HISTORY OF WORLD SCIENCE FORUM

The World Science Forum series

World Science Forum at Hungarian Academy of Sciences

In convening a World Conference on Science for the Twenty-First Century: a New Commitment, from 26 June to 1 July 1999 in Budapest, Hungary, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the International Council for Science (ICSU), in co-operation with other partners, initiated a unique forum for a much-needed debate between the scientific community and society.

Inspired by the success of the World Conference on Science, the Hungarian Academy of Sciences in partnership with UNESCO, ICSU and AAAS established a series of follow-up events called World Science Forum, taking place biannually in Budapest.

During the three days of each Forum over 500 scientists, decision-makers from the world of politics, industry, representatives of the civil society and the media express their views on the new challenges facing science in the 21st century. Participants from almost 100 countries convene every second year on and around World Science Day, the 10th of November - a day dedicated to science by UNESCO. To commemorate this day, the UNESCO Science Prizes are awarded here at World Science Forum.

The first World Science Forum took place between 8-10 November 2003, focusing on "Knowledge and Society", with the main objective of raising awareness world-wide toward the increasing and novel roles of knowledge and their societal impact.

The second Forum in 2005 on "Knowledge, Ethics and Responsibility" aimed at tackling the ethical aspects of knowledge and the responsibility of scientists and decision-makers in the global society of the 21st Century, while the third Forum in 2007 focused on the topic of "Investing in Knowledge: Investing in the Future" emphasising the importance of knowledge resources in managing the future of the world's economies and societies.

In 2009 marking the 10th anniversary of World Science Forum series with more participants then ever the Forum provided a strategic vision on the future of science as its main title „Knowledge and Future” suggests.

World Science Forum 2009 plenary

The 2011 event meant the beginning of a new era in the history of World Science Forum. In order to distribute the achievements of this enterprise and to make it a true world event, the Hungarian Academy of Sciences with the consent of UNESCO, ICSU, and AAAS proposed to change the format of WSF so that it is organised on every second occasion in a partner country. With the welcome offer of the Brazilian Academy of Sciences it has been decided that the 2013 World Science Forum will be organized in Rio de Janeiro.

The main theme of the 2011 Forum was “The Changing Landscape of Science – Challenges and Opportunities” focusing on the geographical, thematic, and social aspects of some of the most burning issues of science and society. The 2013 Rio de Janeiro World Science Forum will investigate the responsibility of scientists and policy makers in the use of „Science for Sustainable Global Development” as the main theme of the 6th Forum anticipates.

The success of World Science Forum proves that the original idea and intention behind this initiative is becoming more and more a reality. The scientists, politicians, decision-makers and representatives of civil society conducted fruitful dialogue on burning issues affecting the scientific world and society simultaneously, and summed up the common tasks ahead of us. The growing international interest in the World Science Forum shows that there is a growing consensus: World Science Forum has become the leading event of global science policy today.