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					Science &Technology for a Better World:
       Role of the role of science
      RetuningScience Revisited




                                              ICSU




             Goverdhan Mehta, President
       International Council for Science (ICSU)
        and Indian Institute of Science, India
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
     The Dawn of Knowledge Era
 Spectacular developments in science and technology
 Unparalleled economic growth –
  globalization, competition, innovation at the vanguard
 Uncontrolled exploitation of earth‟s resources



21st century will be the century of knowledge



    .…the process of transition is on
  The pivotal role of S & T…..

“The 20th 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
              Why?


Progress in science has been for most
 part, insular, monolithic and unitary
                    And at
and at an unprecedented pace………

Science has grown exponentially at a rate
of about 7 per cent per annum, doubling
every 10 - 15 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.

cf. Societal evolution domain is ~ 10,000 years
    Relentless pace of technology
          Shrinking time domains

Faraday        1830      1881    Electricity
Watson-Crick 1953        1973    Genetic Engg.
Iijima (CNT)   1991      2001    Logic circuit

 Computing power doubles….………..12 months
More new information has been generated in the
 Networking (Band width) doubles… ..09 months
     last 30 years than in the previous 5000
 Storage (Hard disk) doubles…………. 06 months
  Scientific revolution has outpaced
social revolution for over a century now
 As a consequence of this disconnect…..

…….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…..
       The Paradox of Our Time

   Despite spectacular advances in science and
technology, unprecedented economic progress and
       improvement in the quality of life…..
Growing inequalities




 Knowledge Divide



 A troubled world
Galloping Consumption



 Depleting resources



  A stressed planet
 Bangalore-2006




Poverty + Deprivation   Strife + Conflict
  Environmental Pollution/Degradation




Over consumption       „Un-sustainability‟
Environmental Pollution/Degradation




    Effluents of the affluent
e-waste or WEEE




Where do computers go,
     to die or kill?
  Time is running out!
          What can science do ?

  In the 21st century, a more inclusive
             view of science


„..conception that science is autonomous is unsustainable.‟
       A “new” role for Science

                   Science


                   Innovation
Other knowledge                 Sustainable
  Streams                       development

  Science needs to shed its splendid isolation
      A “new” role for Science

                  Science


                  Innovation
 Societal                      Policy
engagement                     Linkage

Synergy between scientific & societal progress
           benefits
Science       S         Society
             supports


Values                  Acceptability
Methods                 Equity
Products                Sustenance
                           benefits
      Science                  S             Society
                             supports


       Values                               Acceptability
       Methods                              Equity
                      Cohabitation
       Products                             Sustenance

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
„….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
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.
 The focus in the new age science…
           Beyond discovery :
  addressing human needs and concerns

           Great opportunities……
Connecting to UN „Millennium Development Goals‟
   eg. hunger, health, education, environment
Linkages with Global Change Research Programs
   eg. climate change, energy issues
    What is the way forward……?

  Centrality of societal engagement, policy
interventions, and international partnerships
 “Policy, not charity, will determine
 whether new technologies become
   a tool for human development
     everywhere” …. and for all

          There is enough on this earth for
          everyone‟s needs but not for
          everyone‟s greed
                        - Mahatma Gandhi

UNDP-HDR 2001
“There is hardly any social problem on which
science cannot make some contribution”
                    -D. K. Price, Scientific Estate

              Science for policy
                      and
              Policy for Science

Science is never sufficient to solve a problem
completely; it is, however, always necessary.
        The challenge of poverty…….

     “ 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”

  It has become appallingly by political will and
„Policy interventions backed obvious that our
     commitment can make a our difference‟
    technology has exceeded vital humanity.

 UNHD Report 2001
The reality……
„political will in a globalizing world is focused
on security than on development; stronger
in finance and trade than in environment…‟
The need …
…..address causes not consequences

For that……
…a political leadership that is scientifically
informed and scientific leadership that is
politically savvy is required…..
             A peaceful planet


       Sustainable Development


            An inclusive world
Eradicate poverty        Secure environment

       Science + Society + Policy
“Science is becoming a world system”
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.
No one discipline and no single country can
 tackle complex global scientific problems


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 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!
                               *Palmer et.al. Nature, 2006
  Natural Hazards




Sunami, Katrina, Kashmir…
 Deforestation    Explosions    Traffic




Plane crash

                 Man made hazards

Mining             Oil spills
Global warming and climate change
 coral               insects




           „The sixth extinction crisis‟



                        Amanita
sponge                  Muscaria


         Catastrophic loss of species predicted,
          100-10,000 times faster than normal
                                            Nature, July 20, 2006
            Health and human wellbeing:
    From aging population to emerging epidemics




  AIDS, Neurodegenerative disorders & Infectious diseases
AIDS alone is estimated to account for loss of 11,000 billion
The essentials: An inclusive world view;
 the perception that “its all about us”
must be discarded; “its about all of us”

     Everyone has aspirations
                &
      Everyone is vulnerable
In the 21st century national interests and
  international partnerships have to be
        viewed as complementary
 Towards a world of interdependence
We are ……

“……travelers together
on this bright blue ball
     in nothingness”
           -Carl Sandburg
Strengthening International Science
     for the Benefit of Society

                  75

    Celebrating 75 years: 1931-2006
   ICSU: a long history                   ICSU


• 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 mission
                                                        ICSU

 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
      The ICSU Vision                      ICSU


“….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 ….”
Three strategic themes
                                                   ICSU


                    International
                      Research
                    Collaboration


              Science         Universality
             and Policy       of Science


 “It‟s not what the vision is, it‟s what the vision does”
                                          - Peter Senge
www.icsu.org
     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!
Thank you
  ICSU: Building on experience                     ICSU


A few landmarks since 1931:
 International Geophysical Year (1957-1958)
 International Biological Programme (1964-1974)
 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)
International Research Collaboration

• Linking research, monitoring, and assessments
  with focus on global environmental change
• International Polar Year 2007-2008
• Natural and Human-Induced Environmental
  Hazards and Disasters
• Science for Sustainable Development
• Science for Human Health
• Sustainable Energy
    Science for Policy              ICSU



• 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
     Universality of Science            ICSU



• The Founding Principle of ICSU
  – Freedom and Responsibility in science

• Reaching out to all countries:
  – Access to Data and Information
  – Regional Offices
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.
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.
Freedom and responsibility in Science…..

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.
       ICSU Regional Offices
                                                  ICSU
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 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
        Strategic Partnerships                      ICSU


• 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 will continue its unwavering          ICSU


       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
 “It‟s not what the vision is, it‟s what the vision does….”
                                          - Peter Senge

  ICSU Strategic Plan        2006-2011
• 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 www.icsu.org
• Implementation strategy: EB & CSPR
           Strategic Themes            ICSU


Three inter-related themes:

                International
                  Research
                Collaboration


            Science     Universality
           and Policy   of Science
No one discipline and no single country can
 tackle complex global scientific problems
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.
A problem can never be solved at
 the level at which it was created

				
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posted:5/9/2010
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