A Human Right to Science

Categories:Director's Corner

carelIn a recent edition of Science Magazine, Audrey Chapman and Jessica Wyndham published an opinion article with the title: “A Human Right to Science”. (Science, vol 340, 14 June 2013, p 1291).

Needless to say that I regret the policy of Science to charge for access to such crucial reviews, but I am glad it is out there.

The authors comment on the 2012 report of the UN Special Rapporteur, Farida Shaheed, in which she reminded the UN Human Rights Commission that the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights of 1966 makes explicit the human right to science. The way this is interpreted is:

1)    access by everyone, without discrimination, to the benefits of science and its applications, including scientific knowledge;

2)    opportunities for all to contribute to the scientific enterprise and the freedom indispensable for scientific research;

3)    participation of individuals and communities in decision-making about science and the related right to information; and

4)    development of an enabling environment fostering the conservation, development, and diffusion of science and technology.

What better way to describe some of COHRED’s core work ? When combined with the field of application, our basic mission is to support countries to maximize the use of research and innovation for health, equity and development.

Considering science and technology through a human rights lens “may set priorities and allocate resources differently from policies driven by commercial interests, the interests of scientists, or national scientific competitiveness”.

We still have a long way to go before all countries embrace research and innovation as a key driver for development, but I hope that this article will encourage them and their development partners to greatly increase the investments in national research and innovation systems, in general, and taking a human rights view, in particular, to achieve health, equity and development.

Great to consider on the 4th of July or while you are on leave if you live somewhere else than in the USA!




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