About the author Virginia Fiume

EU CAN DO IT!

EU CAN DO IT!

Sign the petition to the European Parliament on Covid-19, the social, economic and climate crises.

We are living in extraordinary and risky times.

 

We need the EU to take the leadership in putting in place an action plan able to address in the short and in the medium term concrete actions to answer to the global challenges we are facing today. No State can face alone the consequences of Covid19.

 

We call on the EP to implement the adequate mechanisms to resume its work as soon as possible, and to organize a space for the elaboration, proposal and mobilization of all possible instruments. The current EU institutional system has shown its weakness and inadequacy.

 

In addition to short term measures, it is necessary to relaunch the initiative of democratic reform of the EU in order to make it fit for purpose.

 

The EP must be at the forefront of this effort, and push urge the EU to for a strategy to trigger this path, based on 5 pillars:

➡ giving a systemic and common response of the European Union to the Covid-19 crisis;

➡ enhancing reforming the EU healthcare and civic protection instruments and competences to respond to outbreaks;

➡ implementing all economic, financial and monetary policy measures to allow the EU to unlock resources and common measures to support citizens with the consequences of the pandemic, including measures for the mutualisation of public debts, own resources for the EU budget, according to a radical ecological reform of european taxation (including the acceleration of the Green New Deal);

➡ turning the first stages of the Conference on the Future of Europe into a public online assembly and reshape its goals;

➡ contributing to a global mechanism to prevent and face epidemics and pandemics

With your signature you can endorse the official petition to the European Parlament submitted on the 24th of March 2020 and expedite the process of evaluation from the “Peti Commission”


View the supporters of the petition Eu can do it! 

Go to the full text of the petititon


Supported by

The Petition to the European Parliament was elaborated during the 1st Meeting of the Council on Participatory Democracy on the 19th and 20th of March 2020.

Marco Cappato, Lorenzo Mineo, Virginia FiumeEumans
Marco Perduca, Guido Long, Ersilia VaudoScience for Democracy
Pier Virgilio Dastoli Movimento Europeo
Monica FrassoniFederalist and Green
Filomena GalloAssociazione Luca Coscioni per la libertà di ricerca scientifica
Lorenzo Marsili, Niccolò Milanese, Martin PairetEuropean Alternatives
Toni Venable, Anna Comacchio, Beniamino BrunatiECIT Foundation
Jesse ColzaniThe Good Lobby
Roger CasaleNew Europeans
Ulrike Guerot – European Democracy Lab
Michele Fiorillo – EU Networks Coordinator, Civico Europe
Iga Kamocka – Polish Robert Schuman Foundation
Massimiliano Nespola, Journalist and expert of European policies
Leonardo Monaco, Chairman Certi Diritti
Tony Simpson, Permanent EU Citizenship ECI and Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation
Prof. Roberto Castaldi, CESUE
Prof. Fabio Masini, CESUE
Richard Roberts, Nobel Prize for Medicine
Prof. Simona Giordano, University of Manchester, CSEP
Omri  Preiss, Alliance for Europe
Paola Bonfanti, The Francis Crick Institute / UCL
Francois Xavier Mombelli, Le Cannabiste
Reyet Margot, Association Vent d’Ouest
Martina Helmlinger, Grow Scientific Progress
Pr. Tara Dasgupta Dasgupta, University of the West Indies
Milutin Milošević, Drug Policy Network South East Europe
Hervé Parmentier, Centre d’Action LaÏque
Stefano Rimini, Policy Advisor, European Parliament
Pr. Mikel Mancisidor, Universidad de Deusto
Pr. Claudio Radaelli, UCL
Pr. Blanca Mendoza, University Autónoma Madrid
Lavinia Scudiero, Grow Scientific Progress
Pr. John Erik Fossum, University of Oslo
Carlo Caldarini, Bruxelles Laïque
Anne Chamayou, Vice President, Volt France
Istvan Hegedus, Hungarian Europe Society and supporter of the Petition against the Authorisation Law
Lia Quartapelle, Italian MP

..TOGETHER WITH MORE THAN 3,000 CITIZENS (AND GROWING)

JOIN US AND ASK THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT TO ADOPT MEASURES TO ADDRESS COVID-19, THE ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND CLIMATE CRISIS.


Full text

Petition to the European Parliament – Empowering the EU to address global challenges: from Covid-19 to social, economic and climatic crises

Submitted to the European Parliament on the 24th of March 2020

We are living in extraordinary and risky times. We need the EU to take the leadership in putting in place a plan able to address in the short and in the medium term concrete actions to answer to the global challenges we are facing today. No State can face alone the consequences of Covid19.

