VI World Congress for Freedom of Scientific Research

VI World Congress for Freedom of Scientific Research

The sixth session of the World Congress for Freedom of Scientific Research organized by the Luca Coscioni Association will be held in Addis Ababa on 25 and 26 February 2020. The meeting is promoted together with Science for Democracy and the Commission of the African Union.

For the last five years, the Luca Coscioni Association has placed the promotion of the “right to science” at the center of her international activities; it is also for this reason the title of the meeting is The right to enjoy the benefits of science, an African perspective.

As a matter of fact, the “Right to Science” foresees the necessary freedom to research, the need to share knowledge, and the universal right to enjoy the benefits deriving from the most recent scientific discoveries.

Throughout 2019, Marco Cappato and Marco Perduca, along with other members of the Luca Coscioni Association and Science for Democracy, have traveled to Africa to define the program. In the photo below they are together with Professor Sarah Anyang Agbor African Commissioner for
Research.

Learn more about the full program and the registration for the World Scientific Congress for Freedom of Research

Biographies des orateurs du Congrès Mondial

Biographies des orateurs du Congrès Mondial

Margareth Gfrerer

Margareth Gferer a obtenu un doctorat en Économie et un MA en Education de l’Économie à l’Université de Graz (Autriche) et un MA en Commerce International à l’Université Économique de Vienne. Après des années dans l’industrie elle est rentrée à l’Université comme conférencière – d’abord à FH-JOANNUM (Autriche); par la suite dans différents postes en Indonésie. Elle a été impliquée dans de nombreux projets dans le domaine de la gestion des infrastructures avant son rôle actuel en Éthiopie, où son thème est l’accès ouvert à la science et ses implications.

Malin Parmar

Malin Parmar est professeure de neuroscience cellulaire à l’Université de Lund en Suède et une investigatrice Roberston à la New York Stem Cell Foundation. Sa recherche se concentre notamment sur les aspects translationnels. Elle guide l’effort STEM-PD européen, conçu pour amener les neurones de dopamine dérivés des cellules souches aux essais cliniques, et collabore avec des networks européens et internationaux autant qu’avec des partenaires industriels pour développer des nouvelles thérapies basées sur les cellules pour réparer le cerveau, notamment en ce qui concerne le Parkinson.

 Richard J. Roberts 

Le Dr. Richard J. Roberts est le Chief Scientific Officer aux New England Biolabs à Beverly, Massachusetts. Il a obtenu un doctorat en Chimie Organique en 1968 à l’Université de Sheffield et a travaillé comme stagiaire postdoctoral à Harvard avant de se déplacer au Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. En 1977 son laboratoire découvre les “split genes and mRNA splicing” pour lesquels il recevra le prix Nobel de Médecine en 1993. La même année son laboratoire, en collaboration avec Xiaodong Cheng, découvre le “base flipping”. Il se concentre désormais sur l’analyse bioinformatique des séquences de génomes et les études de méthylation de ADN des bactéries.

Vittoria Brambilla 

Vittoria Brambilla a obtenu son doctorat en Biologie des Plantes à l’Université de Milan en 2007 et a travaillé comme chercheuse à l’Université Heinrich Heine de Düsseldorf et à l’Institut Max Planck pour la Recherche sur l’amélioration des plantes à Cologne avant de retourner à Milan en 2011. Elle est désormais Professeure Adjointe à l’Université de Milan, où elle dirige un groupe de recherche qui travaille sur la biologie du développement du riz. Elle applique la connaissance de la recherche de base à l’amélioration du riz et elle combat pour utiliser des instruments d’édition du génome tel que CRISPR.

 Fares Mili

Doctorat en médecine: 1985; Diplôme de spécialité en pneumologie: 1985; Master de Tobacologie: 2010; Diplôme universitaire d’addictologie: 2013; Spécialiste en maîtrise du traitement du tabac (CTTS mayo Clinic Roschester Minnesota) février 2017; Certificat national de pratique du traitement du tabac (NCTTP) par l’Association for Addiction Professionals (NAADAC) et l’Association for the Treatment of Tobacco Use and Dependence (ATTUD). Décembre 2018; Président de la Société Tunisienne de Tobacologie et des Comportements Addictifs «STTACA») mai 2017; Membre du comité exécutif de la Société tunisienne des maladies respiratoires et d’allergologie (STMRA) 2012-2017; Membre de la Société de Pneumologie Francophone (SPLF) depuis 2013; Membre de l’European Respiratory Society (ERS) depuis 2015; Membre du Comité national tunisien de lutte antitabac; Consultant OMS.

Roberto Caso

Co-directeur du Trento LawTech Group, Professeur associé de droit privé comparé à l’Université de Trento, faculté de droit, où il enseigne droit de la propriété intellectuelle comparé, droit de la privacy comparé, droit et art du copyright, CopyrightX Trento. Il est auteur et éditeur de publications dans le domaine de la propriété intellectuelle, privacy, et protection des données personnelles. Il est président de l’Association Italienne pour la Promotion de la Science Ouverte [AISA]. Membre associé du Centre for Intellectual Property Policy (CIPP), McGill University (Montréal).

Emmanuel Okogbenin

Emmanuel Okogbenin est un sélectionneur moléculaire avec une formation professionnelle supplémentaire en agronomie et physiologie végétale. Il a plus de 28 ans d’expérience en tant que scientifique du manioc dans des organisations nationales et internationales en Afrique et en Amérique latine. Il est actuellement directeur du développement et de la commercialisation des programmes à la Fondation africaine des technologies agricoles au Kenya. Ses fonctions actuelles consistent notamment à faciliter l’accès et le transfert de technologies grâce à un partenariat public-privé pour une agriculture commerciale et durable.

Michele Usuelli

Conseiller régional de Lombardie, + Europa con Emma Bonino; Néonatologiste; Partenariat pour la santé maternelle, néonatale et infantile: point focal pour la Société italienne de néonatologie.

