The United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres, on Thursday, August 3, 2023, announced the creation of a new Scientific Advisory Board to advise UN leaders on breakthroughs in science and technology and how to harness the benefits of these advances and mitigate potential risks.
“Scientific and technological progress can support efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals – but they are also giving rise to ethical, legal and political concerns that require multilateral solutions.
“My Scientific Advisory Board will strengthen the role of the United Nations as a reliable source of data and evidence, and provide advice to me and my senior management team,” Guterres said.
The Advisory Board will comprise seven eminent scholars alongside the Chief Scientists of UN System entities, the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Technology, and the Rector of the United Nations University. The Board will be associated with a network of diverse scientific institutions from across the world.
“The Secretary-General’s decision to establish a Scientific Advisory Board underscores the unwavering dedication of UN leaders to the principles of the scientific method. I look forward to supporting the UN Secretary-General in raising the voice for science-based policy and decision-making,” expressed Professor Yoshua Bengio, Scientific Director of Mila – Quebec AI Institute and Professor at the Université de Montréal.
The primary objective of the Board is to provide independent insights on trends at the intersection of science, technology, ethics, governance, and sustainable development. Through their collaborative efforts, the Board and its Network will support UN leaders in anticipating, adapting to, and leveraging the latest scientific advancements in their work for people, planet, and prosperity.
“By ensuring that UN policies and programmes are founded on the best available scientific evidence and expertise, the Board will play a crucial role in navigating the complex moral, social, and political dilemmas presented by rapid scientific and technological progress,” said Ms. Ismahane Elouafi, Chief Scientist at the Food and Agriculture Organisation.
With the formation of the Scientific Advisory Board, the United Nations takes a momentous stride towards better bridging science and policy. The initiative marks a vital step towards embracing the full potential of science and technology for the collective benefit of all Member States.
Through collaborative efforts and inclusive representation, the Board will bolster the UN’s capacity to address the intricate challenges and opportunities at the forefront of science and technology, fostering a path towards a more equitable and prosperous future for all.