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ISC and WHO sign new agreement furthering mutual scientific cooperation for global health and sustainable development

14 October 2022, Geneva – The International Science Council (ISC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) have today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to ensure mutual scientific cooperation aimed at promoting and achieving healthier lives and wellbeing for all.

Signing ceremony for the memorandum of understanding between the World Health Organization and the International Science Council

The new agreement will facilitate and consolidate collaboration efforts between the two organizations considering their common goals relating to research, development and innovation in global health, and in the interest of better responding to and solving health issues of global concern. The agreement aims to enhance the contribution of science to global health and sustainable development, to facilitate mobilization of scientific expertise and to strengthen science-policy interfaces relevant to health.

“I am delighted to build on the already productive work of the International Science Council and the WHO as exemplified by the COVID project, and to extend the relationship in a more formal way to advance healthy societies,” said Sir Peter Gluckman, President of the International Science Council.

“The COVID-19 pandemic is a powerful demonstration of the importance of research, development and innovation for responding to health threats,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. “Partnership is essential for harnessing the power of science for health, and this new agreement between WHO and the International Science Council reflects the importance of the scientific and UN communities working closely together.”

With the ISC’s unique global membership representing both the natural and social sciences, and the WHO’s authority within the United Nations system to direct and coordinate, this new agreement will strengthen the contribution of the international scientific community to the advancement of health research, development and innovation. The MoU will also promote dialogues on how to tackle health issues of global relevance by bringing to bear integrated knowledge across all sciences.

To this end, both organizations have agreed to work together on:

  • Advancing global health research and sustainable development, including in the areas of foresight, horizon scanning, knowledge sharing and shaping of the global research agenda.
  • Advancing evidence-informed decision-making for health policy and programmes.
  • Strengthening trust in science for better uptake of health advice through communicating public health guidelines, collaborating on the creation and use of digital content, and addressing mis- and dis-information.

While the WHO and the ISC have already collaborated recently on work related to the coronavirus pandemic, notably on the ISC’s policy report Unprecedented & Unfinished: COVID-19 and Implications for National and Global Policy, this new agreement now enables both organizations to focus on their shared strategic and operational priorities and to use their comparative strengths and advantages to maximize impact. Combining and connecting the scientific and policy expertise of both organizations will be key to ensuring evidence-based decision-making in the broad area of health and to strengthening trust in science at the global scale.

Image by World Health Organization

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