The World Forum on Science and Democracy (WFSD) is the result of an initiative launched in 2007 as an answer to the lack of political dialogue between scientific institutions and social actors on contemporary stakes concerning the relations between science and society at a global level.
The first edition of the WFSD in Belém (Brazil), in 2009, was the one of mutual learning between actors with different cultural and political origins. The 2nd edition took place in Dakar (Senegal) in 2011. It allowed us to go further into the dialogue to initiate networks, to identify common issues for advocacy and to define common agendas for involved actors and organizations.
The People’s Summit in Rio in June 2012 showed that we now have to go even further in the expression and spread of the topics and issues brought by the actors of the WFSD. We can start thinking about the structuring of “training spaces” on Science and Society issues at national, continental and global level to face the actual complex situation in this area.
Science and technology weigh a lot on our vision of the world, on the orientation of our societies, at time-scales, which are often incompatible with the one of our contemporary democracies. As the choices of the 70’s are “guiding” the actual ones, the choices we are making today will have a strong influence on trajectories of our societies for the 50 years to come.
Giving the priority to a research lead almost exclusively by competitiveness, considering research mainly as a source of technological innovation and as a purveyor of economic value instead of supporting social science and humanities is the result of a certain vision of economy, society, knowledge and wealth; talking exclusively about technological innovations, without mentioning the socio-economical innovations (e.g. the ability of social actors to propose new ways of structuring, producing and distributing, is also one choice. We think that these choices are not the only ones.
On the other “side”, civil society and NGOs mainly act downstream from technological innovations (technology watch, 2nd assessment…) without questioning enough (even if things are changing) the structuring of research programs themselves.
As a result and to move forward, actors involved into the WFSD process propose to discuss the following topics (this list is not constrained) in Tunis from March 23rd to 25th, 2012. :
• which university for the 21st century?
• which training for better synergies between high level education and socio-economic actors?
• how to fight against unemployment of young graduates?
• which campaigns against merging technologies (geo-engineering, synthetic biology…)?
• how to articulate responsibility of researchers with the support to their freedom of expression?
• how to prepare a counter-attack against scientific negationism?
The fact to hold the 3rd edition of the World Forum on Science and Democracy where the Arab Spring started two years ago is a privilege, which will allow us to give new perspectives to the issues we are dealing with.
We will seize this opportunity to improve the “frame” of the two first editions of the WFSD. The program, which will be formalized at the beginning of 2013, will be structured around two main parts: a “forum” part dedicated to experiences and shared concerns and an “action plan” part to build proposals at a global level.
The process to participate is similar to the previous editions: you can participate by being a “delegate”, by proposing an activity or by joining an already proposed activity. We will analyze the different proposals and will gather the “similar” ones.
For the International of the WFSD and the organization of the 3rd WFSD,
Fabien Piasecki (co-secrétaire exécutif) : fabien.piasecki[at]sciencescitoyennes.org
Lionel Larqué (co-secrétaire exécutif) : l.larque[at]lespetitsdebrouillards.org