We call on the EP to implement the adequate mechanisms to resume its work as soon as possible, and to organize a space for the elaboration, proposal and mobilization of all possible instruments. The current EU institutional system has shown its weakness and inadequacy.

In addition to short term measures, it is necessary to relaunch the initiative of democratic reform of the EU in order to make it fit for purpose.

The EP must be at the forefront of this effort, and push  the EU to trigger this path, based on 5 pillars:

➡ giving  a systemic and common response of the European Union to the Covid-19 crisis;

➡ enhancing  the EU healthcare and civic protection instruments and competences to respond to outbreaks;

➡ implementing all economic, financial and monetary policy measures to allow the EU to unlock ressources and common measures to support citizens with the consequences of the pandemic, including measures for the mutualisation of public debts, own resources for the EU budget, according to a radical ecological reform of  european taxation;

➡ turning the first stages of the Conference on the Future of Europe into a public online assembly and reshape its goals;

➡ contributing to a global mechanism to prevent and face epidemics and pandemics;

The first pillar refers to measures needed to face the Covid-19 emergency in the short term, and should be implemented immediately:

➡ 1. Emergency measures and rule of law

The EU should strengthen and implement its resources and instruments (including the solidarity clause ex art. 222) to support national healthcare and civil protection instruments. This includes harmonizing criteria for the measurement and classification of cases fully activating the EU Mechanism of Civil Protection – with particular attention to the prevention of future epidemics and pandemics – for the supply of the necessary medical equipment and its distribution to the countries and regions most in need.

The EU should also monitor and provide guidelines on the respect of fundamental guarantees of the Rule of Law and civil liberties under restriction policies implemented by Member States during the emergency. Other necessary reforms refer to measures needed to empower the EU to face global challenges such as social and economic recession, climate change. Some of these proposals address a constitutional change of the European Union. Where needed, the EP should activate its powers to propose treaty changes in view of the establishment of a constituent process.

➡ 2. Eu competences on healthcare and civic protection

As proposed in the Treaty establishing a EU approved by the EP in 1984, healthcare and protection should become concurrent competences of the EU, subject to the ordinary legislative procedure. Rather than merely sustain or coordinate the action of Member States under particular circumstances, the EU should frame a harmonic legislation in these strategic fields, in particular through the establishment of a European Civil Protection Corps.

➡ 3. Financial instruments and constitutional reforms

The EP should call on the European Commission to implement a coordinated financial intervention to face the current economic depression and its aftermath. Part of these resources should be used to ensure the ecological conversion of european taxation and promote green investments. In order to facilitate the approval of these measures, the EU should introduce ordinary legislative procedures for all EU competences, including fiscal, budget, financial and foreign policy, by removing unanimity vote.

The following financial measures should be proposed by the EP

  • triggering and increasing the budget of the European Globalization Adjustment Fund to provide financial help for workers made redundant due to the emergency. This funding should be also addressed to poor and homeless people, in order to ensure the right to dignity and housing;
  • withdrawing the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) of  2 May 2018 scheduled to start on 1 January 2021, and proposing a new 5-year MFF providing means to transform the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) into a tool for sustainable growth, and funding for European investment;
  • introducing loans and mortgages (EUROBOND or «European Health Bonds») to finance the immediate strengthening of the European and national health systems to cope with the pandemic, which threatens the lives of millions of citizens, as well as the whole economic and financial sustainable growth stability of the EU;
  • moving fiscal issues to the ordinary legislative procedure and provide the EU with fiscal powers to adopt new own resources – such as a  border carbon tax (and carbon tariffs) – to finance the EU budget (or the Euro-area Budgetary Instrument, if the decision could be reached only at the Euro-area level);
  • reviewing the emission reduction targets of the EU in order to make them coherent with the Paris agreement (between -55% to -65% by 2030) and to equip the EU to become climate neutral by 2050.
  • accelerating the implementation of the Green New Deal.

➡ 4. A constitutional debate to relaunch the Conference on the Future of Europe

The social and political context of the Conference on the Future of Europe, scheduled for the beginning of May 2020, has been disrupted by the pandemic.

The European Parliament should propose a new framing and composition, taking stock from the current health crisis and the devastating impact on the economy. The Conference on the Future of Europe should be confirmed and reshaped , in its first stage, as  a public web conference accessible to all European citizens, with a portion of participants in the Conference randomly selected from the the entire EU population in order to obtain a highly diverse cross-section of European society in terms of geography, gender, age, socio-economic background and/or level of education.

