26 February 2013 | EN | ES
Marco Antonio Raupp proposes committee to run poverty eradication research
[RIO DE JANEIRO] Brazil's science minister has called upon the scientific community and the UN to create a global scientific committee with the goal of reducing world poverty.
Marco Antonio Raupp made the proposal during his speech at a conference organised by the Global Network of Science Academies (IAP) — entitled Grand Challenges and Integrated Innovations: Science for Poverty Eradication and Sustainable Development — taking place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, this week (24-26 February).
Raupp proposed taking his suggestion to the UN and UNESCO (the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) after further discussion at the conference.
He outlined that the goals of the committee should be "to coordinate global or regional poverty eradication projects; to enable local or international funding of these projects; to disseminate scientific knowledge; and to organise a global network of science institutions for the fight against poverty".
Raupp said the committee would have the support of science academies from all over the world, many of which were present at the conference. These academies could help set up the committee and facilitate cooperation and collaborations between scientists, including the shared use of research infrastructure, he suggested.
Participants at the conference mainly welcomed the idea.
"Most good outcomes begin with a suggestion," says Trevor Alleyne, president of the Caribbean Academy of Sciences. "I think it could be something that could tackle poverty in a very meaningful way."
Jorge Huete-Pérez, founding president of the Nicaraguan Academy of Sciences, says he commends the idea and that the committee could work on suggestions stemming from the conference.
But "it would have to be a multidisciplinary committee, because the problem of poverty cannot be solved by only one discipline," he tells SciDev.Net.
Jacob Palis, president of the Brazilian Academy of Sciences, believes there are many ways that science can contribute to poverty eradication. "Many different science activities can contribute to the wellbeing of people from poorer areas," he says.
Marcello Barcinski, co-chair of the conference, hopes a key outcome from the conference will be the creation of an initial global science committee along the lines proposed by Raupp.
"The gathering of scientists from this network of world academies, with the specific purpose to discuss poverty eradication, would be very positive," he says.
"I believe this is the first time the academies have come together to discuss their own roles regarding the challenge of eradicating poverty and driving sustainable development."
But not everyone agrees that the new committee should be a priority.
Sherien Elagroudy, assistant professor of environmental engineering at Ain Shams University, Egypt, and member of the Global Young Academy (a global network for young scientists), says that it would be better to improve the performance of existing organisations.
"We already have too many organisations tackling major problems like food security, poverty, water and energy," she tells SciDev.Net. "It's not a matter of establishing a new organisation, but of having more solid and complete results from all the existing ones."
PabloRafaelGonzalez ( Venezuela )
26 February 2013
The lack of Money should not be the cause of the poverty of nations
This is an unorthodox approach which changes the traditional concepts on monetary policy. It shows that it is not necessary to subject the countries to the painful effects of the austerity policies and currencies devaluation.
Naiyyum Choudhury ( Bangladesh )
5 March 2013
I was just wondering what IAP is mandated for. Is it for sky rocket science or appropriate science for solving the global problems related to poverty, education, environment, climate change etc.? Science is universal and all the global problems are interrelated. Look at other organizations like TWAS, ICSU, ICS etc. Now yet another committee being suggested! I thought the theme of the IAP conference -Grand Challenges and Integrated Innovations: Science for Poverty Eradication and Sustainable Development was emphasizing science input to poverty alleviation. Poverty eradication is a complex issue and only science cannot address that alone. However most of the science academies concentrate on science and its relation to society, hold events on scientific inventions and innovations, talk of international collaboration for strengthening science capacity in the developing countries for solving national problems related to poverty, health, environment etc. These Academies are handicapped for lack of funds and some international science organizations like IAP, TWAS help these Academies in organizing such events. Instead of forming another committee to deal with poverty it would be better to strengthen the existing committees/organizations so that these can assist the science academies of different countries (the IAP has over 100 academies as its members). I think there are many international bodies who are concentrating on poverty eradication, but not many professional scientific bodies are included in those organizations. What is needed is penetration of international scientific bodies into those organizations to convince them that no efforts will be successful unless science input is not included into those efforts. Sorry to disagree with the proposal of forming a separate global committee for poverty eradication. Rather I would propose that the existing scientific professional bodies be more strengthened financially so that these can help the national academies.
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