How can we manage multiple crises such as pandemics, wars and the effects of climate change, which occur at the same time and reinforce each other? How can we protect the ocean and its biodiversity and how can science and innovation contribute to improving older people’s health? The science academies of the G7 states have published three statements regarding these questions today. Illustrating possible courses of action, the academies appeal to the G7 governments to address these issues at this year’s G7 Summit in Hiroshima, Japan, in May. The statements were prepared under the leadership of the Science Council of Japan with the participation of the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina.
“The governments of the G7 states are meeting this year against a backdrop of multiple crises that are interdependent and need to be tackled together: climate change, war and the impact of the pandemic. The preservation of marine biodiversity and an ageing society also require solutions that need to be developed through multilateral cooperation and on the basis of robust research results. For this purpose, the G7 science academies – the S7 Academies – are presenting their science-based recommendations in the run up to the summit,” says Gerald Haug, President of the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina.
In their statements, the G7 science academies identify three major current challenges: the consequences of anthropogenic (human-made) climate change, the socioeconomic impact and health implications of the COVID-19 pandemic, and Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine. These three converging and mutually reinforcing crises highlight the urgent need for action. With regard to climate change, there are currently significant shortfalls in meeting the Paris climate goals: both in terms of the pledges to mitigate climate change and in terms of delivering the necessary reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. The statements explain that rapid and decisive action is needed to address multiple crises and to advance the development of more resilient societies.
The proportion of the world’s population aged 65 or above is expected to increase from 10% to 16% by 2050. Entering this major demographic transition, there is a need to achieve a society in which an increasing number of people can enjoy health, well-being, and independence throughout their lifespans to the fullest extent. While it has been well established that maintaining an appropriate environment, physical activity, and social interactions is beneficial in reducing the likelihood of developing age-related diseases, our understanding of the underlying biological mechanisms is still insufficient to develop effective and personalized prevention strategies. This is one of the reasons, according to the S7 Academies, that more investment is needed to promote aging science or “Geroscience”.
The ocean and its biodiversity
The ocean is a global, interconnected body of saltwater and covers approximately 70% of the Earth’s surface. The ocean’s biodiversity consists of complex systems. Researching their mechanisms, including the long-term perspective of evolution, is crucial to understanding the effects of human intervention in the marine ecosystem and its biodiversity. It is therefore crucial to foster joint, long-term efforts, for example expanding international databases and observation networks as well as training suitable experts.
The science academies accompany the annual summits of the G7 states. In the run up to the summit, they address science-related issues that are relevant to the agenda and require multilateral action. The G7 Summit is scheduled for 19 to 21 May 2023 in Hiroshima, Japan.
G7 Statement “Addressing systemic risks in a changing climate: Science and technology in support of cross-sectoral decision-making” (2023)
G7 Statement “Delivering better health and well-being of older people through wisdom sharing and innovation” (2023)
G7 Statement “Restoration and recovery of the ocean and its biodiversity” (2023)