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Committee Mandate

November 2021

An update for Council from the International Secretary and International Committee: 
Paul Young

Recent Activities

S20 (Science Academies of the G20)  and SSH20 (Social Sciences and Humanities Academies of the G20) - 2021 Process and Statements

The RSC and academies from the G20 countries have signed two joint statements on pressing global issues. The statements entitled “Pandemic preparedness and the role of science” and “Crises: economy, society, law, and culture, towards a less vulnerable humankind” were delivered to G20 governments. The RSC President and International Secretary attended virtually the final G20 academies meeting in Rome on 22-23 September 2021. 

Further background and statements can be found at the RSC website at:

The G20 summit of political leaders took place 30-31 October 2021 and the details of this can be found at:

The presidency of the G20 in 2022 will be Indonesia and the S20/SSH20 process for 2022 will start early in the new year.

SSH7 (Social Sciences and Humanities Academies of the G7) – 2021 Process and Statements 

Following the initiation of the SSH20 process, the G7 academies, under the leadership of the British Academy, are also producing SSH7 statements. These have now been peer reviewed by experts from the RSC and G7 academies and will be published in mid-November 2021 and forwarded to the G7 governments. The statements of the SSH7 representative bodies on “Resilience and Recovery from the COVID-19 Pandemic” focus on the following: 

•    Community engagement: Focusing on how context specific to place, culture, social and economic factors, shape people’s responses to COVID-19. 
•    Education, skills and employment: Focusing on responses in and beyond the pandemic for education, work and employment; 
•    Trust, transparency & data gathering: Focusing how COVID-19 has affected society’s relationships with information, data, the media and the role of experts; 
•    Inequalities & Cohesion: Focusing on how COVID-19 has affected and highlighted inequalities and relationships between communities of people, and senses of community and belonging.
•    Fiscal policy and recovery: Focusing on how economies and societies can collectively harness their fiscal resources to respond to the challenges posed by the pandemic.

Overview Statement

The S7 statements were completed earlier in the year and forwarded to government and the SSH7 documents will complete the academies process for the 2021 UK presidency of the G7.
The presidency of the G7 in 2022 will be Germany and the 2022 process will start later this year.

International Committee 2021-2023

The following are the current members of the International Committee.  The international Secretary welcomes new members and thanks Professors Gonia Jarema and Louise Lemyre for their dedicated service to the committee and RSC.




Natural, Health Sciences and Engineering


Social Sciences

Humanities & Arts


Atlantic and Overseas




Catherine Wilson (FRSC)



R. Paul Young (FRSC) – Chair and International Secretary

Term will finish at COEE 2022

Catherine Beauchemin (College)


Louise Lemyre (FRSC)

Term will finish at COEE 2021

Judith Teichman (FRSC)







Guy LaForest (FRSC)


Gonia Jarema (FRSC)

Term will finish at COEE 2021

Patrick Leroux (College)

Term will finish at COEE 2022

Prairie Provinces

(MB & SK)


Digvir Jayas (FRSC)




Western Canada

(AB & BC)






Following the open call for “Expressions of Interest” for membership of the International Committee we are proposing a membership of 6 plus the Chair. The selection followed a 3-step process a) self-nominations, b) solicitation/consultation with the Academy Presidents, c) voting within the current international Committee; with a shortlist to be then submitted and approved by Council. In order to achieve diversity of membership, the committee will comprise of at least one member from each of the Academies, Humanities (A1), Social Sciences (A2), Natural and Health Sciences/Engineering (A3), and from the College. We also aim to have close to gender parity, at least one Francophone member, geographical distribution, and diversity. The Chair will be an additional member from one of the academies. Terms will be two years.

New International Initiatives

Royal Society of Canada Research Summit on “Climate change implications, adaptation and mitigation options for Canada”.  What we need to do and how we adapt to a carbon net zero future by 2050 - opportunities and challenges?   
Each year the G7 national science academies (S7) prepare statements for the G7 governments and this year one of the three statements is: “A net zero climate-resilient future – science, technology and the solutions for change”.  As a follow-up to the S7 statements the RSC each year, at its annual meeting, holds a summit on one or more of the statements and this year on November 17th we are holding a summit focusing on the S7 Net Zero statement. The purpose is to engage our membership in the process and to add focus to our communications and recommendations to government. This is particularly timely following Bill C12,  “Net Zero Emissions Accountability Act”, which was given Royal Assent on June 29th 2021 with the Minister charged to establish an emissions reduction plan for 2030 within 6 months. In addition, the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) which is in Glasgow 31 October -13 November 2021. All of these events give focus to one of the most important issues facing the planet and humanity.

The format of the RSC summit will comprise of three panels of 3 experts and a chair/moderator and each of these panels will discuss a series of important questions. A bilingual MC will chair the overall proceedings and we are pleased that Dr. Rick Smith, President of the Canadian Institute for Climate Choices will be undertaking this role.  A recent report documents the components of “Canada’s Net Zero Future”. A detailed programme of topics, questions and speakers will be part of the 2021 COEE programme of activities for the virtual Montreal meeting in November.

G7 Academies Net Zero Initiative?

As part of the SSH7 process the British Academy (BA) has invited G7 academies to consider working towards Net Zero themselves. The process proposed would be similar to how other organisations, including universities, have started to do so through the “Race to Zero” campaign. This is outlined in a UN document which can be found at:

Academy Day on “Indigenous Engagement – Sharing Knowledge and Experience”. The RSC and the Royal Society of New Zealand have agreed to participate in a Joint academy day on indigenous knowledge in 2022. This is currently at an early stage of engagement and programme development.

Acknowledgment and Thanks

The International Secretary would like to thank and acknowledge the numerous members of the RSC who have been consulted, provided expert advice, reviewed documents or accepted invitations to participate in events. He also thanks the current International Committee for their contributions.