Programme / Thematic Sessions I. a. Science for Peace: Successes and Future Responsibilities

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Day 2

Thursday / 21 NOV

11:30 - 13:00

Thematic session:
Thematic Sessions I. a. Science for Peace: Successes and Future Responsibilities
Venue: Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Reading Room

The speakers from the session concentrated on the ethical responsibilities of scientists and science policy in the context of contemporary global challenges. In her opening speech Nurcan Meral Ozel, representing the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), highlighted the key role of science diplomacy in managing global crises in the current unstable political environment, characterised by tension and mistrust between global powers. Ms Ozel argued for a science diplomacy which moves beyond national interests and called for the capacity building of scientists in leadership and communication. Jonathan Forman, representing the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, talked about positive examples of international scientific collaboration such as the implementation of the Chemical Weapons Treaty and the development of the Hague Ethical Guidelines. He concluded that science is indispensable for disarmament. Indira Nath, Professor of the Indian Academy of Sciences, talked about the successes and future responsibilities of science. Her key point was that research ethics have failed to keep pace with rapid scientific developments. Areas of high ethical concern are AI for health, the future of mobile phones, social media, the dictionary of life and DNA, and synthetic biology. Professor Nath underlined the need to set up systems for global participation to discuss emerging technologies, to incentivise good ethical practices by industries and institutions, and for global harmonisation and robust governance. She suggested the establishment of a seal of approval for institutions and investigators practicing good ethics, which could incentivise others. Flavia Schlegel from the International Science Council called for ‘positive peace’, where nations invest in opportunities to enhance peace. She warned that in the last decade the global peacefulness index has declined, and we have seen a growing gap between the most and least peaceful nations. Ms Schlegel highlighted the responsibility of the sciences in showing that multilateral systems can work and provide concrete answers to current challenges. According to Ms Schlegel, the social sciences should play a key role in bringing forward a human rights perspective and constructing a new excellence framework which values responsible and ethical science. Finally, Tolullah Oni, representing the Global Young Academy, talked about the actions and proactive strategies taken by young scientists globally. She explained the work done so far in finding a unified voice for young scientists, specifically, organising, agreeing on societal priorities and aligning incentives, training scientists with cross-cutting critical skills to address challenges, and deploying scientists across all of society. She stated that young scientists are actively engaged in picking up the mission of responsible science, which could lead to a more inclusive and peaceful society.


Rapporteur: Eszter Neumann, member, Hungarian Young Academy