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International Science Council Statement on the occasion of the United Nations International Day of Living Together in Peace

Paris, France 16 May 2024

The ISC stresses the urgent need to protect lives and livelihoods, urging global action to safeguard education and culture in conflict zones, and highlighting the essential role of knowledge in achieving lasting peace.

The International Science Council (ISC), the global voice for science, is deeply troubled with the ongoing destruction of lives, livelihoods, and environments in conflict zones, particularly in Gaza, Sudan and Ukraine.

The destruction of essential infrastructure for learning—schools, colleges, and universities—and the devastating loss of life is profoundly disturbing. Teachers, scholars, and researchers are critical to building knowledge societies that create the conditions for peace and understanding, fostering intellectual growth and mutual respect. The impacts of such devastation extend far beyond random destruction; educational, scientific, and cultural sites and resources are often deliberately targeted during times of conflict, aiming to fracture the very foundations of enlightenment and progress.

The destruction of physical and human resources for learning and knowledge production disables a society of the resilience and creativity that is indispensable for its future. Such devastation and loss can take generations to overcome. This is a crucial aspect of the grim statistics surrounding current events that must be addressed by all parties and the international community.

The ISC recognizes the UN General Assembly’s resolution 72/130, declaring 16 May the International Day of Living Together in Peace, and urges Member States to uphold this resolution by doing everything in their power to bring peace to conflict zones.

At a time when the world urgently needs knowledge from all parts of the globe to address global challenges, the Council stands ready to assist at the national, regional, and international levels in rebuilding science systems in conflict zones. Peace is a bedrock for humanity, encouraging dialogue and cooperation among all peoples.

ISC Statement on the United Nations International Day of Living Together in Peace

Further reading

Protecting Science in Times of Crisis is a comprehensive paper by the Centre for Science Futures, the ISC’s think tank, addresses the urgent need for a new approach to safeguard science and its practitioners during global crises. With many conflicts spread over vast geographical zones; increasing extreme weather events due to climate change; and natural hazards such as earthquakes in unprepared regions, this new report takes stock of what we have learned in recent years from our collective efforts to protect scientists and scientific institutions during times of crisis.

Protecting Science in Times of Crisis

International Science Council. (February 2024). Protecting Science in Times of Crisis. DOI: 10.24948/2024.01

Photo by Agence Olloweb on Unsplash

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