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Goverdhan Mehta, President International Council for Science (ICSU) and Indian Institute of Science, India Science &Technology for a Better World: Role.

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Presentation on theme: "Goverdhan Mehta, President International Council for Science (ICSU) and Indian Institute of Science, India Science &Technology for a Better World: Role."— Presentation transcript:

1 Goverdhan Mehta, President International Council for Science (ICSU) and Indian Institute of Science, India Science &Technology for a Better World: Role of Science Revisited ICSU Retuning the role of science

2 Structure of the presentation The ‘unfettered’ march of science Rejuvenating science – a new age Science and Society- plea for ‘cohabitation’ Imperatives of ‘policy’ in an asymmetric world Science as a world system - Intl. dimension ICSU striving towards a better future for all A panacea for everything

3 The Dawn of Knowledge Era 21 st century will be the century of knowledge.…the process of transition is on  Spectacular developments in science and technology  Unparalleled economic growth – globalization, competition, innovation at the vanguard  Uncontrolled exploitation of earth’s resources

4 The pivotal role of S & T….. “The 20 th century’s unprecedented gains in advancing human development, industrial growth and eradication of poverty in certain regions of the world came largely from technological breakthroughs” In the 21st century, this role needs to be recalibrated

5 Progress in science has been for most part, insular, monolithic and unitary Why?

6 Science has grown exponentially at a rate of about 7 per cent per annum, doubling every years, growing by a factor of ten at every half-century, and by a factor of a close to a million in the past 300 years. And at and at an unprecedented pace……… cf. Societal evolution domain is ~ 10,000 years

7 Relentless pace of technology Shrinking time domains Computing power doubles….………..12 months Networking (Band width) doubles…..09 months Storage (Hard disk) doubles…………. 06 months Faraday Watson-Crick Electricity Genetic Engg. Iijima (CNT) Logic circuit More new information has been generated in the last 30 years than in the previous 5000

8 Scientific revolution has outpaced social revolution for over a century now

9 …….the burning issues confronting the world today relating to environment, energy, health, natural hazards, extinctions, unsustainable consumption and most importantly of growing inequalities and knowledge divide, did not come into sharper focus soon enough….. As a consequence of this disconnect…..

10 The Paradox of Our Time Despite spectacular advances in science and technology, unprecedented economic progress and improvement in the quality of life…..

11 Growing inequalities Knowledge Divide A troubled world

12 Galloping Consumption Depleting resources A stressed planet

13 Bangalore-2006 Poverty + Deprivation Strife + Conflict

14 Environmental Pollution/Degradation Over consumption ‘Un-sustainability’

15 Environmental Pollution/Degradation Effluents of the affluent

16 Where do computers go, to die or kill? Time is running out! e-waste or WEEE

17 In the 21st century, a more inclusive view of science ‘..conception that science is autonomous is unsustainable.’ What can science do ?

18 A “new” role for Science Science Other knowledge Sustainable Streams development Science needs to shed its splendid isolation Innovation

19 A “new” role for Science Societal Policy engagement Linkage Science Synergy between scientific & societal progress Innovation

20 S Science Society Values Acceptability Methods Equity Products Sustenance benefits supports

21 Science – Responsible, transparent, and understand the full implications of new discoveries in the context of moral and ethical values and sustainability of our planet Society – Must shed its cynicism and skepticism about science and recognize its centrality for human good S Science Society Values Acceptability Methods Equity Products Sustenance Cohabitation benefits supports

22 ‘….To assume one basis for life and a different basis for science is a priori a falsehood….Natural science will in time incorporate into itself the science of man, just as the science of man will incorporate into itself natural science; there will be one science’ - Karl Marx

23 Scientists must ponder over their inability to transfer the sense of objectivity and responsibility that they so effectively deploy in scientific experiments and search for truth to the other side, namely society’s evolution.

