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Committee Mandate

May 2021

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

Recent Activities

S7 Academies 2021 Process and Statements
In 2021 the UK will host the Presidency of the G7, and the Royal Society of London (RS) is coordinating the academies activities for the G7 process (Science 7). We participated by nominating experts to the drafting team and reviewing the statements. The overall theme for 2021 is “Science for a resilient and environmentally sustainable recovery from pandemic” with sub themes of Net Zero, Biodiversity Loss, and Health Data. The final statements have now been published and signed by the S7 Academy presidents and submitted to the G7 political leaders via the G7 Sherpa. The statements can be viewed at https://rsc-src.ca/en/news/g7-science-academies-launch-science-agenda-ahead-june-g7-leaders’-summit. Further information on the G7 process can be found at https://www.g7uk.org.

S20 and SSH20 Academies 2021 Process and Statements
In 2021 Italy will host the Presidency of the G20 and the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei is coordinating the academies activities for the G20 process. This will follow similar lines to previous years with a proposed enhancement. The Italian Academy have proposed that in addition to the Science 20 format, as happened in Saudi Arabia this year, they are proposing to combine with a Humanities and Social Sciences Forum.  The Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei consulted with G20 academies and the RSC was supportive and enthusiastic about this proposal. The topics for the 2021 process will be “Pandemic Preparedness” for the S20 group and “Crises: Economy, Society, Law and Culture” for the SSH20 group.  We have participated by reviewing draft statements and currently second drafts are being reviewed. It is currently anticipated that revised statements will be available in June for a virtual meeting of Academy Presidents and their representatives in July. A conference is currently scheduled for September in Rome to discuss how academies can support the implementation of the recommendations. Further information on the G7 process can be found at https://www.g20.org.

SSH7 Process and statements. 
The RSC President recently received a communication from the British Academy outlining their plan to also produce SSH7 statements along similar lines to the SSH20. In 2021 the UK will host the Presidency of the G7 and the British Academy are proposing a series of statements that focus on the role of the humanities and social sciences in tackling global challenges. They will produce statements as part of the G7 process that focus on the current pandemic and recovery from its impacts. The statements proposed will cover the following:

•    “Community engagement: Focusing on how context specific to place, culture, social and economic factors, shape people’s responses to COVID-19. 
•    Knowledge, skills and employment: Focusing on responses in and beyond the pandemic for education, work and employment; 
•    Knowledge, information & data: 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. 
•    Vaccine hesitancy: Focusing on the behavioural aspects of vaccine deployment and the lessons learned historically from vaccine engagement.”


We are currently reviewing these initial draft statements and will respond back to the British Academy by May 20th as requested. 

Commonwealth Academies Meeting (February 2021)
A Commonwealth Science Conference (CSC) led by the Royal Society (UK) and the African Academy of Sciences was held virtually on 22-26 February 2021. The meeting brought together outstanding early career researchers from across the commonwealth. The RSC nominated 24 outstanding researchers who hold Canada’s most prestigious Post-doctoral awards (e.g., from the Canadian Banting Program and others). I attended several sessions and can report that it was well organized, well attended and the interactions and discussions were excellent.
The overarching theme for the CSC was “Science for a resilient future”, with three main sub- themes:

• Developing resilient energy systems – decarbonising energy consumption, mitigating climate change, and moving towards a circular economy
• Nurturing resilient ecosystems – maintaining and strengthening biodiversity, sustainable stewardship of the oceans, and adapting to a changing climate
• Building resilient societal systems – adapting to a changing climate, moving towards a circular economy, and addressing the health impacts of Covid-19

Further details of the programme and highlights from each of the four days can be found at the Royal Society YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/c/royalsociety/videos.

Austrian Academy of Sciences Joint Academy Day with the RSC (March 2021)
The RSC has been in discussion with the Austrian Academy of Sciences following an invitation to hold a joint academy day.  We had a very successful exchange of ideas when we met virtually on March 18, 2021.  A summary of the programme and videos of the 6 panel discussions can be found at  https://rsc-src.ca/en/joint-academy-day-with-austrian-academy-sciences

The inter Academy Partnership (IAP) General Assembly and Worldwide Meeting of Young Academies (November 2022)
The inter Academy Partnership (IAP) holds a General Assembly of global national academies every three years. The Global Young Academies are also proposing a meeting in parallel. The last IAP meeting was in Seoul, Korea in 2019. It has been proposed by the IAP that the next meeting in 2022 should be hosted in North America and it has also been suggested that Canada could be the venue and that the meeting could be co-hosted with the USA. Both the NAS and RSC were in principle happy to consider this and have been carrying out appropriate due diligence, especially in the context of potential pandemic restrictions. The RSC is considering if the IAP and Global Young Academy meetings could take place just prior to the 2022 COEE in Calgary. The RSC is carrying out detailed costings and risk assessment and is currently discussing potential options with partners. 

Nominations for the International Committee 2021-2023
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. 

The RSC had an excellent response from outstanding individuals and the new committee hopes to engage with many of these members as we establish task forces to focus on new international initiatives.

Proposed New International Initiatives
G7 Research Summit on “Climate Change Implications and Mitigation Options for Canada”
What we need to do and how we adapt to a carbon net zero future - opportunities and challenges? 
To bring together experts from the Social Sciences and Humanities with Science and Engineering in strategic panel discussions that amplify messages coming from the G7/G20 process as well as the UN COP26 Glasgow Conference. COP 26 is November 1-12, 2021 and overlaps with the RSC COEE in Montreal. An opportunity exists here to amplify messages from COP26 because it will be relevant and timely. 

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. Further information will be available for the next Council Meeting.

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.