Michele est maintenant un homme politique après une vie consacrée aux soins néonatals. Il gère des projets maternité-néonatals en Afghanistan, au Cambodge, au Soudan, au Malawi, en Sierra Leone et en République centrafricaine depuis 8 ans. Tout en étant engagé dans la gestion clinique des nouveau-nés et la formation du personnel sur le tas dans le continuum des soins, il a découvert que des services de contraception gratuits et conviviaux sont accueillis par une grande partie des femmes partout et cela contribue à réduire la mortalité maternelle et néonatale; il le traduit maintenant en décisions politiques.

Michele De Luca

Michele De Luca, MD, est directeur du Centre de médecine régénérative « Stefano Ferrari » et du Centre interdépartemental pour les cellules souches et la médecine régénérative à l’Université de Modena et Reggio Emilia et directeur scientifique et fondateur du spin-off universitaire Holostem.

Il a consacré la plupart de ses activités scientifiques à la médecine translationnelle. Il est reconnu comme un scientifique de premier plan en biologie des cellules souches épithéliales squameuses humaines visant à développer la thérapie cellulaire et la thérapie génique à médiation par les cellules souches épithéliales.

Margaret Karembu

La Dr Margaret Karembu est directrice de l’AfricaCenter de l’ISAAA, basée au Kenya. Elle supervise les centres d’information sur la biotechnologie basés en Afrique qui travaillent avec des programmes nationaux pour améliorer la communication scientifique et l’environnement propice aux biosciences modernes. Éducatrice expérimentée en communication scientifique, Margaret a encadré des champions de la communication scientifique à travers l’Afrique et offre la possibilité de mettre en valeur ces compétences à travers le mois Drumbeat – Africa Bioscience Trends et la plateforme Africa Biennial Biosciences Communication (ABBC). Elle est titulaire d’un doctorat en éducation aux sciences de l’environnement de l’Université Kenyatta, Kenya.

Tequila V. Bester

Tequila a plus de 15 ans d’expérience professionnelle dans la société civile, traitant des questions relatives aux droits civils, aux droits des personnes handicapées et des personnes âgées, à la défense du travail et de l’emploi, de l’immigration et de la défense de la santé mentale. Elle est titulaire d’un master en psychologie du counseling de l’Université du Pacifique de l’Alaska et d’un doctorat en droit du New England Law|Boston, se spécialisant dans le droit public international. Elle est coordinatrice de programme au FIHRRST, mettant en œuvre les deuxième et troisième piliers de l’organisation: les villes des droits de l’homme, les personnes vulnérables et d’autres problèmes sociaux.

Pete Coffey

Le professeur Pete Coffey, DPhil, est responsable thématique du développement, du vieillissement et des maladies à l’Institut d’ophtalmologie de l’University College London et co-directeur exécutif de la translation au Center for Stem Cell Biology and Engineering de l’UC Santa Barbara. Ses résultats incluent le lancement du London Project to Cure Blindness qui vise à développer une thérapie par cellules souches pour la majorité de tous les types de dégénérescence maculaire liée à l’âge, des travaux séminaux (tels que ceux décrits par Debrossy & Dunnett, Nature Neuroscience 2001) sur la transplantation rétinienne.

Solomon Mekonnen

Le Dr Solomon Mekonnen est membre du personnel académique de la bibliothèque avec le grade de professeur adjoint et de coordinateur en libre accès à l’Université d’Addis-Abeba (AAU). Outre son rôle à l’AUA, Solomon coordonne le programme national d’accès ouvert d’un réseau international appelé Electronic Information for Libraries (EIFL) représentant le Consortium of Ethiopian Academic and Research Libraries. Il est également organisateur local en Éthiopie pour un réseau international appelé Open Knowledge Foundation. Dans le cadre de son rôle d’organisateur local, il coordonne la communauté Open Knowledge en Éthiopie en se concentrant sur les données ouvertes et la science ouverte. Solomon a participé à de nombreux projets liés aux données ouvertes et au libre accès au niveau national et institutionnel, notamment un projet sur l’ouverture et la visualisation des données des élections éthiopiennes de 2015, Ethiopian Journals Online, National Digital Repository et la politique nationale de libre accès. Il a également organisé et dirigé divers ateliers et formations sur le libre accès et les données ouvertes. Solomon a terminé son doctorat en systèmes d’information à l’Université d’Afrique du Sud.

Ghada El-Kamah

Ghada El-Kamah MBBCh, MSc, PhD, Professeure et cheffe du département de génétique clinique au centre national de recherche (NRC), se concentre sur les maladies héréditaires et génomiques. Elle a reçu sa formation clinique au NRC, sa formation moléculaire au NRC et au Gaslini en Italie, en création de tissus à Neuss en Allemagne et éthique de la recherche au NRC. Coordinatrice des équipes des troubles sanguins héréditaires et cliniques de génodermatoses. Membre du conseil d’administration de la société africaine de génétique humaine et du comité égyptien pour la pour la formation en génétique pathologique. Coordinatrice éthique entre le département de génétique clinique et le IRB-NRC.

Michele d’Alessandro

Michele D’Alessandro travaille au Bureau des relations internationales des médecins avec Africa CUAMM. Après s’être spécialisé dans les études sur la paix et les conflits, il a travaillé comme observateur des droits de l’homme en Colombie, stagiaire à l’ambassade d’Italie en Éthiopie, stagiaire au Parlement européen en Belgique et consultant pour l’OIT au Liban. Il a obtenu sa maîtrise en études européennes et internationales de l’Université de Trente et a mené 3 ans de recherche universitaire dans la Corne de l’Afrique.