24 The focus in the new age science… Beyond discovery : addressing human needs and concerns Connecting to UN ‘Millennium Development Goals’ eg. hunger, health, education, environment Linkages with Global Change Research Programs eg. climate change, energy issues Great opportunities……

25 Centrality of societal engagement, policy interventions, and international partnerships What is the way forward……?

26 “Policy, not charity, will determine whether new technologies become a tool for human development everywhere” …. and for all UNDP-HDR 2001 There is enough on this earth for everyone’s needs but not for everyone’s greed - Mahatma Gandhi

27 “There is hardly any social problem on which science cannot make some contribution” -D. K. Price, Scientific Estate Science is never sufficient to solve a problem completely; it is, however, always necessary. Science for policy and Policy for Science Science for policy and Policy for Science

28 “ The market is a powerful engine of technological progress, but it is not powerful enough to create and diffuse the technologies needed to eradicate poverty” UNHD Report 2001 The challenge of poverty……. It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity. ‘Policy interventions backed by political will and commitment can make a vital difference’

29 The need … …..address causes not consequences For that…… …a political leadership that is scientifically informed and scientific leadership that is politically savvy is required….. ‘political will in a globalizing world is focused on security than on development; stronger in finance and trade than in environment…’ The reality……

30 Sustainable Development Science + Society + Policy An inclusive world A peaceful planet Eradicate povertySecure environment

31 “Science is becoming a world system”

32 The evolving context of international science Emergence of global scientific challenges Harmonizing challenges related to genetic research, climate change, energy, environment etc. with the imperatives of galvanizing best science that can be adopted and adapted in vastly diverse geographic, social, economic, political and cultural contexts.

33 Earth systems are more intricately coupled through complexity then has been generally recognized……. No one discipline and no single country can tackle complex global scientific problems

34  El nino in the south pacific has been implicated to the outbreak of communicable diseases in far away Bangladesh  Degradation of wetlands can be connected to spread of ‘birdflu’  Climate conditions helps predict outbreak of malaria epidemics in Africa (Botswana) *  Under water volcanic eruptions near Italy indicate lead contamination that can be traced to mines in Australia! For example….. *Palmer et.al. Nature, 2006

35 Natural Hazards Sunami, Katrina, Kashmir…

36 Man made hazards Oil spillsMining Deforestation Traffic Explosions Plane crash

37 Global warming and climate change

38 ‘The sixth extinction crisis’ Amanita Muscaria sponge coral insects Catastrophic loss of species predicted, ,000 times faster than normal Nature, July 20, 2006

39 From aging population to emerging epidemics AIDS, Neurodegenerative disorders & Infectious diseases Health and human wellbeing: AIDS alone is estimated to account for loss of 11,000 billion

40 The essentials: An inclusive world view; the perception that “its all about us” must be discarded; “its about all of us” In the 21 st century national interests and international partnerships have to be viewed as complementary Everyone has aspirations & Everyone is vulnerable Towards a world of interdependence

41 “……travelers together on this bright blue ball in nothingness” We are …… -Carl Sandburg

42 Strengthening International Science for the Benefit of Society 75 Celebrating 75 years:

43 ICSU: a long history Founded in 1931, but roots back to 1899 A membership organization with: 107 National Members (mostly Academies) 29 International Scientific Unions Establishes interdisciplinary bodies; sponsors programs in key areas of global concern Limited finances but unique worldwide access to intellectual resources ICSU

44 ICSU mission ICSU mobilizes the knowledge and resources of the international science community to: Identify and address major issues of importance to science and society Facilitate interaction of scientists across disciplines and among nations Promote participation of all scientists regardless of race, citizenship, language, political stance or gender Stimulate constructive dialogue between the scientific community, governments, civil society and the private sector ICSU

45 The ICSU Vision “….A world where science is used for the benefit of all, excellence in science is valued and scientific knowledge is effectively linked to policy-making. In such a world, universal and equitable access to scientific data and information is a reality and all countries have the scientific capacity to use these ….” ICSU

46 International Research Collaboration Science and Policy Universality of Science ICSU Three strategic themes “It’s not what the vision is, it’s what the vision does” - Peter Senge

47

48 A wish list for rejuvenating science New learning system - holistic nature of knowledge Universal S & T literacy Reinventing science education A ‘scientific temper’ for the world Sustainability science for every citizen A borderless view of science..and a human sensitivity index (HSI) for every scientist!

