Some people would like to have power to the imagination and as a result scientists have taken their places in the control room. In times of pandemic, but not only, political decisions cannot ignore the analysis of curves and indices. The newspapers overwhelm us with graphics, making it increasingly clear that our health and the way we live is directly related not only to the environment but also to conflicts. The International Day of Science for Peace and Development, established in 2001 by UNESCO, comes to our aid in order to settle the matter. The anniversary which has recently been celebrated focuses on the need to emphasize three fundamental aspects: the significant role of knowledge in society, the need to involve an ever wider audience in the debate on emerging issues and the importance and relevance of science in daily life. From this perspective, the role of "experts" also takes on a different social and cultural value. It is no coincidence that popular science books have been climbing the sales charts for quite some time. Just think of the "commercial" success that the counter-intuitive physics quantum theory is having, which until a few years ago was relegated to an ultra-specialized subject almost impossible to explain to those who were not in the field. The technicians, therefore, who have already explained why we cannot leave the house after 10 pm, are now called to help us more easily comprehend the mechanisms of the extraordinary but fragile planet that we call "home", in order to make our societies more sustainable, freer and safer and also to limit the disparity in the consumption of resources that often leads to international crises.

"Unesco calls for the strengthening of international collaboration in view of a common strategy"

The establishment of the Day was one of the outcomes of the World Conference on Science, held in Budapest in 1999. And the revival of the theme on an annual basis intends to continuously reaffirm the commitment to achieve the goals proclaimed in the Declaration on Science and the Use of Scientific Knowledge. It is not about abstract speeches. A number of conclusive projects and measures to implement financial support have been promoted throughout the world through this means since 2001. The annual event also contributed to fostering cooperation between scientists living in conflict-affected regions. In this sense, the launch of the Israeli-Palestinian Organization of Science (Ipso) is emblematic. The theme chosen for this year's edition was a must: "Science for and with society to face the global pandemic". While the world is grappling with Covid-19, UNESCO, as agency of reference for the United Nations on these issues, is trying to bring science and society closer together and strengthen international collaboration in a historical moment in which it is even more evident how territorial borders act as artificial divisions that must be rethought in the face of global issues.

From a strictly scientific point of view, the response of the UN agency to the pandemic rests on three pillars. The first is linked to the strengthening of international and national cooperation through free access to knowledge and technical skills, as well as to the dialogue between experts, politicians, industries and health professionals, with the fundamental contribution of civil society. The second aspect concerns access to clean and safe water and sanitation. Finally, it is important to note how putting pressure on biodiversity and natural habitats favors the occurrence of zoonosis, that is, diseases that can be naturally transmitted from vertebrate animals to humans and vice versa as in the case of Covid-19. In this regard, UNESCO considers it necessary to rethink the relationship between people and nature through the promotion of global geoparks and biosphere reserves, powerful tools capable of testing and implementing integrated approaches concerning the conservation of biodiversity and sustainable development.

alliance science politics

Subscribe to our newsletter

When you submit the form, check your inbox to confirm your subscription