The main goals and topics discussed by the the assembly should be:

  • involving citizens in the debate on the public policies needed to tackle the crisis and the post-crisis recovery;
  • drafting proposals for a new Constitutional Pact among citizens and Member States with the aim of empowering and democratizing European Institutions.

➡ 5. European contribution to global measures

The EP should urge the EU to contribute to:

    • increase financial aid for low and middle-income countries (LMICs) to strengthen and prepare their healthcare systems for new epidemics;

    • ensure global access to essential medicines as listed by the WHO;

    • promoted the ratification of international human rights instruments (in particular the additional protocol to the ICESCR) allowing individual remedies in case of denial of the right to health and the “right to science”, and use the UN General Comment on Science to clarify the obligations under art. 15 of the ICESCR establishing a special rapporteur on the “right to science”;

    • promote international collaboration on data sharing and foster the production of open data – with all the necessary measures to ensure individual privacy – including disease surveillance, creating databases of cases that are immediately and easily accessible to relevant organizations, providing rules requiring countries to share the information produced free of charge;

    • reach consensus on research priorities and trial protocols, in order to allow vaccines and antiviral candidates to move quickly through planned decision-making processes strengthening coordination and platform sharing so that regulatory reviews can take place quickly, based on evidence and medical-scientific needs, enabling suppliers to produce low-cost doses on a large scale in a simple way;

    • strengthen the coordination and sharing of lists including local and international trained teams that can be quickly mobilized;

    • ensure adequate funding, in partnership with the private sector, to enable existing structures to be rapidly reorganised for production during a pandemic, including through proper emergency funds to finance the procurement and distribution of vaccines to populations in need wherever they are.

All these are global issues needing a trans-national mobilisation – only through a widespread and inclusive participation will we be able to tackle the political, diplomatic, technical and budgetary obstacles that are necessary to improve the individual and collective quality of life protecting and promoting our human rights.

Final Recommendations of the 6th Meeting of the World Congress for Freedom of Scientific Research

Final Recommendations of the 6th Meeting of the World Congress for Freedom of Scientific Research

1. Participants in the Sixth meeting of the World Congress for Freedom of Scientific Research, held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on 25-26 February 2020 at the African Union headquarters, entitled “The right to enjoy the benefits of science, an African perspective” wish to thank the Commission of the African Union in the person of Professor Sarah Mbi Enow Anyang Agbor, Commissioner for Science and Technology, and Science for Democracy for having promoted the event and the Luca Coscioni Association for organizing it.

2. The quality of the discussion and exchanges that it has generated, and the intellectual interaction of people with different expertise and backgrounds has enriched the Africa-focused debate on the therapeutic potential of stem cells, the importance of precision and genetic medicine, sexual and reproductive health and rights, new breeding techniques and the introduction of safer products on the market, as well as a more open access to science and data sustained by the promotion of civilian uses of artificial intelligence. The proceedings of the Congress, together with this outcome document, will now need to be shared in different constituencies all over the world as they address some of the most pressing issues mankind is facing.

3. What the meetings of the World Congress have identified over the years has proved to be central in the international agenda on issues relating to human progress, sustainable development and in particular on the protection and promotion of the “right to science” with all its implications, as contained in Article 15 of the International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights:

1. The States Parties to the present Covenant recognize the right of everyone:

(a) To take part in cultural life;
(b) To enjoy the benefits of scientific progress and its applications;
(c) To benefit from the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author.
2. The steps to be taken by the States Parties to the present Covenant to achieve the full realization of this right shall include those necessary for the conservation, the development and the diffusion of science and culture.
3. The States Parties to the present Covenant undertake to respect the freedom indispensable for scientific research and creative activity.
4. The States Parties to the present Covenant recognize the benefits to be derived from the encouragement and development of international contacts and co-operation in the scientific and cultural fields.

Thereby reinforcing international Rule of Law.

4. Participants salute the General Comment on Science prepared by the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, fully endorsing the document where it states that:

“This set of rights, entitlements, liberties, duties or obligations related to science, might be brought together in a single broad concept named “the human right to science” in the same way that, for example, “the human right to health” encompasses a broad set of rights and freedoms affecting human wealth and well-being. This approach and this name have already been adopted by the Special Rapporteur on Cultural Rights, by UNESCO, by some international conferences and summits and by some important scientific organizations and publications.

