Science has a key role to play

Science7 Summit Science has a key role to play

The priorities of the German G7 Presidency have shifted as a result of Russia’s attack on Ukraine, said the Head of the Federal Chancellery Wolfgang Schmidt at the Science7 Summit in Berlin on Tuesday. However, science and its advice to policymakers continued to have a key role to play, he added. Schmidt was given a paper with joint recommendations by the science academies.

Science 7

Head of the Federal Chancellery Schmidt emphasised the particular importance of scientific advice to policymakers

Photo: Federal Government

Dialogue with civil society was an important and indeed essential part of the dialogue, said Wolfgang Schmidt, Head of the Federal Chancellery, in his speech in English at the Science7 Summit in Berlin on Tuesday. He thanked the national academies of the G7  countries for elaborating recommendations and making them available. The representatives of the national academies were best placed to confront political leaders with the scientific complexities and realities of the challenges we were facing, he said.

An integral part of every G7 Presidency is to engage with a range of different interest groups – the so-called Engagement Groups. This dialogue has a long tradition and serves to actively involve civil society in the G7 process. Science7 (S7) is one of the seven civil society dialogue processes being pursued under the German G7 Presidency. The Science7 group (S7) is the G7 platform for dialogue with international science academies.

Priorities of the German G7 Presidency

In his speech at the handover of the S7 recommendations, the Head of the Federal Chancellery Wolfgang Schmidt talked about the priorities of the German G7 Presidency, which had shifted once again as a result of Russia’s attack on Ukraine. This attack added yet another crisis to those already identified, he said. “We may recall the global financial crisis with its impact on the global economy, we have had to deal with a health crisis for nearly three years now – the global COVID-19 pandemic – and then of course there is the climate crisis we must face up to that still underlies all of this,” said Schmidt. All this was reflected in the priorities of the German G7 Presidency, he said.

In addition, he said, there were new priorities on the agenda due to the global impact of the war in Europe, such as an emerging global food crisis and rising energy prices. Nonetheless, the five core issues originally defined for the German Presidency remained important and urgent, he noted. These were climate change, the stability and transformation of the global economy – also in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic – health issues such as being prepared for further possible pandemics, a sustainable environment with the goal of an open, global Climate Club, and the question of how to defend the liberal democracies of the G7 countries.

Statements issued by the national science academies

The science academies of the G7 countries – under the leadership of the Leopoldina, the German National Academy of Sciences – developed science-based statements relating to the topics on this year’s G7 Summit agenda. 

From the point of view of the science academies of the G7 countries, international measures for the protection of the ocean and polar regions are urgently needed, as well as action to bring about comprehensive decarbonisation. In the area of health, the scientists call for better global pandemic preparedness and the implementation of the One Health approach, which closely links human, animal, plant and environmental health.

These recommendations are contained in four statements that have now been officially handed over to the Federal Government. The recommendations will feed into the deliberations of the Heads of State and Government who are due to meet for the G7 Summit at Schloss Elmau from Sunday, 26 June to Tuesday, 28 June.

The recommendations put forward by the science academies can be found on the Leopoldina website.