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End of year note from the President

Peter Gluckman, ISC President

Dear Members, Colleagues and Partners

I would like to start by expressing my sincere thanks to all of you for your continued support for the International Science Council and the contributions your members and networks have made to the key global challenges of our times ranging from new COVID variants to the issues of environment, degradation, and climate change. 

As the new Board takes up its responsibilities there a number of challenges. The practicalities of governance of a global organization in a world where physical meetings are still a way off are very real. As our role as the global voice for science becomes heard, the opportunities for the ISC to take a greater role in the multilateral space are growing; but those require resources and prioritization. Alongside that we have commenced the search for Heide Hackmann’s replacement.  

In the first months since the General Assembly, we have concentrated on finalizing the first phase of the COVID-19 Outcome Scenarios Project in preparation for publication in February 2022, and launched the Global Commission on Science Missions for Sustainability – both of these are priority projects for the ISC that demonstrate our convening power and come at crucial stage in the evolution of the pandemic, and in ensuring a more coordinated focus on actionable science that is needed to address our many urgent challenges. 

The ISC’s Committee for Freedom and Responsibility of Science (CFRS) has just published “A contemporary perspective on the free and responsible practice of science in the 21st century”. We can achieve little without developing our role as guardians of Article 27 of the Declaration of Human Rights, enshrining the right to science in our communities and nurturing policymakers and duty bearers to join us in our vision to promote science as a global public good. The ISC’s position paper “Science as a Global Public Good will soon be available in Arabic, Chinese, French and Spanish. We hope you will join us in sharing this, along with the CFRS discussion paper on scientific freedoms, with your governments, universities, stakeholders, and colleagues, as part of creating a dialogue on what the contemporary context for our vision means for international science.  

Creating and participating in this dialogue at local, regional and international levels will strengthen the ISC as your global voice for science, particularly at the intergovernmental level, where the ISC stands ready to assist the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, on ensuring science has a position at the centre of the UN, a key recommendation of the ISC’s Strategy in the Intergovernmental System report. 

I take this opportunity now to wish you, your family and colleagues, a safe and happy end to the year. 2022 will bring both challenges and opportunities for the ISC, and I’m looking forward to working with you on these, as we work together to implement the strategic priorities of the Action Plan 2022-2024: “Science and Society in Transition“. 


Peter Gluckman 

ISC President 

Virus snowflake patterns by Ed Hutchinson / MRC-University of Glasgow Centre for Virus Research (CC BY-4.0)

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