a few specific clinical indications, for example for haematopoietic and skin disorders.
In a current project conducted by EASAC and FEAM, the European academies of science and medicine are reviewing opportunities and challenges in this rapidly advancing field, what principles might be offered for guidance and what are the strategic priorities. A project focus is on stem cell therapy but conclusions may be generalisable to other regenerative medicine. In this session, we review progress with a particular emphasis on ethical considerations. While there are considerable scientific and clinical opportunities, there are also major concerns. First, an increasing problem worldwide of unregulated, unscrupulous clinics promising a wide range of benefits using poorly characterised stem cells with little evidence and vague rationale, with the intention of significant commercial gain. Secondly, premature marketing approval and commercialisation of approaches based on insufficient evidence as a result of evolving business models, encouraged by regulatory authority initiatives for accelerated access.
Ethical concerns for patient access to experimental treatments include: uncertainty about risk-benefit (safety and efficacy) when patients have few other options; lack of sufficient validated evidence for informed consent; problems of information supply by unvalidated sources (for example, on the internet); potential conflict of interest for medical professionals; and issues for equity and fairness, if treatment costs are substantial and when health service resources are diverted. Many of these concerns arise from knowledge gaps and there are implications for the responsibility of researchers and other stakeholders, including medical journals and regulators.