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UNESCO emphasized the role of Russia in reducing the scientific and technological gap between the states


24.09.2020

They are confident that achieving sustainable development goals is impossible without an active exchange of information on the results of scientific research. And the rights of open access to this data for scientists from all over the world.


On Thursday, September 24, an online conference dedicated to the development of UNESCO recommendations in the field of open science was held, in which 125 representatives of this organization from Eastern Europe took part. From the Russian side, in the framework of the panel discussion, the rector of the St. Petersburg Mining University, Vladimir Litvinenko, spoke, focusing the audience's attention on the variety of problems facing humanity and the need for more active participation of researchers in their resolution.


The forum was opened by Shamila Nair-Beduel, Assistant Director-General of UNESCO for Natural Sciences. She noted that the gap in technological development that is observed today between states is a serious brake on achieving sustainability. The lagging behind Africa can be called especially significant; many regions there even have no Internet, which means that there are no basic conditions for the introduction of innovations and digitalization.

The draft UN recommendation in the field of open science, the adoption of which is scheduled for next year, is designed to change the state of affairs. It will be preceded by a series of consultations meant to develop common principles and values ​​that would motivate the international scientific community to be more open. Amid a pandemic, we see that scientists show solidarity, exchange information about the virus, about how to stop its spread. In this regard, access to the evidence base is very important.

Shamila Nair-Beduel, Assistant Director-General for Natural Sciences, UNESCO

She attributed the possibility of equal access to scientific achievements for all as one of the most imperative tasks UNESCO is facing. After all, this is the only way to preserve biodiversity, minimize the impact on ecosystems, and respond to other challenges of our time. She named the International Competence Centers under the auspices of UNESCO as the most important tools that should contribute to changing the picture of the world, the Doctor of Biological Sciences, who received her degree from the University of Cape Town. One of them was opened two years ago in St. Petersburg, on the basis of the Mining University.

Professor Litvinenko attended our meeting today. He promotes international competencies all over the continent, and shared his knowledge in the field of mining engineering education with us. I want to thank you for the fact that your team is involved in this tremendously important work.

Shamila Nair-Beduel, Assistant Director-General for Natural Sciences, UNESCO

Vladimir Litvinenko reminded that it was science that made it possible for our society to progress, and in the future its role will only grow. Such problems as the greenhouse effect, the state of the ozone layer and many others need to be addressed by scientists, and at an interdisciplinary level.

Today more than a billion people worldwide lack access to electricity, mainly in Africa and Asia. About two and a half billion can light their homes thanks to coal. We need to understand how to ensure a high-quality energy transition and at the same time enable everyone on our planet to enjoy the elementary benefits of civilization. For a clear answer to this and other questions, it is necessary to create several expert groups of international level on the basis of UNESCO. They could specialize in a particular area, publish their findings in open sources and thus contribute to the development of a consolidated position on the most pressing problems of our time.

Vladimir Litvinenko, Rector, St. Petersburg Mining University 

He informed the audience about the opinion of students and postgraduates of the university from different countries of the world about the mission of the scientist, as well as the scientific interests of young researchers. For example, Daniel Diaz from Cuba told UNESCO representatives that he is interested in research related to energy efficiency.

This vital, because the population of the Earth is constantly growing and we need more and more energy.

Daniel Diaz, student of St. Petersburg Mining University

Kofi Cablan Yves Bertrand from Côte d'Ivoire, in his turn, called laboratory experiments and interdisciplinary interaction "the key to solving global problems".



Peggy Ooty-Boateng, Director of Science Policy and Innovation at UNESCO, returned to the topic of the pandemic and noted that it was the coronavirus that “reminded us that many problems cannot be dealt with single-handedly.” This means that the draft recommendations in the field of open science are more relevant today than ever.


Ms. Boateng said that comments from all parties interested in the creation of this document will be accepted until January next year. The text will be amended by April and be sent out for review by the experts. It is planned to finally adopt it at the next, 41st General Conference of UNESCO.


Let us remind that three discussions took place as part of the online meeting: on open science from the point of view of politics, science itself, and its interaction with society. At the end of the dialogue, the delegates got introduced to the main messages adopted at similar meetings with representatives of Western Europe and North America.

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