The GYA joins the world on 10 November as it celebrates the importance of science on UN World Science Day for Peace and Development.
In celebration of the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and of the 2017 Recommendation on Science and Scientific Researchers, the theme for the 2018 World Science Day is “Science, a Human Right”.
The World Science Day comes around just once every year, but for the GYA, highlighting the importance of science in society is an ongoing concern. Through its member-driven activities, the GYA provides an ongoing international and interdisciplinary forum for addressing issues such as the right to science and the need to engage the wider public in debates on emerging scientific issues.
For example, the GYA working groups on science education and outreach work towards linking science more closely with society and making science education more widely accessible in all countries. GYA members also engage in initiatives to promote and foster Open Science and Open Access, most recently by collaborating with the young academies in Europe on a statement on the future of Open Access in Europe.
The GYA is also actively contributing to the current global discussions on the right to science. One of its members, Maha Nasr (Egypt), spoke about her personal experience of restrictions to academic freedom at a hearing co-hosted by the German Institute for Human Rights in Berlin in May 2018.
In October 2018, GYA Executive Committee member Koen Vermeir (France) spoke at the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in Geneva, Switzerland. He delivered a statement on the right to science during a day of general discussions on Article 15 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights on the right to enjoy the benefits of scientific progress and its applications. The discussion explored questions relating to the normative content of the right, States’ obligations, limitations and obligations of actors other than States.