The sixth World Science Forum just ended. It took place in Rio de Janeiro, and brought together delegates from more than 100 countries who pledged to advance the use of science for global sustainable development. Among these delegates was HASTAC Executive Board member Kevin Franklin, who is also Executive Director of the Institute for Computing in the Humanities, Arts, and Social Science (ICHASS), and a Research Professor of Education Policy, Organization and Leadership at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.
Kevin wanted to share with the HASTAC community the World Science Forum's final Declaration. You can read it at: www.sciforum.hu/declaration/index.html.
Text adopted by the 6th World Science Forum on 27 November 2013
- Global sustainable development, implying the environmental, economic and social dimensions of sustainability, as well as the need to face the challenges of growing complexity, requires intense research efforts, interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary approaches. Population growth, climate change, food, energy and water shortages, growing urban concentrations, natural and technological catastrophes, epidemics, social inequality and poverty all require that the world’s scientific establishments assume new roles necessitating the integration of all knowledge systems.
- Scientific achievements coexist with strong inequalities in access to knowledge, natural resources, water and food supplies, economic and human capital, health care, education, research infrastructure and, in general, to the benefits of science. These inequalities require a rethinking of the scientific enterprise and cooperation. Consequently, inventing and constructing the future we want will require strong input from science policy and decision-making processes will need to be supported by the best available science. This implies building a new paradigm of development, which combines the possibility of regional social and economical development with the conservation of nature and the culture of indigenous people.
- The global economic crisis, prevalent since 2008, has created a situation in which national science policies have been subject to fundamental revision. Many countries have cut their science budget, while others have increased the support for science and engineering in order to stimulate innovative research, which historically has given rise to technological break-throughs and new cycles of development contributing to the enhancement of Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) systems at national and regional level.
- Accelerating “knowledge economies” have generated new migration patterns for scientists and an increase in mobility. The need for greater cooperation between universities, public research organizations, and industry has become pressing in education both at graduate and post-graduate level and in the training of scientists to open up new opportunities for young scientists.
- Scientists are individually and collectively ethically responsible for the advancement of Science and the use of its benefits for society. Developments in many research fields (e.g. genetics, biotechnology, neuroscience, nuclear physics, etc.) have considerable moral and ethical implications that require an urgent and global dialogue between scientists and the wider public. While conceiving, proposing and developing research, in communicating research results and in cooperating and mentoring relationship with other scientists, researchers shall conduct their enterprise guided by intellectual honesty, objectivity and impartiality, veracity, justice and responsibility.
- The growing intensity in the competition for natural resources, highly skilled talent, strategic information resources and research infrastructure induces political and economic conflicts around the globe. New development models are needed and these should be innovative, informed by scientific evidence and locally relevant. Under these conditions, science diplomacy continues to gain relevance in international relations, especially in crisis management and the establishment of peaceful cooperation among countries when traditional political and diplomatic relations cannot fulfil their roles. The rational use of the vast natural resources of the planet has to be permanently incorporated into development strategies and this will not be possible without strong input from Science.