Africa will have a transnational network of parliamentarians for the “right to science”, which will be monitored by the United Nations starting in March.
The 6th Meeting of the World Congress for Freedom of Scientific Research ended on the 26th of February in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The Congress was promoted by Associazione Luca Coscioni, Science for Democracy and the African Union. 300 people from 35 countries took part in the two-day event.
The VI World Congress on Freedom of Scientific Research, dedicated to “The right to enjoy the benefits of science” has ended. The event was promoted by Associazione Luca Coscioni, Science for Democracy and the African Union. The World Congress was the first international appointment after the adoption of the General Comment on Science by the UN Committee for Economic, Social and Cultural rights. Once this text is approved, in March, Member States from all over the world will have to report on their policies in the fields of science and technology. There will thus be a chance to discuss the creation and free circulation of scientific knowledge and equality of access to research in Geneva, as currently happens for classic human rights.
300 attendees from 35 countries gathered in Addis Ababa to discuss about sustainable development, research on stem cells, genome editing, sexual health and reproductive rights, open science and artificial intelligence. In addition to the leaders of Associazione Luca Coscioni and Science for Democracy, the African Union and several African MPs, speakers included Sir Richard John Roberts, Nobel Prize for Medicine; the Italian Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, Emanuela Del Re, who sent a video message, UNESCO Vice Director, Angela Melo, Professor Mikel Mancisidor, Associated Professor, Washington college of Law, co-author of the General Comment on Article 15, Malin Parmar, Associated Professor at the Department of Developmental and Regenerative Neurobiology, Lund University, Sweden, Pete Coffey, from the London project on eye and the co-president of Associazione Luca Coscioni, Michele De Luca.
Waiting for the General Comment on Science to be officially adopted, participants in the World Congress for Freedom of Scientific Research decided to promote a network of Members of Parliaments for the right to science, which will be coordinated by Science for Democracy. The first to take part were legislators from Tanzania, Zambia, Senegal and the Ivory Coast.
At the conclusion of the World Congress for Freedom of Scientific Research a final resolution was adopted, with five main requests:
- Guidelines to assist member states to implement the “right to science” as it is articulated in the General Comment;
- The creation of a Special Rapporteur on the “right to science” to constantly monitor the respect of the implication of science for human rights;
- Strengthening of investments in human capital, health, education and new agricultural techniques and empowering the role of women as fundamental resources for quality of life and sustainable development of society;
- Valorization of multidisciplinary approaches based on evidences to balance the “precautionary principle”;
- The invite to ratify the Optional Protocol on the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, adopted by the UN General Assembly on the 10th of December 2008.