49 Thank you

50 ICSU: Building on experience A few landmarks since 1931:  International Geophysical Year ( )  International Biological Programme ( )  Freedom in the conduct of science (1963-)  Four global change programmes (1980-)  ASCEND 21 and input to the Rio Earth Summit (1991,1992)  Input to World Summit on Sustainable Development (2002)  Input to World Summit on the information Society (2003,05) ICSU

51 International Research Collaboration Linking research, monitoring, and assessments with focus on global environmental change International Polar Year Natural and Human-Induced Environmental Hazards and Disasters Science for Sustainable Development Science for Human Health Sustainable Energy

52 Science for Policy Ensure that international research programmes address key policy issues Participate in major international assessments Produce authoritative statements Speak as the voice of international science in policy fora ICSU

53 Universality of Science The Founding Principle of ICSU –Freedom and Responsibility in science Reaching out to all countries: –Access to Data and Information –Regional Offices ICSU

54 Scientists must ponder over their inability to transfer the sense of objectivity and responsibility that they so effectively deploy in scientific experiments and search for truth to the other side, namely society’s evolution.

55

56 Leonardo da Vinci, a renaissance legend wrote to the Duke of Milan about his idea of building a submarine: “I do not want to precisely describe my method to stay under the water for a long period because people are so ill-natured that they would use it to destroy the keel of boats and to sink the crew”; words whose relevance is not lost in present times as concerns about bio-terrorism, proliferation, stem cell research, human cloning and nanotechnology stare at us. Freedom and responsibility in Science…..

57 ICSU Regional Offices ICSU Regional Office for Africa in Pretoria inaugurated in September 2005 ICSU Regional Office for Asia and Pacific to open in KL, Malaysia in September 2006 Office for in Latin America/Caribbean in Rio, Brazil in December, 2006 Arab region – negotiations underway Aim: To ensure that the voice of developing countries influences the international agenda setting and that scientists from the South are fully involved in the research ICSU

58 Strategic Partnerships The UN System: – – UNESCO – UNEP and its Science Initiative – Commission for Sustainable Development (CSD) – WMO, Climate Change, IPY, Natural Hazards The Academy of Sciences for the Developing World (TWAS), Inter Academy Panel (IAP), Inter Academy Panel Inter Academy Council (IAC), Regional networks The technological community (WFEO, CAETS) ICSU

59 ICSU will continue its unwavering commitment to….. Promote the use of cutting edge science to address global challenges, stimulate innovation and for informed decision making Strive for a fine balance between freedom and responsibility in the pursuit of Science Explore new mechanisms to share scientific knowledge and its understanding with stakeholders in society ICSU

60 ICSU Strategic Plan Process: 6yrs of intense evaluation, review, planning and dialogue with scientists across the world Priority setting: Science driven prioritization of societally important issues Product(s): A total of 13 separate expert reviews, reports and statements Implementation strategy: EB & CSPR “It’s not what the vision is, it’s what the vision does….” - Peter Senge

61 Strategic Themes International Research Collaboration Science and Policy Universality of Science Three inter-related themes: ICSU

62 Earth systems are more intricately coupled through complexity then has been generally recognized. For example, El nino in the south pacific has been implicated to the outbreak of communicable diseases in far away Bangladesh, degradation of wetlands can be connected to birdflu and climate change helps predict outbreak of malaria epidemics in Africa. No one discipline and no single country can tackle complex global scientific problems

63 A problem can never be solved at the level at which it was created


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