Solomon Rataemane

Le Prof Solomon Rataemane est un psychiatre à la Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University à Pretoria (2003-2019), Afrique du Sud. Il a participé aux South Africa Science Forums en parlant de la réduction des dégâts du tabac. Il a un intérêt particulier pour la médecine des addictions et est le président actuel du Comité Ministériel Consultatif sur la santé mentale. Il a été président de l’Association Africaine des Psychiatres et il est affilié à de nombreuses associations locales et internationales dans le domaine de la santé mentale.

6th Meeting Of The World Congress For Freedom Of Scientific Research: Biographies of speakers

6th Meeting Of The World Congress For Freedom Of Scientific Research: Biographies of speakers

Bioghraphies of the speakers of 6th Meeting Of The World Congress For Freedom Of Scientific Research

Margareth Gfrerer

Margareth Gfrerer holds a PhD in Economics and a MA in Economics Education from  University Graz (Austria) and a MA in International Commerce from Vienna University of Economics. After years in industry she returned to University as senior lecturer and researcher – first to FH-JOANNUM (Austria); followed by different university assignments in Indonesia. She has been involved in numerous international projects in the field of infrastructure management prior her current assignment in Ethiopia, where her focus is on Open Science and its impacts.

Malin Parmar

Malin Parmar is a professor in cellular neuroscience at Lund University in Sweden and a New York Stem Cell Foundation – Robertson investigator. Her research has a strong translational focus. She leads the European effort STEM-PD, designed to bring stem cell-derived dopamine neurons to clinical trials, and she collaborates within European and International networks as well as Industry partners to develop new, cell based therapies for brain repair with focus on Parkinson’s Disease.

Richard J. Roberts 

Dr. Richard J. Roberts is the Chief Scientific Officer at New England Biolabs, Beverly, Massachusetts. He received a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry in 1968 from Sheffield University and worked as a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard before moving to Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. In 1977 his laboratory discovered split genes and mRNA splicing for which he received the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1993. In that same year his laboratory, in collaboration with Xiaodong Cheng, discovered base flipping. He now focuses on bioinformatic analysis of genome sequences and studies of bacterial DNA methylation.

Vittoria Brambilla 

Vittoria Brambilla obtained her PhD in Plant Biology at the University of Milan in 2007 and worked as a researcher at the Heinrich Heine University in Duesseldorf and at the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research in Cologne before moving back to Milan in 2011. She is currently Assistant Professor at the University of Milan, where she runs a research group dealing with rice developmental biology. She applies knowledge from basic research to  rice breeding and she fights for using genome editing tools like CRISPR.

Fares Mili

Doctorate in Medicine:  1985; Specialty Degree in Pneumology :  1985; Master Degree of Tobacology : 2010; University degree of Addictology :  2013; Master Degree Tobacco Treatment Specialist ( CTTS mayo Clinic Roschester Minnesota) February  2017; National Certificate in Tobacco Treatment Practice ( NCTTP) by the Association for Addiction Professionals ( NAADAC) and the Association for the Treatment of Tobacco Use and Dependence ( ATTUD). Decembre 2018; Chairman of The Tunisian Society of Tobacology and Addictive Behavior  “STTACA” ) May 2017; Executive board member of the Tunisian Society of Respiratory Diseases and Allergology (STMRA) 2012- 2017; Member of the French Speaking Pneumology Society (SPLF) since 2013; Member of the European Respiratory Society (ERS) since 2015; Member of the Tunisian National Committee for Tobacco Control; WHO consultant.

Roberto Caso

Co-director of Trento LawTech Group, is Associate Professor of Comparative Private Law at University of Trento, Faculty of Law, where he teaches Comparative Intellectual Property Law, Comparative Privacy Law, Copyright law and Art, CopyrightX Trento. He is author and editor of publications in the field of Intellectual Property, Privacy and Personal Data Protection. He is President of the Italian Association for the Promotion of Open Science [AISA]. Associate member of the Centre for Intellectual Property Policy (CIPP), McGill University (Montréal)

Emmanuel Okogbenin

Emmanuel Okogbenin is a Molecular Breeder with additional professional background in Agronomy and plant physiology. He has over 28 years working experience as cassava scientist in both national and international organizations in both Africa and Latin America.  He is currently the Director for Program Development and Commercialization at the African Agricultural Technology Foundation, Kenya. His current duties include facilitating access and transfer of technologies through public private partnership for commercial and sustainable agriculture. 

Michele Usuelli

Regional Councillor of Lombardia, +Europa con Emma Bonino; MD neonatologist; Partnership for Maternal Neonatal and Child Health: focal point for Italian Society of Neonatology.

Michele is now a politician after a life dedicated to neonatal care. He has been managing maternal-neonatal projects in Afghanistan, Cambodia, Sudan, Malawi, Sierra Leone and CAR for 8 years. While engaged to the clinical management of the newborns and staff training on the job within the continuum of care, he has found out that friendly free of charge contraceptive services are welcomed to a vast part of women wherever and this helps reducing maternal and neonatal mortality; he translates it now in political decisions.

Michele De Luca

Michele De Luca, MD, is Director of the Centre for Regenerative Medicine “Stefano Ferrari” and of the Interdepartmental Centre for Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia and Scientific Director and founder of the university spin-off Holostem.

He has dedicated most of his scientific activities to translational medicine. He is recognised as leading scientist in human squamous epithelial stem cell biology aimed at the development of epithelial stem cell-mediated cell therapy and gene therapy.

Margaret Karembu

Dr. Margaret Karembu is Director of ISAAA’s AfricaCenter based in Kenya. She oversees the Africa-based Biotechnology Information Centers that work with national programs to enhance science communication and enabling environment for modern biosciences. A seasoned science communication educator, Margaret has mentored science communication champions across Africa and provides opportunity to showcase these skills through the month Drumbeat – Africa Bioscience Trends and the Africa Biennial Biosciences Communication (ABBC) platform. She holds a PhD in Environmental Science Education from Kenyatta University, Kenya.

