UN chief kicks off international week with call to harness science for greater good

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe (file photo)

11 November 2013 – From climate change to public health, science and technology can help countries forge a sustainable future, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stressed today, marking the start of the International Week of Science and Peace.

“Science offers many answers to shared threats and many innovations that can help us seize common opportunities,” Mr. Ban said in his message for the Week. “Ours is the first generation with the knowledge and the tools to end extreme poverty. Ours is the generation that must – and can, with the technologies already at our disposal – forge a path towards a sustainable future.”

Proclaimed 25 years ago by the General Assembly, The International Week seeks to generate greater awareness of the relationship of science and peace among the general public, and encourage academic discussions on the issue.

“Too often policymakers are not aware of the solutions that modern science and technology can bring to today’s challenges. And too much of the world remains cut off from scientific advances,” Mr. Ban said.

“One key challenge is to promote ‘pro-poor’ research that addresses the needs of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people, such as small-scale farmers. Other imperatives include closing the digital divide in access to information technology and expanding education to better train young people for jobs in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math.”

Mr. Ban noted that these efforts are crucial for accelerating the achievement of the eight anti-poverty targets known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and shaping the post-2015 development agenda.

However, he added that the international community also has the responsibility to protect all mankind against the destructive uses of scientific achievement and capacity, most notably by working for a nuclear-weapon-free world and to contain the spread of other weapons of mass destruction.

“We can do all of this and more if we work together to harness the power of science for the greater good everywhere, and promote evidence-based policy-making,” he said. “I look forward to working with the scientific and academic communities and all other partners who can contribute to the global mission of the United Nations for peace, development and human rights.”


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