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Call for a World Social Forum sciences and democracy

Monday 22 October 2007

Towards a political dialogue between scientists and social movements across the planet

Since 2001, world social forums have gradually structured the agendas of thousands of NGOs, medias, unions, social movements, local authorities, institutions and even governments across the planet. Today they are considered as major events to elaborate, share and build social, cultural and economic transformations on global and local levels.

Although the impacts of sciences and techniques on our daily lives, on economic, social and environmental realities are higher than ever, we have been observing, since the origins of the WSF , a chronic deficit of scientific and technical themes in these forums.

The reason for this is neither indifference nor absence of capacity of expertise but a lack of political consideration of the stakes related to the place and future of sciences in our societies, on behalf of both social movements and scientists.

That is why we believe that the building of a space of open cooperation, of wide public and democratic debates between scientists, NGOs and social movements at a world level will open new and exciting opportunities to:

promote and develop the knowledge commons of humanity as public goods;

debate upon the issues and means in order to support scientists to fully respond to their social responsibility;

strengthen the autonomy of researchers; defend the public missions of research and improve the conditions in which scientific activities are led by students, researchers, engineers;

strengthen the capacity of citizens movements to produce knowledge and to be partners of scientific institutions;

strengthen the capacity of our societies, in the North as in the South, to take democratic decisions in the field of science and technology;

Scientists and social movements need to share their expertise and conceptions to build societies that better respect human rights, cultural diversity and social and ecological needs.

Therefore, we, members of the scientific community, organisations and citizens, are calling for the organisation of the first World Social forum on science and democracy during the WSF in Belem - Brazil, January 2009