Tequila V. Bester

Tequila has more than 15 years of professional experience working in civil society, addressing issues dealing with civil rights, disability and elderly rights, labor and employment advocacy, immigration, and mental health advocacy. She holds a Master of Science degree in Counseling Psychology from Alaska Pacific University and Juris Doctor from New England Law|Boston, with concentration in Public International Law. She is Programme Coordinator at FIHRRST, implementing the organization’s second and third pillar: Human Rights Cities, Vulnerable Persons and Other Social Issues.

Pete Coffey

Professor Pete Coffey, DPhil, is Theme Lead of Development, Ageing and Disease at University College London’s Institute of Ophthalmology and the Co-Executive Director of Translation at UC Santa Barbara’s Center for Stem Cell Biology and Engineering. His achievements include the launch of the London Project to Cure Blindness that aims to develop a stem cell therapy for the majority of all types of age-related macular degeneration, seminal work (as described by Debrossy & Dunnett, Nature Neuroscience 2001) on retinal transplantation.

Solomon Mekonnen

Dr. Solomon Mekonnen is an Academic Staff in the Library with the rank of Assistant Professor and Open Access Coordinator at the Addis Ababa University (AAU). Apart from his role at AAU, Solomon coordinates nationally Open Access Programme of an international network called Electronic Information for Libraries (EIFL) representing Consortium of Ethiopian Academic and Research Libraries. He is also a local organizer in Ethiopia for an international network called Open Knowledge Foundation. As part of his role as local organizer, he coordinates the Open Knowledge community in Ethiopia focusing on open data and open science. Solomon has participated in many projects related to open data and open access at the national and institutional level including a project on opening and visualizing Ethiopian election 2015 data, Ethiopian Journals Online, National Digital Repository and national open access policy. He also organized and run various workshops and trainings on open access and open data.  Solomon completed his PhD in Information system from the University of South Africa.

Ghada El-Kamah

Ghada El-Kamah MBBCh, MSc, PhD, Professor and Head of the Clinical Genetics department, National Research Centre (NRC) focuses on inherited disorders and genomics. She received her Clinical training at NRC, molecular training at NRC Gaslini, Italy, tissueengineering (Neuss, Germany) and research ethics at NRC. Coordinator of the Hereditary Blood Disorders and Genodermatoses Clinics & Research Teams. Board member in the African Society of Human Genetics and Egyptian committee for pathology training-genetics. Ethical coordinator between the Clinical Genetics department and IRB-NRC.

Michele d’Alessandro

Michele D’Alessandro works at the International Relations Office of Doctors with Africa CUAMM. After specializing in peace and conflict studies, he has worked as a human rights observer in Colombia, an intern at the Italian Embassy to Ethiopia, a trainee at the European Parliament in Belgium, and a consultant for the ILO in Lebanon. He earned his MA in European and International Studies from the University of Trento, and conducted 3 years of academic research in the Horn of Africa.

Solomon Rataemane

Prof Solomon Rataemane is a psychiatrist at Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University in Pretoria (2003-2019), South Africa. He has participated in South Africa Science forums addressing the subject of tobacco harm reduction. He has particular interest in addictions medicine and he is the current chairperson of the Ministerial Advisory Committee on Mental Health. He is the past president of the African Association of Psychiatrists and he is affiliated to numerous local and international associations in the field of mental health.

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. 

Open Science to fight coronavirus

Open Science to fight coronavirus

 

By Federico Binda and Andrea Boggio

 

The new coronavirus, which has now infected over 75.000 people, almost all of them Chinese citizens, has found insidious and silent allies: the limits to the freedom of circulation of scientific information, which have contributed to the delay in doctors’ and scientists’ reaction in violation of the “right to science” established by UN Conventions.

The spreading of the virus is showing all of the limits of the international system in responding to health emergencies. A system which was established when another virus from the same family, known as SARS, spread 18 years ago.

The SARS, with over 8.000 individuals infected in 28 countries, for a total of 774 deaths (less than half those due to the coronavirus from January to today) brought about the adoption of the International Health Regulations (IHR), an international law instrument that forces the 196 World Health Organisation’s (WHO) members to work together, following a detailed protocol, to protect global public health.

The IHR are fundamentally based on two parts: one dealing with prevention, the other with health emergencies management. The latter, as was made clear by the WHO Committee for the last coronavirus, is essentially based on containment: every country needs to implement actions aimed at locating, isolating and treating every case, trace contacts between potentially infected people and promoting every quarantine and containment measure proportionate to the gravity of the emergency. It is precisely what we are witnessing today.

These measures are necessary, without a doubt – and generate considerable attention from public opinion. But are they enough?

Borrowing an image from the informatics world, we could say that the global response system is made up of two parts: a frontend, the interface that all users see, and a backend, the engine that makes everything work. In this metaphor our strategies to respond to the spreading of a potential pandemic are focused on the interface, neglecting the engine.

When the WHO declared a new global health emergency, the international response mechanism is activated. Under WHO coordination, all necessary measures are deployed to stop the spreading of the disease: ports and airports are closed, the circulation of goods and people is reduced, until we reach extreme decisions such as the one taken by the Chinese government to quarantine an entire region. In the meantime, data and information are shared (or at least should be shared) between all actors, so that they can be immediately available to everyone.

But the crucial part of the response system is behind all this: it is the engine described above, and it includes the work of scientists, doctors and researchers, the mechanisms of data sharing and analysis capability, the development of new vaccines and new medicines, the specific training of medical professionals to face potential emergencies.

This backend also includes access to and the sharing of relevant scientific literature, so that it is available to researchers but also to authorities and decision-makers, to the media and, ultimately, to all citizens. A culturally informed and scientifically equipped population could better assess the risk without panicking. Prepared citizens-patients will necessarily be more cooperative with health authorities and will be, for example, more incline to follow quarantine measures and other public order dispositions, will seek medical counsel more promptly in case of symptoms and, if necessary, willingly accept classical clinical treatments and possible vaccines.