5. Participants call on the UN to develop guidelines on the basis of the General Comment to assist Member States in sharing their efforts towards the implementation of the many aspects of the “right to science”, believing that its full enjoyment can structurally contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals and become a pillar for the future consolidation of the Agenda 2063, that aims to deliver on Africa’s goals for inclusive and sustainable development, unity, self-determination, freedom, progress and prosperity.

6. Science literacy and communication should be promoted and improved to ensure that all individuals have access to reliable and up-to-date information. Participants believe that freedom of research, the sharing of knowledge and the right to enjoy the benefits of science for all should be systematically taken into consideration during decision-making processes.

7. The panel discussions of the Congress have highlighted the need to direct substantial investments into human capital, health, education, and agricultural services, as well as in improving the situation of women as important resources for the welfare, wellbeing and sustainable development of societies. Participants believe that existing science evaluation systems and reward structures are obstacles to a broad implementation of Open Science, and call for change following UNESCO’s recommendations. To this end, Participants appeal to the United Nations so that a Special Rapporteur on the “right to science” is established to better monitor the implementation of the multiple aspects of the right contained in the General Comment.

8. The “right to enjoy the benefits of science”, in particular, alongside discussions on the precautionary principle, should guide a comprehensive, holistic and evidence-based approach to decisions on the latest developments of scientific research and its applications with the hope of engaging as many States and stake-holders as possible, in a regulatory process that can only be trans-national.

9. Participants believe that Gender Equality in Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) is crucial and urgent. To this end, Participants call for monitoring progress in terms of gender equality and equal participation in STI fields. Actions to support efforts in the promotion of gender diversity in STI should be prioritized in all countries.

10. Participants invite Members States of the African Union to initiate all the necessary procedural steps to ratify the Optional Protocol of the International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights, adopted by the UN General Assembly on 10 December 2008, which entered into force on 5 May 2013. The protocol establishes an individual complaints mechanism for the Covenant that can assist States to address the need to update legislations concerning economic, social and cultural issues, including all aspects pertaining to science.

11. Concerning multilateral relations, Participants believe that the notion of “Third Country” – such as the one foreseen in the upcoming Horizon Europe, the 9th Research and Innovation framework program of the European Union – should be updated with particular attention to the issues discussed during the 6th World Congress in order to foster the “Right to Science”.

Participants therefore call on the European Union to take into consideration the peculiarities and complexity presented by the African continent when evaluating the Third Country Openness Criteria for the participation to the Union programmes. Particular attention should be given to the beneficial effects that such a participation would have on the social well-being of citizens, while guaranteeing fair and transparent policies on intellectual property rights.

12. Participants commit to pursue the goals set in these recommendations of the 6th World Congress and remain available to cooperate among themselves to pursue the implementation of these recommendations.

13. Participants hope that the next meeting of the World Congress will be organized in a region of the world where particular efforts remain necessary to promote and protect the “right to science” for the promotion of individual and societal welfare and invite the promoters and organizers to look again at Africa as a possible venue.

A Psychedelic Coming Out

A Psychedelic Coming Out

By Marco Perduca

#ThankYouPlantMedicine

On the 50th anniversary of Woodstock last year there was a lot of talk about psychedelics, even about a psychedelic Renaissance. Everywhere, however, in the country of the Renaissance, the movement is still struggling to establish itself. A group of Dutch activists launched the ThankYouPlantMedicine proposal to dedicate February 20th to the sharing (coming out) of therapeutic experiences with psychedelics to counter the stigma that still affects those substances.

To clarify the ideas, especially if we are dealing with stuff that perhaps enhances them, alters or annihilates, we recover the original meaning of the word: those substances that “free the thought from the superstructures of social conventions” are psychedelic. The term psychedelic is not directly inherited, like many words in our daily vocabulary, from the ancient Greeks – who, however, as for hallucinogenic beverages, did not miss anything. It is a neologism that merges soul, ψυχή and manifest, δήλος.

The quoted words just above are by the English psychiatrist Humphry Osmond in a letter sent in 1956 to his compatriot Aldous Huxley, writer and philosopher, to indicate the so-called “enlargement of consciousness” induced by hallucinogens and entheogens, mainly LSD.

Consumption of these substances can enhance creativity and self-awareness, but it can also accompany therapeutic experiences of various kinds, for many psycho-physical conditions. In both cases, however, the freedom to ingest the products of nature or of chemical synthesis clashes with very restrictive, if not fully prohibitionist, laws or policies that have been pursued in a coordinated manner at global level since the 1960s. The years of the Summer of Love.

