Since 2005, the National Science Academies of the G7 countries, sometimes in cooperation with other relevant countries, have met annually to develop policy recommendations to be delivered to the leaders of each country. In 2012, when 15 academies met in Washington, they decided to use the term GScience for the group because the issues addressed are essentially global. This year, to reinforce this global perspective and recognizing the importance of young researchers in finding solutions for global challenges, the GScience invited the Global Young Academy (GYA) to participate.

The 2020 GScience meeting was planned to be conducted in Washington, to be hosted by the USA National Academy of Sciences (NAS) in March, but the meeting had to be cancelled because of the COVID-19 outbreak. It is therefore very apt that the NAS took the initiative for an additional urgency statement responding to the global emergency of COVID-19. Executive Committee member Yoko Shimpuku (Hiroshima University, Japan), one of the GYA delegates, says: “I found it very important because when the statement was developed, the COVID-19 positive cases started to be found in Africa, where shortages of healthcare providers are serious already in everyday life, and healthcare systems are generally fragile compared to high-income countries. I was worried as donor countries were facing tough moments themselves and starting to stop international aid projects.”

GYA Co-Chair Koen Vermeir (CNRS, France), also invited as a delegate to the meeting, states: “It is important that the voice of this global group of academies is heard. This statement will be delivered directly to the most influential heads of state and it is crucial to convince them of the need for better international cooperation. Many countries would have had more time to prepare for COVID-19 if only there had been better communication and cooperation between relevant policymakers. Especially a better interlinked and integrated science advice mechanism between countries would have been very helpful for a more timely and evidence-informed response.” Yoko Shimpuku adds: “I truly believe that the significant part of this statement echoes the GYA statement on COVID-19. We need solidarity and humanity, avoid unnecessary conflicts and discriminations, and support one another through the network of academies to fight against the virus with evidence-based solutions.”

Read the statement  here: “The Critical Need for International Cooperation during COVID-19 Pandemic”