Science Forum South Africa

Still Igniting Conversations About Science
https://esastap.org.za/sfsa2020/
13:45 – 15:15, Thursday, 10 December 2020

Abstract:

This session brings together leading medical, policy and civil society experts to examine the late Kofi Annan’s statement that “drugs have harmed many people, but bad government policies have harmed many more”. Its focus is on weighing-up the ethics of intervening in the lives of addicted and non-addicted users of licit and illicit drugs.

This debate is timely given South Africa’s March 27 prohibition of all alcohol sales. The country stood largely alone in also banning the sale of nicotine products. Media attention worldwide was considerable. The public health logic behind, and repercussions of, these and subsequent decisions will be scrutinised. The pandemic has brought into sharp focus how societies worldwide both professes intolerance for the use of ‘drugs’, while providing and even cherishing the social settings that enable and make legitimate their use. Taxation, jobs, sectoral interests, culture and civil liberties all come into play.

This international panel will weigh-up how law-makers must navigate between the rights and responsibilities of individuals to look after themselves and the rights and responsibilities of States to look after their citizens, provide security and a milieu in which to live a satisfying life. A key assessment will be to evaluate if robust ethical advice has been adequately considered to counter-balance public health imperatives. Have fundamental principles of autonomy, human dignity, freedom, equality and solidarity been forced to give way? Are we individuals anymore or does the end justify the means in combatting Covid-19? Further issues will be debated such as concepts of democracy and the rule of law, the influence of religious views on intoxicants and the pressing need for harm reduction science to be universally applied.

The panel’s collective aim is to boost understanding of how the nexus of scientific and decision-making power operates in South Africa during a time of crisis. Recommendations will be given about what can be done better to get the intervention balance right. Speakers will also question why the voice of African scientists is not nearly heard enough by policy-makers inside Africa, as in most places in the world.

Science Forum South Africa 2020

Aidan Gilligan Irish Flag Organiser:
Aidan Gilligan (IRL):
CEO, SciCom – Making Sense of Science.
Shaun Shelly South African Flag Speaker & Co-organiser:
Illicit drug use: policy & practice under Covid-19

Shaun Shelly (SA):
Policy, Advocacy & Human Rights Manager, TBIHIVCARE.
Prof. Himla Soodyall South African Flag Moderator: Panel & theme introduction
Prof. Himla Soodyall (SA):
CEO, South Africa Academy of Science.
Prof. François Venter South African Flag Speaker: Alcohol use: policy & practice under Covid-19
Prof. François Venter (SA):
University of Witwatersrand, Divisional Director, Ezintsha.
Dr. Kgosi Letlape South African Flag Speaker: Tobacco / Nicotine use: policy & practice under Covid-19
Dr. Kgosi Letlape (SA):
Ophthalmologist in Private Practice. President of the Association of Medical Councils of Africa(AMCOA); Chair of the International Association of Medical Regulatory Authorities (IAMRA)
Prof. Julian Kinderlerer South African Flag Speaker: The ethics of intervening in the lives of others
Prof. Julian Kinderlerer (SA):
Member & Immediate Past President of the European Group on Ethics in Science & New Technologies (EGE) reporting to the European Commission & Parliament; Emeritus Professor of Intellectual Property Law, UCT and visiting Professor, UKZN.
Professor David Budtz Pedersen Danish Flag Speaker: Evidence-based policy-making versus policy-biased evidence-making – why the Cape Town Declaration 2021 matters
Prof. David Budtz Pedersen (DK):
Professor of Science Communication and Director of the Humanomics Research Centre at Aalborg University Copenhagen.


Session Programme:

Prof. Himla Soodyall 13:45 – 13:50 Panel & theme introduction
Prof. Himla Soodyall (SA):
CEO, South Africa Academy of Science.
Aidan Gilligan 13:50 – 14:00 Setting the scene – national & international media coverage of South Africa’s bans
Video presentation prepared by Aidan Gilligan, CEO, SciCom – Making Sense of Science
Shaun Shelly 14:00 – 14:10 Illicit drug use: policy & practice under Covid-19
Shaun Shelly (SA):
Policy, Advocacy & Human Rights Manager, TBIHIVCARE.
Prof. François Venter 14:10 – 14:20 Alcohol use: policy & practice under Covid-19
Prof. Francois Venter (SA):
University of Witwatersrand, Divisional Director, Ezintsha.
Dr. Kgosi Letlape 14:20 – 14:30 Tobacco / Nicotine use: policy & practice under Covid-19
Dr. Kgosi Letlape (SA):
Ophthalmologist in Private Practice. President of the Association of Medical Councils of Africa(AMCOA); Chair of the International Association of Medical Regulatory Authorities (IAMRA)
Prof. Julian Kinderlerer 14:30 – 14:40 The ethics of intervening in the lives of others
Prof. Julian Kinderlerer (SA):
Member & Immediate Past President of the European Group on Ethics in Science & New Technologies (EGE) reporting to the European Commission & Parliament; Emeritus Professor of Intellectual Property Law, UCT and visiting Professor, UKZN.
Professor David Budtz Pedersen 14:40 – 14:50 Evidence-based policy-making versus policy-biased evidence-making – why the Cape Town Declaration 2021 matters
Prof. David Budtz Pedersen (DK):
Professor of Science Communication and Director of the Humanomics Research Centre at Aalborg University Copenhagen.
Prof. Himla Soodyall 13:45 – 13:50 Science for social justice – hope or hype in today’s South Africa?
Panel debate moderated by Prof. Himla Soodyall (SA):
CEO, South Africa Academy of Science.