Geneva Science and Diplomacy Anticipator

Activities

At GESDA, we first scout scientific breakthroughs that would emerge in five, ten and 25 years. Then we bring together people with various backgrounds to analyse how these scientific leaps should be developed and put into action for the benefit of all. As such, GESDA is a think-tank and a do-tank

Implementing GESDA’s vision requires the engagement and commitment of Moderators and Experts of four communities – each with its own mindset, way of working, pace of action and responsibilities.

Community Moderators and Experts
Academic Leading researchers, universities, publishers, science and technology networks, national and international funding agencies
Diplomatic States, international and regional organizations, politicians, diplomats, chief science officers, political think-tanks
Impact Philanthropic organizations, business incubators and accelerators, venture capital funds, financial services firms, business platforms, multinationals
Citizens Individual citizens, media, artists, cities, global decentralized networks, NGOs

 

To structure its operations, we group these four communities into two Forums: an Academic Forum comprising the academic community and a Diplomacy Forum comprising representatives of the other three communities, who are engaged in the implementation of operational activities benefiting humanity.

We strive to build science- and people-driven “Creative coalitions” as shown below, with the goal of identifying and developing global, inclusive solutions based on anticipated scientific and technological breakthroughs.

To make this exercise replicable around identified scientific emerging topics, a dedicated script equipped with specific tools is required to support the individuals and organizations in their collective engagement. A consistent, yet flexible, methodology allows for work on a number of scientific issues and emerging topics in parallel. Our methodology is called Anticipatory Situation Room.

The Anticipatory Situation Room is designed as a funnel, as shown in the following diagram. Milestones for key steps have been identified in the technological development process, where stakeholders from the four communities can provide input and guide the implementation of the solutions.

Situation Room funnel_revised

There are three main steps in our approach:

1. Scientific anticipation

We anticipate, within the Academic Forum, possible next-generation frontier science and technology breakthroughs from the laboratories and, within the Diplomacy Forum, emerging global challenges. This scouting step is based on two filters:

i) Time horizon: five, ten and 25 years

ii) Three fundamental and overarching questions:

  • Who are we, as humans? What does it mean to be human in the era of robots, gene editing and augmented reality?
  • How can we all live together? What technology can be deployed to help reduce inequality, improve well-being and foster inclusive development?
  • How can we ensure the well-being of humankind and the sustainable future of our planet? How can we supply the world population with the necessary food and energy while regenerating our planet?

The work of the Academic Forum is initially focused on four frontier research areas, or Platforms:

  1. Quantum Revolution & Advanced Artificial Intelligence
  2. Human Augmentation
  3. Eco-regeneration & Geoengineering
  4. Science & Diplomacy

Each Platform, headed by at least two Academic Moderators, identifies which developments in science and technology to consider. Those Moderators then solicit the contributions of internationally renowned Experts, who are asked to give inputs to produce Scientific Anticipatory Briefs (SABs). The first series of 12 SABs were written in autumn 2020 and will be published in science journals in the coming months.

2. Diplomacy acceleration

Based on those Scientific Anticipatory Briefs, and based on an understanding of upcoming global emerging challenges, we bring together representatives of the Academic Forum and stakeholders of the three other communities, called Diplomacy Moderators, to accelerate the joint development of inclusive solutions to those challenges. This is done by setting up collaborative creative coalitions.

Those “solutions” can vary considerably depending on the specific anticipatory scientific emerging topics and the global emerging challenge being addressed.

They could be, for example:

  • setting up a new international regulatory body or organization on specific anticipatory science and technology issues
  • drafting a new globally accepted and respected framework agreement (on ethics or governance of science for example)
  • creating an advanced research center for science policy and/or science diplomacy
  • establishing a capacity-building international initiative on rapidly developing sciences and technologies
  • rolling out a large-scale program to implement next sci&tech advances
  • hosting, in Geneva, a series of high-level dialogues around anticipatory science, between International Organisations, business and civil society/citizen representatives in assisting the transition around an emerging technology.

This process is intended to make those solutions available to the world as quickly and efficiently as possible.

3. Translation into action

Finally, we implement the solutions by translating them into concrete actions that can be deployed on a global scale. This entails using GESDA’s Impact Fund to finance on-the-ground work and drawing on the support of strategic and operational partners based in Geneva, elsewhere in Switzerland and around the world.

4. Connecting to the world: global visibility and partnerships

By bringing together Swiss and international stakeholders of the four communities having different mindsets and responsibilities, GESDA builds a “laboratory of the world – for the world”, focusing on anticipation, acceleration and translation of science and technology developments. By leveraging its location in Geneva, Switzerland, GESDA help crystallize in Geneva new international partnerships and anchor the city’s role as the main “hub” for the most meaningful discussions on the future of impactful multilateralism and shape new multilateral diplomacy tools for the Swiss and international diplomatic community.