By JAMEY KEATEN, Associated Press
GENEVA (AP) – The Swiss Foreign Minister says concerns about a “new Cold War” over science and technology are a major reason for creating a new think tank to watch for future advances and developments – so that the whole world can benefit . not just rich countries.
Ignazio Cassis delivered a video message on Thursday and Friday for the inaugural “Summit” of the Geneva Science and Diplomacy Anticipator (GESDA), a Swiss government-sponsored project aimed at promoting government policy and science in an international city known for both is to connect.
“There is a growing feeling that a new Cold War is being waged over science and technology and the power it gives to the states that rule it,” he said. GESDA, which brings together hundreds of scholars and policy makers around the world, would serve as an “honest broker” helping to spread the benefits of science to rich and poor countries, he said.
“What we want to achieve with GESDA is new and therefore difficult: Combining far-sighted anticipation with immediate action is a major challenge in itself,” says Cassis.
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While GESDA was conceived in 2019, it began to look ahead during the COVID-19 pandemic that took many governments by surprise, sparked an uncertain or unclear response from health policymakers like the Geneva-based World Health Organization, and widening inequality among rich countries that have wide access to vaccines – and poor countries that don’t.
Pandemic preparedness projects and monitoring bodies have emerged in places like Europe and the United States since the outbreak, and the Biden government has shown interest in the GESDA project – and its focus on anticipating future trends and developments.
Alondra Nelson, assistant director of science and society for the Science and Technology Policy Office of the White House, said US President Joe Biden had spoken of “great danger and great promise” about today’s moment, and she said that governments are facing both Innovation as well as courageous in terms of innovation should be partnership.
“I think the Anticipator – Anticipator Frame – is a fantastic way to work this through,” she said in a videoconference from Washington on Thursday. “The anticipation is of course filled with both enthusiasm and discomfort.”
Dr. Jeremy Farrar, the director of the Wellcome Trust charity and a major player in international health policy, partnered with GESDA and told reporters on Thursday that while science has made great strides, action needs to be taken otherwise “scientific Increasing progress “will be available to a small elite in the world – and not to everyone.”
Last week GESDA and XPrize announced the creation of an award for developments in quantum computing. But GESDA, a self-proclaimed “Do Tank”, has far broader ambitions, such as establishing a global court for scientific disputes and a Manhattan Project-style effort to remove excess carbon from the atmosphere.
It brings together hundreds of UN officials, Nobel Prize winners, academics, diplomats, advocacy representatives and the public. Supporters are Swiss universities and Geneva-based CERN – home of a laboratory with the world’s largest atomic smashers.
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