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  1. A net zero climate-resilient future
  2. Reversing the biodiversity crisis
  3. Data for international health emergencies

The national science academies of the G7 nations today launch their science agenda ahead of the G7 leaders’ summit in the United Kingdom in June 2021.

The scientists outlined in three statements the pressing global issues that they believe the G7 states should urgently address: Creating a net zero climate resilient world, tackling biodiversity loss, and improving the use of data in pandemics.

2021 could be a historic turning point for renewed global coordination on climate change, reversing biodiversity decline, and global health emergencies. But the action in these areas must be based on greater cooperation and collaboration between the G7 nations and a greater level of ambition and investment in the technologies and big science and economic ideas that can deliver a more sustainable and healthier world.

“Our response to the pandemic has clearly demonstrated how concerted international collaborations can result in rapid scientific advances that save lives,” said Professor Jeremy McNeil, President of the Royal Society of Canada, which represents the Canadian scientific community in developing these statements. “The 2021 statements underline the challenges we all face and provide clear paths of action the G7 countries should take.”

Last week, the statements were submitted to Canada’s G7 Sherpa and to Canada’s Chief Science Advisor. 

The three statements summarised:

A net zero climate-resilient future

Existing technologies and nature-based solutions will not be enough to decarbonise the world economy, and the science academies call on the G7 to apply their political might and resources to support the research and rapid development of technologies in those areas where we are not making progress on emissions, such as aviation, manufacturing and food production.

Ahead of the United Nations’ climate summit, COP26, in Glasgow later this year the academies call on the G7 nations to:

  1. Develop evidence-based technology road maps to net zero.
  2. Increase investment in the research and development challenges on the road to net zero, both nationally and collaboratively between G7 nations.
  3. Support middle- and low-income countries on the road to a climate-resilient, net zero future.
  4. Agree policies to economically incentivise carbon neutral options.

View Statement

Reversing the biodiversity crisis

The G7 nations need to work together to raise the ambition to halt, and start to reverse, biodiversity loss by 2030. Ahead of the United Nations’ biodiversity summit, COP15, in China later this year, the academies call on the G7 nations to:

  1. Develop and draw on new approaches to recognising and accounting for the true value of biodiversity.
  2. Join up the climate and biodiversity agendas and address them in a coordinated way.
  3. Support the development of a global biodiversity monitoring network to help countries meet their biodiversity targets.

View Statement

Data for international health emergencies

This statement draws on lessons learnt from Covid-19 to call on the G7 nations to work together to establish a commission on data for health emergencies. As a starting point, the commission could identify procedures for data sharing used in response to Covid-19, for longer-term use in G7 and other nations. It should involve meaningful public dialogue to build trusted data sharing systems to support global health beyond G7 countries, and beyond health emergencies.

The G7 nations should also:

  1. Agree principles and systems, technology, and infrastructure to facilitate safe and equitable sharing of data in global health emergencies.
  2. G7 nations should invest in the data skills needed at all levels in society from basic data literacy to skilled data use among health professionals and others.

View Statement

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For embargoed copies of the statements or to arrange interviews with spokespeople, please contact Erika Kujawski at ekujawski@rsc-src.ca.

To read “G7 science bodies unite on priorities for environment and health” by Ivan Semeniuk, which appeared in the Globe and Mail on March 31, 2021, click here

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