It is easy to notice that these structural measures, also because of the way in which the new coronavirus is spreading, have not been deployed in sufficient measures. The People’s Republic has certainly given new proof of the strength of its extraordinary administrative machine by building new hospitals with over 2.300 beds from scratch in the city of Wuhan to treat patients, but this shouldn’t make us forget that – at the beginning – there weren’t enough beds in a large urban area with over 11 million inhabitants. On a different front, articles and scientific publications concerning coronaviruses have remained protected by paywalls, available to the public, including technical public, made up of doctors and health professionals who were trying to get information on the disease, only with a payment. Only weeks into the epidemic, and only after a group of activists created a “pirate” archive open to all with over 5.000 articles, did large commercial editors, pushed by international pressure, decide to break – only on this topic – the walls impeding the spreading of studies made by scientists all over the world.

All of this while panic, racism and xenophobia were spreading, with the WHO reacting by starting a campaign to fight rumours and hearsays about the disease (to the point of having to deny the rumour according to which garlic consumption would reduce the risk of getting coronavirus).

Which instruments, then, do we have at our disposal to implement the necessary measures to ensure the backend, the engine described above, works in a proper way and prepares us to face the next pandemic?

International law offers us a precious instrument, coming from the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, starting from the “right to health”, included in article 14, and the “right to science”, included in article 15, which established both the right for scientists to have the freedoms needed for research, such as the one to share discoveries, and the right of every human being to enjoy the results of scientific progress and its applications.

The respect and application of these rights on the part of States would guarantee (and bind) adequate investments in research and development, ample support to Open Science policies starting from open access to scientific publications, adequate training of health professionals, the building and maintenance of hospitals and medical centres in addition to, naturally, a wide sharing of scientific culture in the various segments of the population.

A series of measure non immediately appreciated by the public at large. But in their absence the global response system to health emergencies (and not only) cannot function properly: the current emergency, hoping that it will be confined in the best way possible, is an alarm bell.

We will be discussing these themes in a few days in Addis Ababa at the Sixth Session of the World Congress on Freedom of Scientific Research titled, fittingly, “The right to enjoy the benefits of science”.

 

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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The real challenge for democracy is to make us enjoy the benefits of science

The real challenge for democracy is to make us enjoy the benefits of science

By Marco Cappato

The fear of scientific and technologic progress is the main fuel of populisms, so much so that it becomes an inescapable question for any democracy. Fighting for the respect of the right “to enjoy the benefits of scientific progress and its applications” (art.15 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights) is the urgency of our times for politics aiming at being democratic and liberal.

At the end of the 1990s the problem seemed to be hostility towards globalisation, from which the “no global” movement started and the foundations for the souverainist wave were laid. The challenge for liberal democracies was to propose an alternative to globalism and nationalism: the globalisation of rights and democracy itself. The creation of the International Criminal Court in 1998 or the 2007 moratorium on capital punishment were examples of actions in this direction. Unfortunately, neither the United States nor the European Union were able face this challenge, and today – without a strengthening of rules and with international institutions lacking – we risk going back even in the field of economics, towards new protectionisms.

At the beginning of March the UN will approve a “General Comment” interpreting the human right to science, which includes the freedom for scientists to conduct research and the right for citizens to enjoy its benefits. It is not a new right, but rather the concrete enforcement of decisions taken by the UN half a century ago that have remained dead letter ever since. Once this text is approved, States all over the world will be forced to report back on their politics in the fields of science and technology. There will thus be a chance to discuss in Geneva – as currently happens for classic human rights – about free creation and circulation of scientific knowledge and equality in the access to the technological results of research itself.

If science has for the past few centuries been crucial for civilian, cultural, democratic and economic development, today it is decisive also for human evolution, if we think about technologies such as genome editing or those that go by the name of “artificial intelligence”. In both cases, it is not about technologies that are “only” apt to influence our life, but that can also modify our very nature and determine the future of our species in a way that was never possible before.

It is very clear that in front of changes of this magnitude, the old theme of equality, which has always interested politics, today is presented in new, more dramatic and urgent, versions. To stay “behind”, genetically or in terms of access to increasingly pervasive information, does not “only” mean to have a lower standard of living, but can even become a downgrade into a lower and inferior species, not able to share the same social relationships as before. It would be the end of the democratic and liberal ideal of equality between all citizens at least in terms of the starting point, and the negation of the premises of the rule of law.
Such scenarios are not imaginative dystopias; we must take the instinctive fears of the population less equipped to face this change seriously.

It is useless to be technophobes or techno enthusiasts, optimists or pessimists. We need to act.

The Sixth World Congress for Freedom of Scientific Research will take place at the African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on February 25 and 26, and is organised by the African Union together with Associazione Luca Coscioni and Science for Democracy. There will be discussions with Nobel Prize winners, scientists, academics and governmental and institutional representatives from all over the world – and in particular Africa – about how the continent that will be at the centre of the residual demographic and economic growth will be ready for the enforcement of the human right to science.

It is particularly the responsibility of the “western” ruling classes to abandon any welfarist approach or, worse, any depiction of the African continent solely as an immigration policy threat. It is in Africa that the possibility to make the poorest regions of the world enjoy the benefits of scientific progress is most real, whether in regions stricken by climate-related droughts or in the outskirts of the world’s megalopolis.

The UN General Comment on the human right to science and the process we are starting in Addis Ababa together with the African Union represent a new chance – after the missed opportunity in the 1990s – for the globalisation of individual freedoms and rights, by joining the process that more than any other will have consequences for our life and our future.

