An article in this week’s Science (AAAS News and Notes) describes the 5th World Science Forum, which was held this past November 17th-19th. More than 100 nations were represented with talks and panels delivered under the theme “The Changing Landscape of Science: Challenges and Opportunities.” Many presenters described a new era with increasing contributions from Asia and developing nations, and a call for organizations and their participants to focus on shared goals in order to address common challenges. UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova said, “Scientific research is becoming more collaborative, with many partnerships transcending organization and national borders. The center of gravity is shifting. The past dominance of…The European Union, Japan, and the United States is giving way to a multipolar world.” Multiple discussions where held exploring how best to increase global cooperation, with ideas such as modeling European policies, for example making grants transferable across borders, and the institution of standard laws and ethics in research practices.
In this line, AAAS Chief Executive Officer Alan I. Leshner announced the launch of Science and Diplomacy, a new AAAS online publication aimed at increasing communication between science and foreign policy bodies. Additionally, AAAS and the Academy of Sciences for the Developing World (TWAS) signed an agreement on November 17th to pursue joint projects promoting science and diplomacy through the international Programme on Science and Diplomacy. Romain Murenzi, the executive director of TWAS said, “This initiative is designed to bring discussions about science to the forefront of international affairs in ways that will help science to serve an even more prominent role in promoting peaceful relations among nations. The first step is to help build the capacity of the scientific and diplomatic communities to communicate more effectively with each other.”