The hippies of the sixties and seventies, sometimes called flower children, were an eclectic group: some were openly against the US government, some were anti-capitalist, some anti-communist, but all were against the Vietnam War. Some were interested in politics, others were more interested in art (music, painting and poetry) or in spiritual and meditative practices. In short, there was everything.

Among the groups that have become more interested in psychedelics today, and perhaps thanks to which we can start talking about the Renaissance, there are dozens of researchers and psychotherapists who work on consciousness and knowledge with scientific practices, often heterodox, that mix chemistry, millenary indigenous knowledge and traditions, psychology, ethno-botany, and shamanism all the way up to parapsychology. In short, there is everything. Everything, but all in the name of freedom and mutual listening.

As we all remember, especially those who were not yet born at the time of the Summer of Love, Woodstock is symbolically remembered by the opening and closing pieces: “Freedom” by Richie Havens and the distorted USA anthem by Jimi Hendrix. Legend has it that “Freedom” was not in the playlist of the then basically unknown folk-blues singer and guitarist. Indeed, it seems that the song did not exist at all, but that it was created on the spot when he started playing on that August 15th 1969. In all concerts the first artist playing doesn’t matter, the goal being to warm up the audience and wait for latecomers. Since the big names expected could not reach the festival stage due to a traffic jam caused by the flood of people who, by any means, tried to reach the concert lawn, Havens had to entertain the audience for three hours. After playing everything he knew, “Freedom” emerged from an old spiritual inspired, it seems, by the crowd itself. The raw energy of that first acoustic version of Freedom remains in the annals of music.

Since then Woodstock, its music, and the widespread use of any type of legal and non-legal substance, have been linked to freedom. A freedom that did not cause victims.

Thanks to an idea of ​​the psychiatrist and psychotherapist Ben Sessa, the Breaking Convention has been held since 2011. It is a biennial Woodstock of psychedelic therapies that looks like a festival with a thousand facets including scientific symposia on the most recent and promising research as well as innovative insights on human and social sciences, law, politics, art, history and the philosophy around psychedelics. Among the historical supporters of the Convention are the Beckley Foundation and Maps (Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies); the latter is in phase three of clinical trials for the treatment of post-traumatic stress with MDMA-assisted psychotherapy.

Sessa also collaborates with the team of Robin Carhart-Harris and David Nutt who in April at Imperial College London launched the first institutional centre in the world for research on psychedelics, after having carried out studies and experiments with LSD and psilocybin for years, facing legal problems and a lack of funds.

Although focused on research, the organizers of the Breaking Convention have always kept the doors open to other types of experiences too, involving people who experiment on themselves, self-taught researchers, enthusiasts or representatives of indigenous cultures and traditions. The London festival has a corollary of events that, thanks to the psychedelics, arouse and accompany mental journeys, trigger individual and collective creativity, spirituality and positivity.

“Microdosing” and self-medication are some of the keywords when it comes to psychedelics, even if Dr. Nutt and his collaborators on July 15, 2019 complained that “there is no standard on the quantity taken nor defined protocols” due to the scarce evidence on the therapeutic use of small doses of LSD, mescaline or psilocybin. However, rather than archiving certain practices as an amateurish, anecdotal and observational amusement, researchers wished for systematic studies while launching a search for volunteers for clinical trials on depression.

Ceremonies, gongs, visions, plants, chemistry, anthropology, ethno-botany, archaeology, music and activism make up the multidisciplinary nature of psychedelics in the pursuit of that psycho-cultural and increasingly political unity (Onennes) trying to build a trans-national antiprohibitionist fight.

The fight against the loss of self-determination – at the individual and indigenous people’s level – the criminalisation of cultural choices and “therapeutic” options, as well as the attack on nature and biodiversity, are the key themes of this movement which proposes a “proactive psychedelic Renaissance”.

Coming out on psychedelics helps strengthen a movement that, although not (yet) organized, is increasingly coordinated.

The General Comment on Science of the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights dedicates a whole paragraph to controlled substances:

“Controlled substances and science

Scientific research is prevented on some substances as they fall under international conventions on drug control and are classified as harmful to health and without scientific or medical value. However, there is evidence that there are medical uses for many of these substances or that they are not as harmful as they were thought to be when they were subjected to this regime. This is the case of opium derivatives (for pain treatment and maintenance programs in opioid addiction), cannabis (for epilepsy resistant to other therapies) and MDMA (used in psychotherapy for post-traumatic stress disorder) to the extent that there is available scientific evidence.”

