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G20 chief science advisers meet in Uttarakhand: Lessons from Covid

2023-11-30 18:33:14source:muv

The first meeting of the G20 Chief Science Advisers Roundtable (G20-CSAR) in Ramnagar, Uttarakhand, Wednesday, witnessed intense discussion on transboundary science and technology issues of mutual interest.

G20 chief science advisers meet in Uttarakhand: Lessons from Covid

This was the first time that chief science advisers of different countries gathered for a roundtable conference at the G20 platform. Professor Ajay Kumar Sood, Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India, who led the roundtable, said that it was decided that under India’s G20 presidency that all the science advisers should come together under the G20-CSAR flagship event to discuss topics that are important for all the countries.

G20 chief science advisers meet in Uttarakhand: Lessons from Covid

The day-long roundtable witnessed discussions under the broad themes of opportunities in ‘one health’ for better disease control and pandemic preparedness; synergising global efforts to expand access to scholarly scientific knowledge; diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility in science & technology; and an institutional mechanism for inclusive, continuous, and action-oriented global science & technology policy dialogue. A total of 51 delegates from 18 nations participated in the roundtable.

G20 chief science advisers meet in Uttarakhand: Lessons from Covid

On Tuesday, the delegates reached Ramnagar for the three-day event, where cultural teams dressed in Kumaoni costumes welcomed them by applying tilak, wearing pahari topi, patka, and tulsi mala. While enjoying the hill culture-based Chholia dance and program by the guests, some delegates were seen capturing these moments on their mobiles and taking selfies, while some delegates could not stop themselves from dancing to the tunes of Kumaoni music and music.

To acquaint the delegates with local products, the district administration organised an exhibition based on local products, in which various types of local products were displayed.

Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami reached Ramnagar and inspected the route. With Uttarakhand being the host for the meeting, the district administration also beautified several residential buildings in the area.

“There were four different topics discussed during the roundtable. The first topic was the lessons from the Covid-19 pandemic and how to deal with a similar situation in the future. We have termed this ‘one health’, which means the collective of human health, animal (livestock) health, and wildlife health. We want to plan with all three in mind so that we can know about a pandemic in advance. There are several scientific advancements in the field. The first way is to do environmental surveillance, like monitoring the drains, which will have a regular increase of viruses and pathogens in case of an upcoming pandemic,” said Sood, adding that India is already working on the ‘one health’ mission.


Under the topic, the panel discussed the pandemic preparedness plan for flexible, adaptive, and timely responses to pandemics, integrated disease surveillance mechanisms for humans, livestock, and wildlife, research & development roadmap for diseases of ‘one health’ importance, and investing in analytics and data standards.

“The second topic covered the issue of open access to knowledge and new discoveries and inventions through publications. In the last few years, this has become very complicated and we discussed the possible methods to end this asymmetry. The third topic discussed was diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility so that our traditional knowledge can come to the mainstream. We want all these platforms on an equal footing. The fourth topic was the need for a scientific inclusive policy framework, in which all the countries participate,” he said.

During the roundtable, it was discussed that access to scholarly scientific knowledge should be free, immediate, and universal, and the high subscription and article processing charges levied by journals must be reduced. Under the third theme, the participating countries shared their work in advancing access to the under-represented, under-privileged, marginalised, minority as well as tribal and native communities in the larger scientific enterprise.

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It was agreed upon that the scientific advisers play a critical role in shaping policy choices by providing evidence-driven science advice and that the in the spirit of cooperation and dialogue, it is the responsibility of chief science advisers to collaborate and engage in international dialogue to address transboundary issues affecting the entire scientific enterprise so that the science and technology can benefit all.

Talking to the media after the roundtable, Sood informed that all the 18 countries which participated in the meeting and the Indian delegation agreed on the said points. Suggestions were also received from all the experts on how to refine the decisions so that there is a policy statement ready for the next meeting scheduled in August.

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The deliberations and engagement on the topics discussed today will continue until August 2023, when the next meeting is scheduled, in which a science policy communiqué will be released.