Instead of trying to comfort people invoking a past that will not be back, it is the role of liberal democracies to invest resources, rules and politics so that knowledge and technology are spread through criteria of equity and fairness. If we don’t do it, the question will increasingly be in the hands of authoritarian and dictatorial powers, who know how to be quicker and more efficient in taking advantage of progress, to the detriment of important segments of the population who are cut out of it.
The challenge is to keep science, democracy and human rights united; we need to take action now.


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Un Congrès Mondial à Addis-Abeba les 25 et 26 février pour affirmer “le droit global à la science”

Un Congrès Mondial à Addis-Abeba les 25 et 26 février pour affirmer “le droit global à la science”

Science for Democracy: “Le coronavirus devrait être pris comme une opportunité pour affirmer la science comme droit humain. Un fort message aux Nations unies d’un point de vue africain.”

Addis-Abeba – Rome, 17 février

Science for Democracy, avec l’Associazione Luca Coscioni, organise la sixième session du Congrès Mondial pour la Liberté de Recherche Scientifique, sur « LE DROIT A BENEFICIER DES PROGRES DE LA SCIENCE » à Addis-Abeba du 25 au 26 février 2020. L’évènement est co-sponsorisé par la Commission de l’Union africaine dans la personne de la Prof. Sarah Anyang Agbor, Commissaire pour la Science et la Technologie. Parmi les orateurs : Sir Richard John Roberts, prix Nobel de physiologie, et Abdi Adam Hoosow, Ministre des travaux publics, Somalie.

Les thèmes au centre de la discussion contribueront au débat global sur le « Droit à la Science », qui constitue l’objet du dernier « Commentaire Général » du Comité des Nations unies pour les droits économiques, sociaux et culturels, qui sera bientôt adopté aux Nations unies de Genève.

Une fois approuvé, le document créera une obligation pour les États Membres de faire des rapports sur le respect de la liberté indispensable pour la recherche scientifique et le droit humain fondamental de bénéficier des avantages du progrès scientifique et de ses applications.

Le Congrès Mondial d’Addis-Abeba inclura des discussions sur les avantages concrets qu’amène la science dans différents domaines, tels que: la promotion de la culture scientifique; le libre accès à la science; la modification du génome humain, les biotechnologies végétales; les maladies rares, infectieuses et non transmissibles ainsi que l’aérospatial, les big data et l’intelligence artificielle.

L’interaction entre la science, la méthode scientifique, les débats sur la base de preuves e le processus de prise de décision dans le plein respect de l’État de droit a toujours été au centre des cinque rencontres du Congrès Mondial organisées depuis 2004 aux parlements italien et européen par l’Associazione Luca Coscioni.

Le Congrès d’Addis expliquera les ramifications du « droit de » et du « droit à » la science sur une variété de thématiques qui deviennent cruciales afin que les pays africains puissent réaliser les objectifs de développement durable d’ici 2030, en soutenant que la légalité internationale devra prendre en considération structurale le besoin d’éduquer le public sur la manière dans laquelle fonctionne la science, à travers la vérification, duplication et falsification de la recherche. Tous les objectifs de développement durable bénéficieraient d’investissements dans la recherche et la technologie pour fortifier la science et l’innovation dans les pays en voie de développement.

Marco Perduca, Président de Science for Democracy et Coordinateur du Congrès, a déclaré:

« L’émergence liée au coronavirus vient de démontrer à quel point il est important de compter sur la libre circulation d’information scientifique, des investissements appropriés sur la recherche scientifique et les structures médicales, un système global de coordination et d’intervention. Tous sont des aspects du droit à la science qui, si pleinement respecté, pourrait fortifier la démocratie et l’état de droit partout dans le monde. Nous espérons que le Congrès d’Addis-Abeba offrira des propositions concrètes sur comment mieux promouvoir et protéger la science en tant que droit humain. »

Afin de participer au Congrès et obtenir l’accréditation auprès de l’Union africaine il est impératif d’envoyer IMMEDIATEMENT une photo du passport à info@sciencefordemocracy.org

PROGRAMME ET ORATEURS (ICI LES BIOGRAPHIES)

MARDI 25 FEVRIER

08:00 Enregistrement 

08:30 Café de bienvenu

09:00 Ouverture

Maîtres de Cérémonie

Dr Mahama OuedraogoDirecteur pour les Ressources Humaines, Science et Technologie, Commission de l’Union africaine 

Marco Perduca, Co-fondateur et coordinateur, Science for Democracy

Discours d’ouverture

S.E. Sarah Mbi Enow Anyang, Commissaire pour les Ressources Humaines, Science et Technologie de l’Union africaine

Filomena Gallo, Secrétaire-Générale, Association Luca Coscioni pour la liberté de recherche scientifique

09:30 Introduction: Le Droit à et de la Science 

Emanuela Del Re, Vice-Ministre pour les Affaires Etrangères, Italie (vidéo-message)

Angela Melo, Directeure, Politiques et Programmes, UNESCO (vidéo-message)

Mikel Mancisidor, Professeur Associé de Droit au Washington college of Law, Expert des Traités ONU au CDESC, co-rédacteur du Commentaire Général sur l’article 15 de la CIDESC (via Skype)

11:30 Lectio Magistralis: La recherche scientifique est la clé pour le développement futur

Sir Richard John Roberts, Prix Nobel en Physiologie, Chief Scientific Officer, New England Biolabs 

Hon. Abdi Adam Hoosow, Ministre des Travaux Publics, Reconstruction et Logement, République Fédérale de Somalie 

13:00 Pause Déjeuner

14:15 Première Session: Les avantages de la recherche sur les cellules souches et la modification thérapeutique du génome

Modérateur: Marco CappatoCo-fondateur, Science for democracy; Trésorier, Associazione Luca Coscioni

Cellules-souche: faits, espoirs, canulars et obstacles

Michele De Luca, Professeur de Biochimie, Directeur du Centre pour la Médecine Régénérative “Stefano Ferrari”, Université de Modena et Reggio Emilia, Modena, Italie

Comment peut-on utiliser les cellules souche pour réparer le cerveau

Malin Parmar, Professeur de Neurobiologie développementale et régénérative, Université de Lund, Suède

Le London Project pour soigner la cécité à 10 ans, avons-nous trouvé un remède?

