Award recognises efforts for peace, in particular in resolving Eritrea border conflict
The prime minister of Ethiopia, Abiy Ahmed, has won the 2019 Nobel peace prize, the Norwegian Nobel committee has announced.
Berit Reiss-Andersen, the committee’s chair, said the award recognised Abiy’s “efforts to achieve peace and international cooperation, and in particular his decisive initiative to resolve the border conflict with neighbouring Eritrea”.
Elected in April last year, one of Abiy’s biggest victories was the peace deal, signed in July last year, which ended a nearly 20-year military stalemate with Eritrea following their 1998-2000 border war.
Abiy has also pushed through reforms at home, dramatically changing the atmosphere in what was known as one of the more repressive states in Africa. His public renunciation of past abuses by previous rulers drew a line between his administration and those of his predecessors, as did the appointment of former dissidents to senior roles, as well as large numbers of women.
Continue reading the article on The Guardian
Senior mice treated with THC improved on learning and memory tests
Picture the stereotypical pot smoker: young, dazed and confused. Marijuana has long been known for its psychoactive effects, which can include cognitive impairment. But new research published in June in Nature Medicine suggests the drug might affect older users very differently than young ones—at least in mice. Instead of impairing learning and memory, as it does in young people, the drug appears to reverse age-related declines in the cognitive performance of elderly mice.
Researchers led by Andreas Zimmer of the University of Bonn in Germany gave low doses of delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, marijuana’s main active ingredient, to young, mature and aged mice. As expected, young mice treated with THC performed slightly worse on behavioral tests of memory and learning. For example, after receiving THC, young mice took longer to learn where a safe platform was hidden in a water maze, and they had a harder time recognizing another mouse to which they had previously been exposed. Without the drug, mature and aged mice performed worse on the tests than young ones did. But after the elderly animals were given THC, their performances improved to the point that they resembled those of young, untreated mice. “The effects were very robust, very profound,” Zimmer says.
Continue reading the article on Scientific American
In a development that has ignited optimism among companies and organizations that front for the adoption of GM crops, Kenya has revealed intentions to lift the ban to allow the country to accrue the benefits of the technology.
For the East African nation the move toward lifting the ban …. comes hot on the heels of widespread studies that have validated the safety of GM crops and repudiated the Seralini paper, the controversial study by Gilles-Eric Seralini that alleges GMOs cause cancer and which Kenya used in justifying the ban.
Read the full article on Genetic Literacy Project
There is a big challenge not just to produce food in a more sustainable way for the sake of our planet, but to keep up with feeding a global population predicted to grow to around 9 billion by 2050.
Although it is increasingly recognized that technology can make a big difference to agriculture, the contribution of the ‘Fourth Agricultural Revolution’ has to date been much more muted than for other sectors …. Agricultural technology is a multi-faceted subject, and the [World Economic Forum] has identified 12 major areas that could revolutionize global food production:
Alternative proteins: Partially replacing traditional sources of protein such as livestock, which today account for 15 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, with novel alternatives derived from insects, aquacultures, plants or cell cultures. One example is the burgers developed by California’s Impossible Foods which look and taste like meat but are wholly plant-based.
Read the full article on Genetic Literacy Project
Claims have hurt efforts to help people around world in acute pain, say palliative care experts
An attack on the World Health Organization (WHO) by US politicians accusing it of being corrupted by drug companies is making it even more difficult to get morphine to millions of people dying in acute pain in poor countries, say experts in the field.
Representatives of the hospice and palliative care community said they were stunned by the Congress members’ report, which they said made false accusations and would affect people suffering in countries where almost no opioids were available.
“At least 5 billion people live in countries where there is limited or no availability of opioids for pain treatment,” according to the International Association for Hospice and Palliative Care (IAHCP). More than 18 million people a year worldwide die with “untreated, excruciating pain”, the organisation says.
The report by the Democratic congresswoman Katherine Clark and the Republican congressman Hal Rogers, published in May, has undermined efforts to encourage governments to buy generic morphine or other appropriate opioids and doctors to prescribe them, dealing a severe blow to the struggle to help people dying in acute pain from cancer, Aids, injuries and other conditions, the IAHPC says.
The palliative care experts say low- and middle-income countries need cheap morphine, not patented opioid drugs such as OxyContin, at the centre of the US opioids crisis.
According to the UN’s International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), only 10% of the world’s morphine is used for palliative care. Almost all of the remainder is converted into codeine and used in cough medicine for sale in wealthy nations. “That makes it difficult for countries with fewer resources to procure any of the limited amount of morphine available for palliative care,” said a 2018 INCB report on access to controlled drugs for medical use.
There is anxiety in many countries about the potential for opioid addiction, which has been heightened by events in the US.
Continue reading the article on The Guardian
Science for Democracy is currently involved (and will increasingly work on this aspect) in launching its own European Citizens’ Initiatives, but also supports those of other organisations.
An European Citizens’ Initiative is an official request to the European Commission on matters of its competence. In order to be considered by the Commission, an European Citizens’ Initiative needs to gather 1 million signatures of EU citizens across at least 7 member states.
Below you can find the list of ECIs that Science for Democracy is currently supporting.
Act for our rights asks the EU to implement a system to monitor the rule of law in all the EU member states – launched by Science for Democracy.
Stop global warming aims at the establishment of a European carbon tax to decrease taxes on lower incomes and further develop renewable sources of energy – launched by Science for Democracy.
Fairosene demands the end of the privilege of the aviation sector, which financially incentivises the use of planes over trains, even for short distances.
Grow Scientific Progress asks the EU to focus on sustainability, safety and responsible innovation when it comes to new plant breeding techniques.
