Leading academies say science is more important than ever in solving global challenges

October 14, 2020
Pandemics and the emerging digital divide were two of the topics covered in recommendations to G20 nations by the world’s leading science academies. Image: Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

The world’s leading science academies have expressed deep concern about global challenges in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and have made recommendations to G20 leaders on how to find solutions.

The S20, the national academies of science of G20 nations, supports the G20 by connecting it to the international scientific community. Comprising the national academies of the world’s most prosperous nations, it presents policymakers with consensus-based recommendations for the chosen topics of interest in each year.

Recommendations

The S20 recently produced a statement outlining emerging critical challenges in health, the environment and technology, highlighted by the very real occurrence of the globally disruptive coronavirus pandemic. The recommendations in the S20 statement covered topics including pandemics, the emerging digital divide, circular economy systems, and renewables aimed at net zero carbon emissions. 

Academy Fellows Professor Veena Sahajwalla, Professor Rod Tucker and Professor Bob Williamson were members of taskforces put together by this year’s S20 host country, Saudi Arabia. The taskforces provided input to the S20 statement which was presented to G20 leaders for consideration.

Global research community

According to Academy President Professor John Shine, the challenge of COVID-19 has shown how effectively the world’s research community can respond to a crisis.

“The efforts to find a vaccine and other treatments have been a collective global effort, and it is vital that S20 academies and the global research community continue to work together as they are during the pandemic.

“Academies should support inclusive education and literacy programs for all to ensure digital education opportunities, especially for girls and women, minority groups and disadvantaged communities.

“They should also influence G20 countries to reduce fossil fuel use, to find alternative sources of energy, and to aim for net zero carbon emissions.”

Previous S20 meetings have been hosted by Germany (2017), Argentina (2018) and Japan (2019). In 2021, for the first time, Italy will host the S20 meeting and G20 Summit. 

Read the S20 statement presented to G20 leaders

Video: What is a circular economy?

The S20 statement covered topics including pandemics, the emerging digital divide, circular economy systems, and renewables aimed at net zero carbon emissions.

© 2020 Australian Academy of Science

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