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Rome Reports

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Directors of international entities call for universal access to scientific advancements


The pandemic has placed scientists in a race against the clock. Some of them are in the middle of red zones while others are researching and developing a vaccine against the virus, a benefit that should be accessible to everyone.

That's why the directors of UNESCO, the WHO and the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights reaffirmed the right of every person to enjoy the benefits of scientific progress.

AUDREY AZOULAY
Director-General, UNESCO
“Today, closed science models no longer work, because they amplify inequalities between countries and researchers, and because they only make scientific progress available to a minority. This health crisis has shown the incredible potential of scientific cooperation at the international level, this cooperation that has allowed us to sequence the virus genome so quickly. The solidarity shown by the scientific community is a model for the future.”

They say that in these difficult times, new technologies and discoveries should not be limited to a select few.

TEDROS ADHANOM GHEBREYESUS
Director-General, World Health Organization
“After all, what’s the purpose of having cutting-edge technologies if they cannot reach the people that need them the most? Sharing data and information that’s often-kept secret or protected by intellectual property could significantly advance the speed at which technologies are developed.”

However, this race against the clock also includes governments, and in many cases, a reluctance to adopt certain public policies. This has magnified the devastating damages of the pandemic.

MICHELLE BACHELET
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
“A basic principle of public health is the need for full and honest engagement with the public. Use of public force will not mitigate or end this pandemic, but the use of science and fully informed public consent and compliance will.”

The leaders of these organizations have committed themselves to supporting the international scientific community by promoting a culture of collaboration and solidarity instead of one of competition.

Daniel Díaz Vizzi

Translation: CT