ECOSF Joined the 7th World Science Forum Budapest-Hungry 4-7 Nov 2015
ECO Science Foundation (ECOSF) through its President, joined the 7th World Science Forum (WSF) organized in Budapest, Hungary from 4-7 November 2015. The 7th WSF 2015, with the theme "The Enabling Power of Science" was organized and hosted by the Hungarian Academy of Sciences jointly with the Government of Hungary, UNESCO, International Council of Science (ICSU), American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS) and European Academies Science Advisory Council (EASAC). Over 800 Science Leaders and participants from more than 100 countries joined the Forum.
The Forum was inaugurated by the Prime Minister of Hungary H.E. Mr. Viktor Orbán on November 4, 2015. The Opening Ceremony was addressed by the President of WSF and of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Prof. Lászlo Lovász, the President of ICSU Prof. Gordon McBean, CEO of AAAS Dr. Rush D. Holt, Assistant Director General (Natural Sciences) UNESCO Dr. Flavia Schlegel and the EU Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sports Mr. Tibor Navracsics; while a video message of UN Secretary-General H.E. Mr. Ban Ki-Moon also played in the Opening Ceremony.
The programme of the Forum offered 6 main plenary sessions: a key component was a 'sustainability update' bringing together leading decision-makers in the run-up to the December 2015 Conference of the Parties (COP21) on Climate Change in Paris and very much influenced by the UN's 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development approved in September 2015. Two further plenaries dealt with 'confidence in science' and 'communicating with society' where the issue of ethics and scientific integrity came to the fore. This year's programme also offered 9 thematic sessions: over 50 organisations were invited in to enrich questions and answers style-debates with delegates on a broad range of topics. From 'global health policies' looking at responses to Ebola, Autism, HIV/Aids and Substance Addiction; the latest in 'brain research' or 'building climate resilience' and 'disaster risk reduction'; to insights into 'science governance in Africa', 'science for peace' or the 'international year of light, a truly who's who of experts were on-hand at WSF 2015. Numerous side events were also organized by various internationals mainly under the patronage of UNESCO, but also by EU JRC (Joint Research Centre), IEEE, AAAS/ACADEMIA EUROPEA/ISTIC, IAP (Inter-Academy Partnership)/ICORSA/ WAYS/GYA, ERC and MTA/IPBES on various aspects including Youth engagement, STEM Education, Role of Engineering, SDGs and Environment/Biodiversity & Ecosystem Services etc.
Ceremonies of UNESCO Kalinga Prize sponsored by India and UNESCO Sultan Qaboos Prize sponsored by Oman, were also held on the occasion.
President ECOSF Dr. Manzoor Hussain Soomro was one of the High Level Expert Judge along with IAP Co-Chair, Dr. Mohamed Hassan; Executive Officer of the Academy of Science of South Africa, Dr. (Ms.) Roseanne Diab; Director of Division of Science Policy and Capacity-Building Sector for Natural Sciences at UNESCO, Mr. Maciej Nalecz and the Senior Science Policy Specialist at UNESCO Latin America and the Caribbean, Mr. Ernesto Fernandez Polcuch for a competition among the global young scientists and members of Global Young Academy (GYA). The competition called, "Lion's Den" jointly organized by IAP/GYA and CORSA, was on "Scoping the Future: Views and Ideas of Young Scientists to tackle Global Challenges" with the objective to brainstorm ideas, applications and solutions from youth for implementation of UN Agenda 2030- the UN SDGs 2016-2030. In all, 50 selected young scientists from 20 countries participated in the competition. The competition was won by the team- Jobs (SDG No. 9). The activity was originally proposed by the IAP- a network of 130 National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medical.
During the four days Forum, President ECOSF also interacted with various dignitaries including the President of WSF 2015 (President of Hungarian Academy of Sciences), Prof. Lászlo Lovász; Adviser Science to Prime Minister of Malaysia, Dr. Abdul Hamid Zakri, who is also the Chairman of IPBES; Dr. Mohamad Hassan the Co-Chair of IAP; Prof. Koji Omi the founder and Chairman of STS Forum South Korea; Dato' Ir. Lee Yee Cheong the Chairman of ISTIC Governing Board and many others.