This list will be updated when new ECIs are published. Please sign and share widely!
If you want to support our efforts on these campaigns and join the team of volunteers active across Europe, you can contact Virginia Fiume, Science for Democracy Projects Coordinator for the European Citizens Initiatives – email@example.com
Climate change believers vs climate change deniers; environmental facts vs apocalyptic narratives; evidence-based debates vs consensus-driven policies: the dialogue between science and society has never been more complex.
On October 18th, we will discuss what science and politics can jointly do for the living environment with prominent academics, international activists and European politicians at The House of Europe in The Hague.
After the conference we will meet with Marco Cappato and Marco Perduca, co-founders of Science for Democracy, for an informal session on political activism.
The House of Europe has a limited number of seats available – register here!
The provisional programme for the event is as follows:
Science for the environment: Knowledge and Action
Time: 1.30 PM – 5.30 PM
Venue: The House of Europe – Korte Vijverberg 5, 2513 AB Den Haag, the Netherlands
13.30 – 13.45 Registration
13.45 – 13.55 Welcome speech
Marco Perduca, former Italian Senator, founder and co-chair of Science for Democracy
13.55 – 14.10 Keynote speech
Tom van der Lee, Member of the Dutch House of Representatives, GroenLinks
14.10 – 15.25 First roundtable: Evidence-based policymaking
moderator: Claudia Basta, researcher, Science for Democracy co-founder
- Claire Dunlop, Professor of Politics and Public Policy, University of Exeter
- Katharine Rietig, Assistant Professor in International Politics, Newcastle University
- Russel Duncan, Associate Professor in environmental policy, University of Exeter
- Edwin Zaccai, Professor in Sustainable Development, Université Libre de Bruxelles
15.25 – 15.40 Coffee break
15.40 – 15.55 Keynote speech
15.55 – 17.10 Second roundtable: Political actions to fight climate change. The bridge between European Citizens Initiatives and Representative Democracy
moderator: Virginia Fiume, coordinator of Eumans
- Matthijs Sienot, Member of the Dutch House of Representatives, D66
- Colombe Cahen-Salvador, co-founder and policy lead Volt Europe
- Federica Sabbati, vice president European Movement and coordinator of +Europa Bruxelles
- Timothee Galvaire, member of the committee of the European Citizens Iniziative Ending the aviation fuel tax exemption in Europe
- Martina Helmlinger, member of the committee of the European Citizens Initiative Grow Scientific Progress
- Carlo Maresca, member of the committee of the European Citizens Initiative A price for carbon to fight climate change
- Thomas Eitzenberger, member of the committee of the Fridays for Future European Citizens Initiative
17:10 – 17.20 Conclusions & ideas for future action
Marco Cappato, former MEP, founder and co-chair of Science for Democracy
Evening networking event
European decisions need European participation Join the conversation with Marco Cappato
Time: 6 PM – 9 PM
Venue: Schlemmer – Lange Houtstraat 17, 2511 CVDen Haag, the Netherlands
No registration required
An informal conversation with Italian nonviolent leader and former MEP Marco Cappato, to discuss how a mobilisation of European citizens should pave the way for an ecological transformation of the European Union. Promoters of European Citizens Initiatives, scientists, activists, active citizens are all invited to share ideas and discuss different techniques of mobilisation.
You can register for the afternoon session here.
Science for Democracy is among the promoters of the “Act for Our Rights” European Citizens Initiative
“THE EUROPEAN CAMPAIGN FOR THE RULE OF LAW STARTS FROM THE UK: 1 MILLION SIGNATURES TO BE COLLECTED AROUND EUROPE”
Act for our rights is the European Citizens Initiative (ECI) to ask the EU to implement a system to monitor the rule of law in all the EU member states. The promoters kick started the collection of signatures in the UK, the EU member State in the process of leaving the EU.
The ECI asks the European Commission to create an impartial mechanism of evaluation to verify the respect of the rule of law in the EU member states. EU Treaties allow citizens to launch European Citizens Initiative to ask the European Commission to evaluate specific issues. 1 million signatures needs to be collected in at least 7 member states.
“Sign before leaving, sign to give remain a chance” is the message Marco Cappato has for the UK Citizens. Marco Cappato is a former MEP and one of the promoters of the initiative. The Rule of Law ECI was launched together with the European Movement, Eumans and Science for Democracy.
“The signatures of UK citizens will be valid as long as the UK remains a member state. There is no better time to take part in an initiative for the respect of the rule of law in the European Union.” Marco Cappato explains. “At the same time, the right to take part in EU democracy is a loss of citizenships’ rights. Together with freedom of movement is at risk because of the Brexit process. That’s why we call for all UK citizens who care about democracy, the rule of law, and European citizenships to join the campaign”.
Saturday 7th of September a group of activists of the Rule of Law campaign will be at the demonstration “”Demand Democracy: Johnson Out! #StopTheCoup” in London. The goal is to inform UK Citizens and European citizens in the UK about the possibility to sign the ECI. All EU citizens can sign on the official website formyrights.eu
For more information:
Science for Democracy and the Associazione Luca Coscioni have written to the new FAO Director-General Qu Dongyu to congratulate him on his election, invite him to the 6th World Congress on the Freedom of Scientific Research and request a meeting to discuss the future of food.
In particular, the topic of new breeding techniques was brought forward, as it could provide at least a partial solution to world hunger. Leadership by the new leader of the international body responsible for food and agriculture would help to address the resistance of governments wanting to stifle to scientific progress and to prevent their citizens from enjoying its benefits, thus contravening the human right to science.
Read the Letter from ALC and SfD.