Previous Fora / 2007
Day 1 of WSF 2007
Highlights of Day 1 of WSF 2007
Keywords: Presidents – Sustainability – Cooperation
Organized by the Hungarian Academy of Sciences together with UNESCO, ICSU, and the European Union, the third World Science Forum – Budapest commenced its activities on 8 November, 2007. Its main theme (Investing in Knowledge: Investing in the Future) emphasizes the importance of knowledge resources in managing the future of the world's economies and societies. More than 300 participants from 60 countries discussed the role of, and the necessity for cooperation among scientists and politicians regarding the challenges of a globalised world. There is a growing consensus that WSF, the largest event of global science policy today, has become the "Davos" of Science Policy.
Heads of State Panel
László Sólyom, Stjepan Mesić, Heinz Fischer and Karolos Papoulias, presidents of Hungary, Croatia, Austria and Greece convened upon the "Green presidents" initiative of Hungary's President.. They expressed their concerns about the environment and suggested new initiatives for cooperation to solve global problems.
"Our latest Copernican turn of thinking is the general admittance of the fact that the Earth is not a subsystem of the Economy – quite the opposite. The economy is a subsystem of our complex human society that is, in turn, embedded into and dependent upon the natural systems of planet Earth. Governments have to act, have to invest public resources urgently on the basis of this paradigm." emphasized president László Sólyom in his speech at the Heads of State Panel.
Investing in Knowledge for Sustainability – The Best Science-Based Governance Initiatives
The session was organized by the Regional Environmental Centre for Central and Eastern Europe (REC). While science-based knowledge is necessary, it is not enough to get right through to sustainability. An interdisciplinary approach to science is called for to bridge the division between hard-core natural sciences and the humanities. It is not technology but the humanities that really move the sustainability movement forward. Sustainability depends on social factors.
Changes are required so soon that we do not have time to develop new basic knowledge. But the difference between collapse and sustainability will ultimately depend on the ability of society to begin and carry out a change, not just on the availability of technology.
Achieving sustainable development requires radical innovation in politics, diplomacy, technology and democracy. A radical new initiative for preserving the ecosystem in Ecuador e.g. offers the international community a choice between buying the ecosystem services of 2 million hectares of untouched tropical rainforest, and erasing the forest to get at the oil underneath.
Science and Innovation as a Global Enterprise
This session was organized by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). During the session, leaders of the scientific communities from highly developed countries shared the opportunities in and challenges for international collaboration in science and technology. The panellists discussed the importance of science and technology in meeting societal priorities such as health, sustainable development, climate change, and innovation. The panel discussed possible mechanisms to achieve better internationalization of the global science enterprise, and discussed the need for and the potential creation of a World Science Organization that could help coordinate global efforts on science and technology development. This organization could have as one of its key initial goals the translation of the vast array of scientific information published in non-English journals into technically accurate English. This would be critical in further enlarging the pool of available scientific information that could be useful for societies. Such things as the internet, shared global concerns, and improved communication are making global collaborations easier and more effective.
As the world becomes more interconnected, the concept of a global village of science is becoming more and more real. One result, however, is that there is an emerging free trade of science which has a potential to yield both winners and losers.
The Role of Science, Technology and Innovation in the Achievement of The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs): from Policy to Actions
This session was organized by UNESCO and Third World Academy of Science (TWAS). Science and Technology are keys to Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) achievements. Governments have to focus on investment in education (technological developments in education and in teaching), in cutting-edge technologies (biotechnology, space sciences and technologies, nanotechnology) and in infrastructure.
The role of government is to involve the private sector in the financing of R+D+I activities. These policies should be integrated with policies of other fields.
Science and Technology Ministers should cooperate towards sharing high technologies and patent applications. This cooperation can support the penetration of information and communication technologies, the improvement of general education via e-learning and life-long learning. Africa needs special attention due to its social and economical problems and the dangers of a South-North brain drain.
Investing in Knowledge for Peace - Israeli-Palestine Science Organisation (IPSO)
The session was organized by IPSO, established in 2003 to create a science-based bridge of goodwill between Israelis and Palestinians and to build a platform for Israeli and Palestinian scholars and scientists.
This was the third time that World Science Forum provided an opportunity for an IPSO meeting and for displaying the results of collaborative research in the fields of nanotechnology and cancer therapy.