The ISC and the World Health Organization

In October 2022, the ISC and WHO signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to ensure mutual scientific cooperation aimed at promoting and achieving healthier lives and wellbeing for all. The agreement will enhance the contribution of science to global health and sustainable development, facilitate the mobilization of scientific expertise, and strengthen science–policy interfaces relevant to health.

The first project of this partnership will focus on developing a comprehensive understanding of the factors that contribute to the reported decline in mental health among young people, and on identifying effective strategies to address this problem. The signing of this MoU is a direct result of the successful collaboration of the two organizations on the COVID-19 Outcomes Scenarios Project.

The COVID-19 Outcome Scenarios Project

In May 2022, the ISC launched its flagship report ‘Unprecedented & Unfinished: COVID-19 and Implications for National and Global Policy’. Produced in consultation with close to 200 interdisciplinary experts from its membership, the report was released by the ISC together with the WHO and the UNDRR in Geneva, Switzerland.  

The report outlined plausible scenarios and best options to end the COVID-19 crisis, highlighting how future decisions need to be informed by not only short-term priorities but also long-term challenges. The report was conceived as a practical analytical tool
for policy-makers in leading towards a more positive outcome to
the pandemic.

The report’s launch led to further discussions with the WHO on reinforcing mutual scientific cooperation for global health and sustainable development, eventually resulting in the signing of a formal MoU.

Throughout 2022, the ISC held events to continue its outreach and ensure impact of the report. Notably, on 29 June, the findings were introduced to national academies and regional bodies of sciences, health and medicine, and on 15 July, the ISC held an online session at the EuroScience Open Forum (ESOF) entitled ‘Rolling the dice or planning ahead with confidence?’. In late 2022, the Council began working on a second edition of the report, with the goal of reflecting the continuing evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic and updating the lessons and policy recommendations. The updated version will be released in the second quarter of 2023 alongside an accompanying campaign to encourage academies of medicine and health to join the ISC.


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