The Brussels declaration on ethics & principles for science & society policy-making
lterrat's bookmarks 2017-02-19
With the encouragement and support of all participating organisations, public and industry scientists, representatives of science-led civil society groups and particularly those many individuals assuming leadership roles in steering this independent initiative, we the participants of the five Consultation Events held from 2012 - 2016 adopt the present Brussels Declaration on Ethics and Principles for Science and Society Policy-Making.
This bottom-up initiative began as a genuine attempt by the scientific community to question the robustness of science-led policy-making worldwide. The features that set it apart are its purposeful five-year process, its multidisciplinary approach, its openness to all stakeholders, the numbers and range of groups involved, and the quality of the dialogue and inputs achieved. Taking harm reduction science as the most powerful case-study to encourage both engagement and examination of how decisions are made, the spotlight has been on the processes themselves, not the public health imperatives. Nevertheless, our discussions uncovered major concerns and these searching questions persist.
During the latter part of our process when presenting interim findings at global conferences, our collective was able to convince the organisers of the World Science Forum to equally call for greater concerted effort towards establishing universal ethics and principles. Thus, in line with the outcomes of the 1999 World Conference on Science (WCS) and taking into account the 2011 Budapest Declaration on the New Era of Global Science and the 2013 Rio de Janeiro Declaration on Science for Global Sustainable Development, our Co-Chairs helped draft Article IV of the 2015 World Science Forum’s Budapest Declaration on the Enabling Power of Science entitled ‘Scientific Advice for Policies’. This calls for: '…concerted action of scientists and policy-makers to define and promulgate universal principles for developing and communicating science to inform and evaluate policy based on responsibility, integrity, independence, and accountability.'
Our document brings together the findings from a series of five consultation events and symposia at global conferences from 2012 - 2016, in which more than 300 individuals from 35 countries examined how power operates in science and society (see annex).
We believe that science is relevant to politics, policy and power because it is based on evidence and gets it right most of the time. In what some now call our ‘post-factual’ society, however, with its cauldron of competing interests, knowledge is ever more complex, contingent and contested."