OPINION

The International Day of Science for Conciliation and Development

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The art and science of asking questions is the source of all knowledge-Thomas Berger

By: Dr Firdoos Ah Wani

10th of November is celebrated as ‘World Science Day’ for Peace and Development and it acknowledges the influence that science has on our society and everyday life. When most people think of science, they see doing experiments, evaluating theories and making universe-related predictions. Science is also about understanding the world we inhabit.

The three fundamental objectives of science are description, prediction and explanation. When we can describe, anticipate and explain phenomena, the world around us is better understood and improved. This is why the United Nations considers scientists as a major player in enhancing our understanding of our world. Greater comprehension enables us to make better decisions. It gives the tools essential to make our communities more peaceful and sustainable.

The UN’s four objectives of World Science Day for Peace and Development include:

  • Strengthening public awareness on the role of science
  • Promoting solidarity for shared science between countries
  • Renewing commitment to the use of science to benefit societies
  • Drawing attention to challenges faced by science

Despite the enormous advances achieved in the realm of science, there is still a great deal of inequality in the world. This discrepancy is more pronounced in underdeveloped nations where access to science, technology and innovation is restricted (STI). This lack of access makes it difficult for the inhabitants of these nations to experience the advantages of STI.

Throughout the observation, scientific experts advocate strategies for addressing these gaps. Additionally, they want to make scientific research and data accessible to everyone.

UNESCO highly encourages individuals, organizations, research institutions, professional associations, science teachers and the media to organize activities and events for this day.

Methods of participation include the following:

  • Incorporate the four primary objectives for this day into official speeches
  • Organize classroom discussions on the role of science in your life
  • Visit local schools to speak about careers in science
  • Deliver scientific presentations and demonstrations to young people
  • Arrange visits to your local science museum
  • Discuss with others some of the most important scientific discoveries in history
  • Share your thoughts on how science can help bring about worldwide peace and stability

World Science Day for Peace and Development was initially proposed in 1999 at the World’s Scientific Conference in Budapest. In 2001, UNESCO made the official proclamation for WSDPD. The first-ever World Science Day for Peace and Development was held on November 10th, 2002. Since then, this day has helped to generate projects, programs, and funding for science projects around the world.

The observance of World Science Day for Peace and Development commemorates the journey that has been covered and the path forward. The bricks of purpose that the path is made of are as important as the path itself. Highlighting the role of science in constructing a sustainable society, promotion of methods dipped deep in science and their usage to achieve peace and facing the challenges in the journey with commitment and focus, are some of the purposes attached to this day.

We all know that science is the foundation of information and knowledge. Therefore, making society more aware and informed is also one of the aims of observing this day.

After two decades of observing the World Science Day for Peace and Development, a pandemic swept the globe, and certain goals became imperative to achieve. The resulting topic for the 2020 World Science Day for Peace and Development is “Science for and with Society in combating the global pandemic.”

As ominous as the black swan event of 2020 was, it had a silver lining since people were naturally aware and the purpose of this day served as the icing on the cake. Now that the world has recovered from the pandemic-induced wounds, the theme for this year is Climate Change, the greater horror that awaits us. This year, the objective of “Building Climate-Ready Communities” will be commemorated to emphasise the significance of being climate-aware and restoring the health of our precious planet.

The author is PhD scholar, writer and columnist can be reached [email protected]

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