The observance of the International Week of Science and Peace was proclaimed 25 years ago by the United Nations General Assembly.
Science and technology have crucial roles to play in promoting progress and peace – from climate change to public health; from food security to sanitation; from disarmament to disaster preparedness.
Yet too often policy-makers 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. 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. Such efforts are crucial for accelerating our work for the Millennium Development Goals and defining a bold development vision for the period beyond 2015.
Science offers many answers to shared threats and many innovations that can help us seize common opportunities. 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. We also have a responsibility to protect all humankind 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. 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. Please accept my best wishes for a memorable observance.