Dr. Soomro was also specially invited to participate in a UNESCO Roundtable on "Galvanizing Science Education & research for Fostering an Innovation Culture in the Arab Region" on 4 November 2015. This side event was co-organized and partnered by UNESCO, ISTIC, Arab Academy of Sciences and Academia Europaea. He also participated in another side event organized by the IEEE entitled; "New Paradigms for Integrating Sustainable Development into Science and Engineering Education through IEEE Educational Activities". It was addressed by the IEE MD Engr. Dr. Douglas Gorham, Vice President IEE Engr. Dr. Tariq Durrani from UK.
ECOSF Collaborators ISTIC Kuala Lumpur- Malaysia through its Chairman of Governing Board Academician Dato Lee Yee Cheong also participated as a Panellist in the WSF 2015 Plenary Session II entitled; "Science Engagement: Communicating with Society" and gave a talk. He spoke on the 17 UN SDGs with emphasis on SDG4-Education and SDG5-Gender Equality.
The final day (7th Nov) of the Forum was held at the historical and beautiful building of the Hungarian Parliament.
The day was opened by the President the Republic H.E. Mr. János Áder. In his address the President said that whatever solutions to our global challenges that are found in the world's laboratories, will not be effective without the active involvement of politicians and the public. It is the role of politicians to help scientists and for communicating research results to the public scientists must raise their voices loud enough so as to drown out the 21st century cacophony of half-truths, false claims and cynicism.
Next, His Majesty King Abdullah of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordon addressed the participants of the WSF through a video message and stressed upon the importance of adopting a global policy and having appropriate infrastructure to support scientists, both men and women, especially young people. The King also noted that today, worldwide, cooperation and inclusion are just as urgently needed. His Majesty asserted Jordan's commitment to supporting national capabilities in the fields of science & technology and encouraging innovation, adding that the Kingdom looks forward to hosting the 2017 World Science Forum.
Subsequently, the Director-General of UNESCO H.E. Ms. Irina Bokova addressed the audiance. She emphasized on the need for innovative solutions that can balance the growing scarcity of resources in the world. and suggested to make use of the greatest source of renewable energy. She spoke about the SDGs and the Climate Change effects as well as COP-21 scheduled for December 2015 in Paris.
Afterwards, the last Plenary Session IV "Parliamentary Session: Science in Policy Making" began and was moderated by Dr. Peter Gluckman, Chief Scientific Advisor to the Prime Minister of New Zealand. Panellists of this most important Session were; Prof. Patrick Cunningham from Trinity College Irland, Ene Ergma the former President of Estonian Parliament; Dr. Rush D. Holt the CEO of AAAS; Prof. Gordon McBean President of ICSU; Prof. Koji Omi the founder and Chairman of STS Forum South Korea; Ms. Naledi Pandor Minister of S&T of South Africa; Mr. Vladimir Sucha, DG of JRC of European Commission and Dr. Abdul Hamid Zakri, Science Advisor to the Prime Minister of Malaysia & Chair of IPBES.
This final Plenary Session brought together above nine well-known current and former ministers, science advisers and the 'suppliers' of public research to examine the strengths and weaknesses of 'science in policy-making'. The Science Leaders in their remarks called for a more responsible and ethical use of science to address pressing global challenges especially pertaining to Poverty, Climate Change, Education and Health as well as Terrorism.
After the Plenary Session, UNESCO Report 2015 was presented by the ADG (Natural Science) UNESCO Dr. Flavia Schlegel.
Finally the Declaration of the 7th World Science Forum was presented, discussed and adopted and committed by all the participants. It read as under:
"We, the participants of the World Science Forum, call for concerted action and will mobilize the international scientific community to play our role to advance the use of science to support global and national initiatives to meet the objectives defined in the Agenda 2030, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 and the upcoming agreement of the COP21 Paris Climate Summit. We support the use of scientific evidence in policy making and call for international collaboration to advance science as the foundation of sustainable development worldwide. We seek for improved quality in science education in particular at the early stage as an important pre-condition for young generations to enter into science and engineering careers".
The main articles of the Declaration were:
1. Shift for new, sustainable development paths
2. Agreement on Climate Change
3. Knowledge-base for disaster risk reduction
4. Scientific advice for policies
5. International collaboration for capacity-building and mobilisation in the developing world
6. Balanced investment in science
At the end of the forum's session, Her Royal Highness Princess Sumaya bint El Hassan, President of the Royal Scientific Society of Jordon took over presidency of the 2017 World Science Forum and made the WSF 2015 closing speech. In her remarks, she underscored the message His Majesty the King of Jordon and the need to support scientists, in light of their contributions towards building a better future. She also invited all participants to join the 8th WSF in 2017 in Jordon. That way the WSF 2015 came to a close.