Organiser: Dr. Michiharu Nakamura (JAP), Counselor to the President & Former President, Japan Science & Technology Agency (JST). Co-organiser: Ms. Vinny Pillay (SA), Minister Counsellor, South African Mission to the EU.

Monday 25th July, 2016: 11h25 – 12h40

Session Abstract:

Countries large and small, developed and developing, exercise science diplomacy through politics for a host of purposes. But what makes cooperation successful and sustainable? How can we balance sharing discovery as a public good, against promoting winner-takes-all competition? Is there a necessary and healthy tension between regional and global initiatives? New actors are emerging, particularly from Asia and Africa.

Old actors, particularly from America and Europe, are adapting, but will it be fast enough? This high-level panel brings together decision-makers responsible for striking this balance on the world stage. Sitting at the negotiating table, they bring first-hand insights into the worlds of the UN, G7, APEC, the African Union and the BRICS to a forum traditionally anchored in European thought. Will the ASEAN Economic Community soon rival the EU? How will free trade agreements like the TTP, linking America to Asia, or the TTIP, work? Will the BRICS and G20 make their presence felt even more? Will Africa’s 26-country TFTA from the Cape to Cairo succeed? Acknowledging that societal problems demand greater inclusiveness and dialogue, this panel champions the real-politic of accepting new voices and changing power-balances in the global scientific enterprise.


All cross-cutting themes.

Scientific Theme:

Science for policy and policy for science.

Relevance to Theme, Special Relevance to Audiences & Diversity Statement:

This high-profile global panel is deliberately brought together to talk to the 2016 theme of 'science as revolution’ and ticks all the cross-cutting thematic boxes, while adding the experiences of ‘developing’ societies in transition. It aims to go beyond the perhaps tried and tested surface debates about why cooperation is obviously good, and to explore the deeper dynamics of competition-based relations today as the oxygen of both partnership and rivalry. It brings world views to a conference series often too anchored in European thought. In particular, it will reiterate the benefits of capacity sharing above building in science and bring to ESOF those fresh voices and faces working behind the scenes of the global scientific enterprise. This session also includes the maximum nationality balance allowed of 5 panelists from 4 continents. In fact, every effort was made to invite senior representatives from perhaps less obvious countries so as to ignite new conversations about global science engagement today and make this session highly appealing to as broad a range of delegates as possible.


Japanese Flag
: Dr. Michiharu Nakamura (JP),
Counselor to the President & Former President, Japan Science & Technology Agency (JST).

South African Flag
Ms. Vinny Pillay (SA),
Minister Counsellor, South African Mission to the EU.
French Flag
Prof. Anne Cambon-Thomsen (SA),
DREM CNRS France; Champion, ESOF 2018 Toulouse.

US Flag
Dr. Rush Holt (US),
CEO AAAS & Executive Publisher, Science; Former U.S. Congressman.

 Portugese Flag  Discussant: Dr. Lidia Brito (MZ),
Director, UNESCO Regional Offices for Sciences in Latin America & The Caribbean, Former Science Minister of Mozambique.


Presentation Title: How Science Diplomacy Removes Political Barriers

France Flag Speaker 1:
Prof. Michel Kazatchkine M.D. (FR),
UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy on HIV/AIDS in Eastern Europe and Central Asia; Member of The Global Drugs Commission; Former Executive Director of the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis & Malaria.

Talk Description:

For over thirty years, the UN has been the spider in the web of international efforts to improve global health and responses to HIV/Aids. It employs leading physicians, researchers, advocates, policymakers, diplomats and administrators with a single-minded focus on leveraging at the highest possible political level to try and remove the political barriers that prevent affected populations from accessing services. My talk will draw on my own successes and failures as a doctor, as the former Executive Director of the Global Fund and as the current UN Special Health Envoy. I will unravel the world of science and diplomacy strategies to evidence how $20 billion in donor commitments and pledges were mobilised. I will explain the intricacies of how operations and grant portfolios and model partnerships for development at national and global levels were architected to build the world’s largest international financing tool for health programs. I will help delegates better understand the role of personality and politics, coalition building and pressure groups, big business and even bad timing, while sharing the latest knowledge. In particular, I will champion the immediate challenge and role of science diplomacy to promote innovative approaches to health financing and awareness in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. In this part of the world, the AIDS epidemic is expanding at the fastest rate and is concentrated among vulnerable populations, such as injecting drug users, sex workers and MSM.

