The Sixteenth General Conference of The World Academy of Sciences for the advancement of science in developing countries (TWAS) was successfully convened in a hybrid format from 21 to 24 November 2022, and coordinated by Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China, and TWAS Secretariat in Trieste, Italy, in collaboration with the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and the China Association for Science and Technology (CAST).
We, the participants to the Conference:
Recognizing the vital role that basic sciences play in all areas of our lives, in particular, to attain sustainable development and improve the quality of life for people all over the world;
Recognizing, in particular, the vital role that basic sciences play in addressing global challenges, such as eradicating poverty, achieving food security, fighting diseases, improving education, facilitating access to clean energy, accelerating economic growth, protecting the environment, and ultimately support sustainable development, particularly in the least developed and in science- and technology-lagging countries;
Aware that the global community is at a critical moment in human history, and that current challenges require collective global responses based on evidence-based thinking;
Aware also that basic sciences offer both tools and know-how to deal with the current global challenges;
Recognizing the momentum created by the seven international scientific years observed between 2005 and 20191, which paved the way to UNESCO General Conference resolution of 25 November 2019 and to United Nations General Assembly resolution of 2 December 2021, officially proclaiming the year 2022 the International Year of Basic Sciences for Sustainable Development;
Recognizing that UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science was adopted by the General Conference of UNESCO at its forty-first session, on 23 November 2021, defining shared values and principles for open science, and identifying concrete measures on open access and open data, with the aim of bringing citizens closer to science and facilitating the production and dissemination of scientific knowledge around the world;
Emphasizing that the proclamation of the International Year of Basic Sciences for Sustainable Development highlighted the tight link between basic sciences and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs);
Recognizing that science, technology and innovation (STI) policies feature strongly in the targets of SDG 17 on partnerships2, that several of the Goals are directly linked to scientific progress3, and that STI are cross-cutting components of all the SDGs;
Considering that basic sciences have been instrumental in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, as they allowed the international community to understand that the infection is caused by a virus, and how this virus propagates, what its genetic sequence and variations are;
Considering that mastering basic sciences is instrumental to ensure a balanced, sustainable and inclusive development of the planet;
Emphasizing that The World Academy of Sciences was founded on science as a global and shared 'language' that fosters and stimulates international cooperation; and it has the mission of offering scientists from developing countries opportunities to be an indispensable part of the broader global scientific community, thus overcoming the inequalities determined by geographical, gender, age and ethnicity barriers;
Emphasizing also that combining scientific excellence with inclusiveness has increasingly been the Academy's focus with the growing involvement of female scientists and young researchers; that TWAS Young Affiliates programme, launched in 2007, has helped to foster a new generation of scientists in the developing world, and that TWAS Young Affiliates Network (TYAN) operates to increase the interactions and cooperation among TWAS Young Affiliates;
Emphasizing TWAS long-term commitment to train generations of basic scientists through South-South collaboration, which resulted in being able to offer the largest postgraduate and postdoctoral fellowship programme of South-South cooperation in the world;
Emphasizing that basic sciences provide the foundation onto which applied sciences and technological innovations can be built, and that The World Academy of Sciences put basic sciences at the centre of its strategy already in 1986, when it launched its Research Grants Programme in basic sciences;
Further emphasizing that TWAS Research Grants Programme in basic sciences started with just one scheme and grew up to the four of today, thus becoming the pillar of TWAS activities;
Unanimously call all stakeholders for:
A multi-stakeholder cooperation in the establishment, strengthening and development of the scientific and technological capacity of developing countries with a view to accelerating the realization of the social, economic and cultural rights of the peoples of those countries; and the promotion by science institutions of exchanges among scientists—South-South,
North-South, and South-North—with special attention to attracting and sustaining young researchers of science- and technology-lagging countries, so as to ensure the future of science in these countries;
Broadening the commitment to foster research in basic sciences, particularly in the 66 countries identified by TWAS as lagging in science and technology;
Promoting interdisciplinarity—strengthening the interaction and integration of different disciplines to achieve sustainable development in the global South;
Creating a global scientific scenario that is open and inclusive, highlighting the contribution of female scientists at the highest level, and embracing innovation through the involvement of young researchers;
Involving policymakers, in the overall discourse, by showcasing how basic sciences affect our lives, thus showing how science can inform policies and policies can foster science-based innovation, and eventually bridge the gap between research, policy and practice;
Globally promoting science literacy at the level of laypersons, thus further deepening the understanding and dissemination of basic sciences through science institutions and policymakers; and helping increase scientists’ ability to convey the principles and outcomes of science, which is crucial in spreading, shaping and consolidating science literacy in non-scientific communities worldwide;
Steadily financing basic sciences, so that more funding can be allocated for basic scientists' research in low-resources settings;
Broadening open access and furthering knowledge-sharing among scientists, thus giving the opportunity to scientists, as well as governmental agencies, higher education institutions, international organizations and publishers to continue to work towards the publication in open access at acceptable costs;
Ensuring a prosperous future for science and its practitioners, while implementing the request expressed by the United Nations General Assembly in its resolution A/RES/76/14 that UNESCO, in collaboration with other relevant entities of the United Nations system, be the lead agency and focal point for the Year the International Year of Basic Sciences for Sustainable Development, thus fostering an overall enabling environment that attracts the best scientists from developing countries and enhances academic inclusion and diversity.
1. Through seven resolutions, one for each observance, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 2005, the International Year of Physics; 2008, the International Year of Planet Earth; 2009, the International Year of Astronomy; 2011, the International Year of Chemistry; 2014, the International Year of Crystallography; 2015, the International Year of Light and of Light-based Technologies; and 2019, the International Year of
the Periodic Table of Chemical Elements.
2. Sustainable Development Goals Targets 17.6 and 17.8, respectively, aim to “[e]nhance North-South, South-South and triangular regional and international cooperation on and access to science, technology and innovation and enhance knowledge sharing on mutually agreed terms, including through improved coordination among existing mechanisms, in particular at the United Nations level, and through a global technology facilitation mechanism“ and to “[f]ully operationalize the technology bank and science, technology and innovation capacity-building mechanism for least developed countries by 2017 and enhance the use of enabling technology, in particular information and communications technology.” They are: Goal 3 on good health and well-being, Goal 6 on clean water and sanitation, Goal 7 on affordable clean energy, Goal 13 on climate action, Goal 14 on life below water, and Goal 15 on life on land.
3. They are: Goal 3 on good health and well-being, Goal 6 on clean water and sanitation, Goal 7 on affordable clean energy, Goal 13 on climate action, Goal 14 on life below water, and Goal 15 on life on land.