Pete Coffey, Professeur de Psychophysique visuelle. Institute of Ophthalmology. Faculty of Brain Sciences, University College London, Royaume-Uni

La situation et les problèmes rencontrés par la recherche génétique dans les pays africains en développement: l’Égypte comme exemple

Ghada El Kamah, Professeure de Clinical Genetics, Coordinatrice de l’équipe Hereditary Blood Disorders and Genodermatoses Clinics and Research, Human Genetics and Genome Research Division, National Research Centre, Caire, Egypte.

Questions et Réponses

16:15 Pause Café

16:30 Deuxième Session: Les avantages des politiques sur la base de faits pour avancer les droits sexuels et reproductifs

Modérateure: Pia Locatelli, ancienne membre des Parlements italien et européen, ancien membre du IPU Advisory Group sur l’HIV/AIDS et la santé de la Mère du Nouveau-Né et de l’enfant (MNCH) (par la suite IPU Advisory Group on Health).

Hon Dr Christopher Kalila, MP Zambia, Hon Dr Ouattara Bakary, MP Cote d’Ivoire, Hon Aboubakry Ngaide, MP Senegal, Hon Sabina Wajiru Chege, MP Kenya, Hon Fatuma Gedi, MP Kenya, Hon Mwakibete Fredy Atupele, MP Tanzania

Surpopulation et planning familial volontaire, un nouvel agenda politique

Michele Usuelli, Conseiller régional en Lombardie,+Europa con Emma Bonino; Néonatologiste; Partnership for Maternal Neonatal and Child Health: focal point for Italian Society of Neonatology, Italie

L’importance des faits dans la prise des décisions – Consolata Opiyo, Vice-présidente, International Community of Women Living with HIV Eastern Africa (ICWEA)

La santé e de la mère et de l’enfant au centre du continuum des sois: l’expérience de Doctors with Africa CUAMM

Michele d’Alessandro, Bureau des Relations Internationales de Doctors with Africa CUAMM

19:00 Diner à l’Union africaine

MERCREDI 26 FEVRIER

08:00 Enregistrement

08:30 Café de bienvenu

09:00 Troisième Session: Les avantages des innovations scientifiques dans l’agriculture et les bien de consommation 

Modérateurs: Vittoria Brambilla, PhD, Département de Sciences Environnementales et Agricoles, Université de Milan, Italie et Marco Perduca, Co-fondateur et coordinateur, Science for Democracy

Sir Richard John Roberts, Prix Nobel Prize en Physiologie

Communiquer la science de la modification du génome: passé, présent et futur

Margaret Karembu, directrice du ISAAA AfriCenter, présidente de l’Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology (OFAB) Kenya Chapter Programming Committee.

Modification du génome et son potentiel pour l’agriculture africaine

Marc HeijdeVIB-International Plant Biotechnology Outreach

L’espace en évolution et les niches émergentes pour un breeding moderne en Afrique

Emmanuel Okogbenin, Directeur, Programme Development and Commercialization (AATF)

Engager les preneurs de décisions politiques dans l’acceptation des innovations scientifiques (leçons de la réduction des dégâts en Afrique du Sud)

Solomon Tshimong Rataemane, MD, Professeur de Psychiatrie à la Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University

Réduction des dégâts du tabac: les bases scientifiques

Fares Mili, Président de la Société Tunisienne de Tobaccologie et de Comportements Addictifs 

Reconnaitre le droit à l’information et le droit à la science: un parcours pour réaliser le droit à la santé dans les pays à revenu bas et moyen

Tequila BesterProgramme Coordinator pour les Droits Humains, les Personnes Vulnérables, et autres thèmes sociaux auprès de l’Association for International Human Rights Reporting Standards

11:00 Pause café & Photo opportunity

13.00 Pause Déjeuner

14:00 Quatrième Session: Accès Libre à la Science, données et Intelligence Artificielle 

Modérateur: Federico Binda, Steering Committee, Science for Democracy et Département de Mathématiques “F. Enriques”, Université de Milan

Lydia Gachungi, Expert Regional pour la sécurité des journalistes et le développement des médias, UNESCO 

Science ouverte vs propriété intellectuelle dans un ordre démocratique

Roberto Caso, Professor Associé, Droit Privé Comparatif, Université de Trento 

La littératie numérique apporte la liberté de la recherche – l’expérience éthiopienne

Margareth Gfrerer, Higher Education Strategy Center, Ethiopie

Les bienfaits de la science ouverte pour la science

Solomon Mekonnen, Coordinateur National pour l’Accès libre, Université d’Addis-Abeba et EIFL

 

16:30 Présentation du document final et recommendations, débat général

18:00 Remarques finales 

S.E. Sarah Mbi Enow Anyang, Commissaire pour les Ressources Humaines, Science et Technologie de l’Union africaine

Marco Cappato, Co-fondateur, Science for democracy; Trésorier, Associazione Luca Coscioni

Sir Richard John Roberts, Prix Nobel en Physiologie, Chief Scientific Officer, New England Biolabs 

Autres membres de la Commission de l’Union Africaine, représentants des organizations internationales et/ou des agences des Nations unies

18:45 Adoption du document final

19:30 Diner au Restaurant Habesha 2000

Vous trouverez plus d’informations sur le Congrès ici.

Pour plus d’informations veuillez contacter info@sciencefordemocracy.org

Science/African Union: A World Congress in Addis Ababa on 25/26 February to affirm “the right to science globally”

Science/African Union: A World Congress in Addis Ababa on 25/26 February to affirm “the right to science globally”

Science for Democracy: “Coronavirus should be taken as an opportunity to affirm science as a human right. A strong message to the United Nations from an African perspective.”

