WASHINGTON - Science academies from around the globe issued joint statements today to call world leaders' attention to the role science, technology, and innovation can play in the pursuit of sustainable development, and to raise their awareness of the emerging threat of drug resistance in infectious agents including tuberculosis. The "G-Science" statements are intended to inform government leaders attending next month's G8 Summit and other international gatherings later this year.
At the United Nations Rio+20 Conference last year member states agreed to develop Sustainable Development Goals. The first statement issued today highlights how science, technology, and innovation can address many of the challenges involved in meeting the needs of a burgeoning human population, especially the 1.3 billion people still living in extreme poverty. Demographics, urbanization, food and water security, clean and efficient use of energy and other resources, and literacy -- including scientific literacy -- are all issues that must be addressed if development is to be pursued in a sustainable manner, the statement says.
"Anti-infective" drugs have been one of the most effective health interventions in the history of modern medicine, but evolving resistance to these drugs among many infectious agents, especially bacteria, is a threat to humanity, says the second statement. It highlights two threats in particular: the steady rise worldwide of untreatable tuberculosis infections, and Enterobacteria, a common bacterial infection spread in hospital settings that has recently become resistant to "last-resort antibiotics." The statement includes six recommendations to combat drug resistance through better global surveillance, more responsible use of anti-infective drugs, enhanced prevention of infection, and the discovery of new drugs. Developing countries need to be full partners in this effort because drug resistance more acutely affects them, the statement adds.
The G-Science statements were signed by the leaders of the national science academies of Canada, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Nepal, Russia, South Africa, the United Kingdom, the United States, as well as the regional African Academy of Sciences.