Science has always been a fundamental aspect of advancing society, from technological innovations to groundbreaking discoveries. On November 10th each year, the world comes together to celebrate World Science Day for Peace and Development. This special day serves as a reminder of science's invaluable role in promoting peace, driving development, and addressing the most pressing global challenges.
World Science Day for Peace and Development, also known as World Science Day, was established by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 2001 and has three primary objectives. Firstly, the day promotes the importance of science and its application in addressing global challenges and fostering sustainable development. Secondly, the day is to emphasise the need for international cooperation in scientific research and innovation to advance peace and development. Lastly, on this day we raise public awareness about the relevance and significance of science in daily life and decision-making processes.
So why does science matter? Well, science is not just a collection of facts and knowledge, it is a dynamic process of questioning, discovering and innovating and can be implemented into multiple aspects of life. One of the most important roles of science is solving global challenges. Science provides solutions to complex global challenges such as climate change, pandemics, and poverty. It offers the tools and knowledge needed to address these problems effectively. Moreover, science promotes peace through scientific cooperation and knowledge-sharing and fosters economic and social development due to the creation of new technologies, medical breakthroughs and sustainable practices. Science is also imperative for evidence-based decision-making for policymakers. Can you imagine all the ways our world would be different without science? Well, that’s why we celebrate World Science Day!
Every World Science Day has a specific theme chosen by UNESCO. These themes focus on different aspects of science and its impact on society. This year the theme is “Building Trust in Science”. So in 2023, we use this day to acknowledge that for science to shape our future, we must first trust science. Fake news and conspiracy theories change public perception of science and can lead the general public to mistrust scientific information to undermine the work of scientists to better society. From vaccines to innovations in energy and agriculture, science has the potential to change our lives and the lives of future generations but this cannot happen without people having faith that these developments are being done with good intentions and with their best interests in mind. However, we must also consider the other aspect of trust in science, integrity. The way in which scientists conduct their research is highly regulated to ensure that the conclusions of their studies are credible and reliable. In other words, it is up to those in science to provide science that is worthy of trust. Additionally, trust in science emphasises the need for science-based policy decisions and support from society for their application.
World Science Day for Peace and Development is a day of celebration, reflection, and action. It reminds us of the indispensable role that science plays in making the world a better place. By promoting peace, addressing global challenges, and driving development, science is a force for positive change. As we commemorate this day, let's renew our commitment to supporting and investing in science, knowing that it holds the key to a brighter and more prosperous future for all of humanity.
Written by: Jamie Fernandez, B.Sc Hons. in Genetics