Addis Ababa – Rome, February 17th

Science for Democracy, together with Associazione Luca Coscioni, is organizing the 6th meeting of the World Congress for Freedom of Scientific Research on “THE RIGHT TO ENJOY THE BENEFITS OF SCIENCE” in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from 25 to 26 February 2020. The event is co-sponsored by the Commission of the African Union in the person of Prof. Sarah Anyang Agbor, Commissioner for Science and Technology. Among speakers: Sir Richard John Roberts, Nobel Prize in Physiology, and Abdi Adam Hoosow, Minister of public works, Somalia.

The themes at the center of the debate will contribute to the global debate on the “Right to Science”, which constitutes the object of the latest “General Comment” of the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, soon to be adopted at the United Nations in Geneva.

Once approved, the document will create an obligation for Member States to report on the respect of both the freedom indispensable for scientific research and the fundamental human right to enjoy the benefits of scientific progress and its applications.

The World Congress in Addis Ababa will include panel discussions on the concrete enjoyment of the benefits of science in different fields, such as: the promotion of scientific culture; open access to science; genome editing on humans, vegetal biotechnologies; rare, infectious and non-transmissible diseases as well as aerospace, big data and artificial intelligence.

The interaction between science, the scientific method, evidence-based debates and the decision-making process in full respect of the international Rule of Law has always been at the center of the five meetings of the  World Congress organized since 2004 at the Italian and European Parliament by the Associazione Luca Coscioni.

The Addis Congress will explain the ramifications the “right of” and the “right to” science on a variety of topics that are becoming crucial for African countries to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, arguing that international legality will need to take into structural consideration all issues related to scientific evidence when policy decisions are taken, stressing the need to educate the general public on the ways in which science works through the verification, duplication, and falsification of research. All SDGs would greatly benefit from investments in research and technology to strengthen science and innovation in the developing world.

Marco Perduca, President of Science for Democracy and Coordinator of the Congress, declared:

“The Coronavirus emergency has just proved how important it is to rely on the free circulation of scientific information, appropriate investments in scientific research and medical facilities, a global system of coordination and intervention. All these are aspects of the right to science which, if fully respected, could strengthen democracy and the rule of law the world over. We hope that our Addis Congress will provide some concrete proposals on how to better promote and protect science as a human right.”

You can find out more about the Congress here.

For more information please contact info@sciencefordemocracy.org.

The General Comment on Science is very good but could be even better!

The General Comment on Science is very good but could be even better!

The Associazione Luca Coscioni (ALC) and Science for Democracy (SfD) commend the work of the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights on their comprehensive “General Comment on Science” that has addressed the implications of science within a human rights framework. 

The Associazione Luca Coscioni and Science for Democracy are convinced that given the importance of the elements included in the GC, the arguments it provides should be developed into guidelines for Member States to assist them in their implementation of Article 15 of the International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights. 

The Asociazione Luca Coscioni dedicated its 2015 General Assembly to the “Right to Science”, and has been working to highlight the implications and repercussions of science on the welfare and wellbeing of society. Since its founding in October 2018, Science for Democracy has reinforced those activities to raise awareness on the need to take as many scientific developments as possible into consideration in the drafting of the GC. Side-events at the UN in Geneva, New York, and Vienna have been organized to promote the inclusion of science-related issues within the wider human rights discourse thanks to the contribution of jurists and scientists.

Given the importance of the General Comment, it is of the utmost importance that the final paragraph is moved to the beginning of the text. 

This set of rights, entitlements, liberties, duties or obligations related to science, analyzed in the General Comment, 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 name have already been adopted by the Special Rapporteur on Cultural Rights,  UNESCO, some international conferences and summits and by some important scientific organizations and publications.

The recommendations submitted by the Associazione Luca Coscioni and Science for Democracy intend to suggest a further elaboration on some issues such as for instance:

  • the need to emphasize a free research regardless of the issue investigated;
  • the need to clarify the freedom for researchers to communicate their work;
  • the need to balance the precautionary principle with the “innovation” principle; 
  • the need to involve the public in evidence-based decisions;
  • the need to avoid any reference to “morality”;
  • the need to take into further consideration developments in the field of research on controlled substances for medical reasons,
  • the need to expand on indigenous traditions.

The Associazione Luca Coscioni and Science for Democracy believe that the General Comment on Science should suggest the creation of a Special Rapporteur, whose work should be entirely dedicated to the monitoring of all the human rights-related implications of science. 

Read the Written contribution to the Draft General Comment on Science

Three recommendations on the General Comment on Science

Three recommendations on the General Comment on Science

A few weeks ago, the draft General Comment on Science was published.

Science for Democracy has been campaigning for years for the full recognition of the right to science, and will be submitting comments to the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. There are three main recommendations:

1) Paragraph 89, the last of the document that is dedicated to “A human right to science” should be included at the outset of the text and, possibly, reformulated as follows:

This set of rights, entitlements, liberties, duties or obligations related to science, analyzed in this General Comment, 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.

2) The General Comment should become the basis for the development of guidelines to assist Member States in their documenting the implementation of article 15 of the ICESCR.

3) Given the growing importance of science in our daily life, and its possible positive and negative impact on billions of people, Member States should consider the possibility to establish a Special Rapporteur on the Right to Science or the human rights implication of Science (as described in the General Comment) also through ad hoc debates to be hosted by the UN Council on Human Rights.

Science for Democracy invites everyone to contact their government to share these recommendations and ask them to submit them on behalf of their Member State, in order to show the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights that there is a wide consensus around these proposals.

The General Comment will also be part of the agenda of the VI World Congress for freedom of scientific research that will be held in Addis Ababa on 25-26 February.