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Committee Mandate

May 2023

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

Recent Activities

S7 – 2023 Process (Science Academies of the G7)

The presidency of the G7 for 2023 is Japan and the Science Council of Japan (SCJ) coordinated the S7 process for 2023 in order to submit science advice and recommendations to the G7.  This process at the RSC followed a rigourous expert review which we have established over recent years and is as follows:

The original documents are shared with Academy and College Presidents and the International Committee for information, comments, and suggestions. The statements are then reviewed by our membership and the RSC submitted to the SCJ, 12 expert reviews (4 for each statement) from Fellows across the academies and members of the College. This resulted in an updated draft. This updated draft was the starting point for an on-line meeting of the G-Science Academy experts. We choose three of our initial draft reviewers as experts to attend the writing/editorial meeting. In addition, the RSC International Secretary and Professor Michel Tremblay (President of the RSC Academy of Science) also attended each of the sessions. The experts were Professor Esyllt Jones (Health), Professor Sara Iverson (Oceans) and Professor Imre Szeman (Climate). They provided excellent advice and suggestions during the three meetings held online with the other G-Science Academies. These meetings resulted in finalized updated statements which were subsequently endorsed by all the S7 Academy Presidents. These statements are then submitted to the government Sherpa to go forward to the G7 political process and meetings. The final summit meeting of the S7 and handover to the government of Japan took place in Japan and was attended in person by Professor Michel Tremblay. The finalized statements from the S7 can be seen here at the RSC website

Currently the RSC One Health task force is formulating a research summit programme for COEE-23 that will discuss the many faceted components of one of the S7 statements that is focused on Healthy Ageing.

S20 – 2023 Process (Science Academies of the G20) 

The presidency of the G20 in 2023 is India and the S20 usually follows a similar process to that outlined above for the S7. This year the invitation was to have 5 in-person meetings attended by three delegates for each meeting. The RSC made the decision that due to issues of carbon footprint and financial implications it would not attend in-person but contribute, as we have previously, by reviewing, using our experts the developed statements and attend the final summit and endorsement meeting in July. Professor Jeremy McNeil (Recent RSC past president) will represent the RSC at this meeting. The theme for the S20 is “Disruptive Science for Innovative and Sustainable Society” and will focus on three topics, (i) Clean Energy for a Greener Future, (ii) Universal Holistic Health - Cure and Prevention of Disease,  (iii) Connecting Science to Society and Culture.

One Health Summit, Lake Louise, Alberta (November 2022)

A two day Summit was hosted by the Royal Society of Canada at Lake Louise in November of 2022, welcoming delegates from the European Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Sciences (USA), Royal Society (UK), Young Academies (Japan, Scotland) and New Voices (USA), and The Lancet Commission on One Health.  In addition, Canadian scholars from across disciplines in science, medicine, engineering, the arts and humanities joined in discussion focused on the following themes: A One Health Approach to Climate Change and Biodiversity Loss, Mitigating a Planet in Crisis;  Learning from Indigenous relationships with the natural world; and Addressing Globalization and Polarization: Towards Multilateral One Health Solutions.

A summary of proceedings with key messages and recommendations will be generated to inform next steps, guided by the discussions from breakout sessions focused on three of the six Action Tracks outlined in the World Health Organization Quadripartite One Health Joint Plan of Action: Reducing the risks from emerging and re-emerging zoonotic epidemics and pandemics; Strengthening the assessment, management and communication of food safety risks; and Integrating the environment into One Health.  The RSC is grateful for the excellent leadership provided by Professor Samira Mubareka and the committee who led the technical organization of this meeting. The RSC anticipate publication on the RSC website of a report and submission of key findings to an international journal. Further information on this RSC One Health Summit and participants can be found at the RSC website.

Inter-Academy Partnership on Indigenous Engagement 

The RSC, the Royal Society of New Zealand and the Australian Academy of Sciences are discussing how best to proceed with a joint academy day on indigenous knowledge. The President of the College, Professor Frank Deer, Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Education, is leading this RSC initiative. Leaders of the New Zealand and Australia National Academies attended the 2022 RSC COEE for meetings to discuss how best to proceed.

The Inter-Academy Partnership on Indigenous Engagement will be a multi-day event in which the achievements of Indigenous scholars and scientists of the member academies and their respective territories will be shared and celebrated. Essential to these celebrations will be the sharing of Indigenous culture, experiences, and language amongst the three academies and their partners. 

The purpose of these events, through the activities described above, will be to support the growth of the member academies in their efforts for improvement in Indigenous engagement. All three member academies are interested in and committed to increased representation of Indigenous peoples, inclusion of Indigenous perspectives in disciplinary areas, and engagement with Indigenous communities within their respective territories. 

For each event, the host academy will be responsible for engaging with Indigenous peoples internally and externally in order to develop the specific content of their event although interface amongst member academies will take place that will further inform the content. With a focus upon scholarly and cultural contributions, the focus will be principally that of Indigenous engagement. Some guiding principles/points of inquiry for the event being considered are:

•    Celebration and sharing of unique manifestations of Indigenous knowledge, heritage, consciousness, and tradition that is resident in the territories associated with our respective academies.
•    What scholarly achievements in Indigenous engagement can help us to understand our academies’ past, present, and future?
•    In what ways may we engage with Indigenous peoples for the betterment of our respective academies and the public good?
•    What institutional transformations might be necessary to benefit Indigenous engagement? What are our responsibilities toward Indigenous engagement?

Each member academy has generally stated their interest and ability in hosting one of the multi-day events. The Royal Society of Canada, as a future host of one of these events, is inclined to host this event at a time that closely corresponds to our annual Celebration of Excellence and Engagement which occurs in late November and/or early December of each year. Other times of the year are of course possible. Each member academy will be responsible for costs involved in traveling to Inter-Academy events. Member academies will be expected to establish delegations of approximately 10 individuals.

The first of these Inter-Academy Partnership events will take place in 2024 in British Columbia where the Royal Society of Canada will serve as host (at a time that corresponds with our Celebration of Excellence and Engagement). In 2025, the Royal Society Te Apārangi will host followed by the Australian Academy of Science in 2026. Planning for the 2024 event will begin in June of 2023.

RSC College becomes an Affiliate member of the International Science Council (ISC)

The Royal Society of Canada (RSC) is delighted to see that its College of New Scholars has become an Affiliate member of the International Science Council (ISC). This will build on, and enhance, the positive membership relationship the RSC has with the ISC through the National Research Council and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, Canada. Further information is available here at the RSC website.

Acknowledgment and Thanks

The International Secretary would like to thank and acknowledge the numerous experts and members of the RSC who have been consulted, provided advice, reviewed documents or accepted invitations to participate in events. He also thanks Professors McNeil and Mubareka for their “One Health” leadership and Professor Deer for his “Indigenous Engagement” leadership on behalf of the RSC, and the current International Committee, RSC President, Academy Presidents and Executive Director and staff for their contributions.