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The world’s scientific academies have been asked to respond to the global tensions surrounding the recent terrorist attacks in New York by finding ways of using science to encourage “openness, respect for human life, freedom, cultural diversity and betterment of humankind’s condition”

The suggestion has been made by Eduardo Krieger, president of the Brazilian Academy of Sciences, and Yves Quéré, foreign secretary of the French Academy of Sciences. The two are co-chairs of Interacademy Panel for international issues (IAP), an informal network of 76 of the world's science academies from both developed and developing nations.

In a letter to the member associations of the IAP that was discussed at the body’s executive committee at a meeting in Paris last week, Krieger and Quéré condemn the use of terrorism both nationally and internationally, and state that “new initiatives on scientific aspects of international security are urgently needed to combat terrorism.”

But ultimately, they write, the only protection against the blind rage of a few people is “the emergence of a common consensus among states, peoples and individuals, founded on the requirement for a solidarity of the human species … as a necessary condition for its survival and development".

Such solidarity should be made manifest through an attack on the causes of conflicts and inequalities, say Krieger and Quéré. “To continue to work for peace and sustainable development, and strive to ensure that science is of benefit to all humankind, is part of a long term vision for the security of peoples and individuals.”

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