African Continent Urged To Promote Open Science As A Key Framework For International Scientific Cooperation

By Wallace Mawire in Niamey,Niger

Regional Director and Representative of UNESCO Regional Office for Southern Africa, Professor Lidia Arthur Brito has urged African governments to facilitate the training of local scientists to help address the challenges facing the continent locally.

Professor Brito made the remarks at a plenary discussion held at the Economic Commission for Africa Africa (ECA) Regional Forum on Sustainable Development ninth session held in Niamey, Niger on 28 February to 2 March,2022.

Professor Brito said that the continent needs many scientists and there was great need to also promote citizen science in the local communities.

UNESCO is a UN agency involved in helping to overcome extreme poverty and the increasing inequalities, in gender, education, facilitating access to knowledge, culture, technology and information. The organization also helps to facilitate achievement of inclusive quality education for all, in particular for girls, women and vulnerable communities.

It also works on helping to mitigate the impact of climate change through sustainable and inclusive management of natural resources, ecosystems, biodiversity, water and the oceans, ethically reflecting about the impacts of artificial intelligence and other new technologies, and giving responses to the increasing digital divide.

Other mandates of the organization include responding to the decline of freedom of expression, and to fight the new forms of disinformation and misinformation including having relevant data and knowledge to support political and policy decisions.

Supporting urbanization and bringing concepts of sustainability, promoting green development and nurturing creativity.

Preventing hate speech and increasing extremism and xenophobia, by understanding what it means to be human in the complex times, protecting cultural diversity, facilitating better understanding of others, and creating spaces for intercultural dialogues.

Professor Brito said that there was need to unleash African Science as a vaccine against inequalities.

She said that there was a need for new type of sciencing to interrogate the impact and responsibility of human behaviour for the challenges being faced spanning from social, environmental and economic and developing solutions, including new behaviours that address existing problems and avoiding new ones.

Professor Brito said that there was need to integrate the different science fields, including culture and open interactions, promoting social transformation with social impact through communication and scientific culture enhancement.

She said that there was need to connect at global, regional and local levels promoting research programmes at different scales and with new type of scientific cooperation at regional and global levels.

“It is high time we need to mobilize communities and societies, enhancing co-designs and co-production of scientific knowledge including citizen science and interaction and collaboration among the different knowledge systems,” Brito told delegates at the forum.

She also added that there was need to partner and network more and in better ways with capacity to learn, to unlearn and to re-learn to help better communities.

Professor Brito highlighted the need for open science promotion as a framework for scientific cooperation for sustainable development.

She said that the framework is based in the human right to benefit from scientific knowledge and the right to participate in the production of scientific knowledge, based in principles of inclusion, fair relationships, and cherishing the importance of diversity, including the recognition of the different knowledge systems and societal organization and governance systems.

Professor Brito added that the framework is about sharing data, infrastructure, human capital and responsibility of ensuring that knowledge is a common good and a driver for sustainable development for all and in all places.

She updated delegates to be conversant with the Unesco Open Science toolkit focusing on the five tools for understanding Open Science, building capacity for Open Science, policy development on open science including funding Open Science and Infrastructure development.

“We need to promote open science as a key framework for transformative international scientific cooperation,” Professor Brito said.

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