How can biodiversity decline be reversed, how can greenhouse gas emissions be reduced to net zero, and how can health data be internationally shared and used in compliance with data protection regulations in the event of a crisis? The Science Academies of the G7 nations have published three statements on these questions. The statements were handed over to the British G7 Presidency and presented at the G7 Sherpa Meeting on 30 March 2021.
The Academies call on the governments to address these issues at this year's G7 Summit in Cornwall/United Kingdom (UK) in June 11-13, and outline possible courses of action. The statements were prepared under the leadership of the UK’s Royal Society and with the participation of the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina.
“Preserving biodiversity, meeting climate targets, and the safe use of health data in case of a pandemic are three highly topical challenges that we must address through international cooperation if we are to have any chance for success,” says Prof. (ETHZ) Dr. Gerald Haug, President of the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina. “It is very important that the G7 Academies have also addressed the issue of net zero emissions in their deliberations for this year's G7 Summit. The path to climate neutrality is shorter than many people think. However, steps must be taken promptly and consistently,” Haug continues.
Biodiversity decline can only be reversed in a joint effort and with coordinated measures, as the G7 Academies write in their statement, “Reversing biodiversity loss – the case for urgent action”. The experts recommend solutions that consider the need for action at all levels of society as well as other global challenges, such as climate change. They also propose a global information and monitoring network to support countries in meeting biodiversity targets and to monitor progress at the regional and international levels.
Climate neutrality by 2050 requires an evidence-based technology roadmap that is informed and continuously updated by all the sciences, the G7 Academies write in their statement, “A net zero climate-resilient future – science, technology and the solutions for change”. In addition, necessary investments in research and development in the public and private sectors must be accelerated, and jointly agreed economic incentives created, the experts recommend. They also call for supporting middle- and low-income countries on the road to climate neutrality.
The coronavirus pandemic shows how important the rapid exchange of data in the event of an international medical crisis really is. The G7 Academies, therefore, recommend in their statement “Data for international health emergencies: governance, operations and skills” the development of a reliable system for the global sharing and use of health data, the development of secure and privacy-preserving technologies and infrastructures, and the promotion of skills and capabilities in handling sensitive data at all levels.
The Science Academies have been accompanying the annual summits of the G7 nations for more than fifteen years. In the run-up to each summit, they address scientific agenda-related issues that require multilateral action. The G7 Summit is scheduled for 11-13 June 2021 in Carbis Bay, Cornwall/United Kingdom.