Presentation Title: How Science Diplomacy Is Levelling The Playing Field For Africa

South African Flag Speaker 2:
Prof. Imraan Patel (SA),
A public policy and strategy specialist. Employed since 2006 at the South African Department of Science and Technology. Previous expert engagements include input to the United Nations Public Administration Network (UNPAN) on public service innovation, input into a working session of the Expert Group on Technology Transfer (EGTT) under SBSTA focusing on improving the technology transfer framework of the UNFCCC and a member of an international observer group to the combined 12th European Roundtable for Sustainable Production and Consumption/ 5th BMBF Forum for Sustainability.

Talk Description:

Active cooperation within the BRICS and leading the preparation for its first Framework Programme for Research & Innovation, the appointment of a South African to lead the International Council for Science and the award of the Square Kilometre Array radio telescope are indicative of South Africa’s ambition to contribute to the global scientific enterprise. Africa itself is a continent rich in natural resources such as oil, gold, timber, diamonds, platinum, uranium and chrome. It has the potential to feed itself and others, but the competition for Africa's resources has often led to mismanagement, environmental degradation, and in some instances, to conflict. As Kofi Annan rightly asserts, Africa loses more in revenues through the non-taxation of resources going abroad than it receives in total international investment. Yet, my talk will accentuate the positive, outlining a number of important developments acting as a carrier-wave for all Africans and our global partners. Chief among these is the determination of a number of African countries to build common infrastructure and institutions, to move from a resource-dependent to a knowledge-based economy. We are rolling up our sleeves to address global challenges in health and energy, climate change and food security. We are better leveraging the potential of S&T in exciting fields such as space and maritime research and manufacturing technologies, while adding our unique understanding of the human and social dynamics of societies in transition. My talk will also evidence how emerging economies such as India, China and Brazil and others have demonstrated a keen interest in partnerships with Africa with recent spectacular and significant investments.

Presentation Title:
How Science Diplomacy Is Uniting Asian Innovation

Japanese Flag Speaker 3:
Dr. Michiharu Nakamura (JP),
Counselor to the President & Former President, Japan Science & Technology Agency (JST).

Talk Description:

Asian countries are staking their ambition to place science and technology in the driving seat of their economic and broader societal plans to promote growth and prosperity. With the launch of an ASEAN Economic Community by end 2015, science has been elevated in policy-making and regional S&T cooperation, in particular, has gained unprecedented prominence as a tool for bettering relations and addressing common challenges. Key to this success are plans to grow and capitalize on the innovation capacity and capability of actors from higher education, research, business and entrepreneurship. My talk will provide timely insights into the inter-regional and global cooperation imperatives shaping this thinking. Concrete case-studies around flagship Japanese initiatives, amongst others, from ICT and industrial policy to the strategy on innovation, jobs and employment, will underpin how Asian partners are successfully transforming their research structures. I will also address how attitudes and perceptions about science, ranging from issues at the nexus of religion and politics, and competitiveness and immigration, may sometimes seem irreconcilable with science-based progress. Governments face challenges in terms of how science is viewed and used. Furthermore, how can a Western-oriented global science system incorporate our established and rising scientific communities and vice versa? My talk will explore the feasibility of a truly Asian scientific enterprise and its strong international dimension.


• Michel Kazatchkine, M.D.: "Evidence Newcomers - Revolutionising Regional & Global Initiatives"

• Prof. Imraan Patel: "Evidence Newcomers - Should The Old World Make More Space"