This is not a psychedelic coming out, but a sharing of necessary actions, partly in progress, so that a psychedelic Renaissance starts being possible also in Europe. All the political activities necessary for a qualitative leap must be strengthened and 2020 could also be the crucial year in this field.

If you are interested in joining a group of academics and scientists with a focus on freeing scientific research and controlled drugs, contact us. 

Why Africa for a Congress on Science

Why Africa for a Congress on Science

by Marco Perduca

A most recent search for articles on Africa in the international press will include: the decision, yet to be confirmed, of the Sudanese transitional administration to send Omar al-Bashir to the International Criminal Court that in 2009 indicted him of crimes against humanity, genocide and war crimes; the latest killing of Boko Haram or secessionist activities in Cameroon; chaos in Libya, unrest in Algeria; a contested election in Malawi, impunity in Kenya, and scandals in the Democratic Republic of the Congo or Angola. North-south relations revolve around the need to defend European borders, enforce arms embargoes, boost military cooperation against terrorism – or hide questionable arms deals.

This is the type of reporting that characterizes Africa in the Western media. But Africa is more than a peril for us or a lost cause for its inhabitants, way more than we are led to believe.

According to the World Health Organization, the five major causes of death in Africa (even if in constant decline) are lower respiratory tract infections, HIV/AIDS, diarrhoea, ischaemic heart disease, parasites and vector-borne diseases. On top of health-related issues, the two most common reasons for deaths in the continent are car accidents and interpersonal violence, not armed conflicts. But if we were to judge by the way in which Africa is covered by western media, Africa would still be considered a part of the globe which is on fire due to national and international wars. Africans die for diseases that, in many cases, could be treated with better care and improved welfare systems staffed by prepared professionals.

In an article published in Nature last summer, a group of African researchers made a public call to Build science in Africa arguing that to “cope with climate change and population growth, the continent urgently needs more home-grown researchers”.

We had just come back from Addis Ababa with Marco Cappato to prepare the convening of the 6th World Congress on Freedom of Scientific Research and, perfectly in line with what was proposed by African researchers, we decided to involve them in a seminar at the Law Faculty of the Addis Ababa University in November to address all the problems faced by science in Africa in a moment in which science is becoming so central to the global public debate that the United Nations have decided to dedicate a General Comment to her.

The notion that science is a human right is recent, but mentions of science can be found in dozens of international and regional documents from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in article 27 to article 15 of the International Covenant of Economic Social and Cultural Rights; as recently as 2017 UNESCO has adopted a definition of science. When a country ratifies an international instrument on human rights it agrees to do its utmost to fulfil the obligations deriving from that commitment. If there is no excuse for countries not to respect those obligations, the economic situation of each State may present different scenarios in terms of resources to allow the full enjoyment of economic, social and cultural rights. Multilateral cooperation, conditioned to the respect of human rights, should progressively upgrade the fields in which it articulates its support. There are hundreds of individual and successful cooperations between universities that have been ongoing for years, but the lack of a free scientific space, the hurdles posed to the movement of scientists, researchers, students, and the problems in having diplomas and other academic titles recognized across the world hinders scientific research.

And it is exactly around this that a more structured, comprehensive and trans-national dialogue between rich and developing countries should start: on the need to allow – for all – the full enjoyment of the benefits of scientific progress and its implications, from those historically known to the latest developments. If science is a human right, and as we have seen it is, we need to urge international institutions to invest in freedom of research, in the sharing of knowledge and in the enjoyment of the benefits of applied science.

While there still remains a lot to be done to strengthen the traditional activities promoted in the field of international cooperation for development, additional attention should be dedicated to adopt rules and regulations at the international level to allow a freer sharing of researches and researchers and patients from north to south and vice versa, to invest in providing essential but also more sophisticated medicines to developing countries and in promoting research in all sorts of fields in the so-called “global south”.

The 6th session of the World Congress on Freedom of Scientific Research, facilitated and hosted by the Commission of the African Union, will address issues from stem cell research to precision medicine, reproductive health, new breeding techniques and the introduction of new products in the market as well as free and open access to science, knowledge open data and artificial intelligence to highlight the many issues related to the “right to science” that need to be protected and promoted as if they were a human right. We hope that the two-day gathering will adopt a set of recommendations to contribute to a global movement to promote reforms that are based on facts, freeing decisions from still existing and powerful ideologies – starting perhaps from the one that depicts Africa as “the third world”.


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