Following the decisions of the Swiss and Geneva governments to extend the existence of the Geneva Science and Diplomacy Anticipator Foundation (GESDA) for a period of 10 years (September 2022 – September 2032), the Foundation Board of Directors held the final meeting of its pilot phase on 21 and 22 April 2022 and validated the Foundation’s 2022 activity programme.
In 30 months, the Geneva-based GESDA Foundation has succeeded in providing the international community with two new practical instruments for developing science diplomacy based on anticipation and action.
- The first instrument – the GESDA Science Breakthrough Radar© and its digital platform – is the result of a close partnership with the Fondation pour Genève. The Radar provides an overview of what is being researched in the world today, the results of which will be operational in 5, 10 or 25 years. The first edition of the Radar published in 2021 provides a comprehensive analysis of 18 emerging topics and an overview of six additional ones. It presents 216 scientific disruptions in 5, 10 and 25 years identified by 543 scientists from Switzerland and around the world in four areas: digital sciences, health sciences, environmental sciences, political and social sciences.
- The second – the Geneva Science and Diplomacy Anticipation Summit – is a space for dialogue between science, politics, diplomacy, economy and citizens on the use and development of these scientific trends to accelerate the achievement of the international community’s goals. The first edition of the Summit held from 7 to 9 October 2021 gathered 937 participants (38% from the political and diplomatic world, 22% from the academic world, 23% from the philanthropic and economic world, 17% from civil society (NGOs, citizens, media)).
These two new instruments made available to the international community by Switzerland, Geneva and GESDA are a first step. In order to fulfil their function, they must become recurring annual activities that generate new global initiatives.
The 2022 edition of the Radar will be presented at the Geneva Science and Diplomacy Anticipation Summit 2022 which the GESDA Foundation is organizing over three days from Wednesday 12 to Friday 14 October 2022.
- The 2022 Radar will diversify the provenance of scientists, deepen the topics already covered and develop new ones by giving a greater place to basic sciences and humanities. It will cover 24 emerging topics and include 9 original contributions from invited scientists. Collaboration with the International Science Council, the umbrella association of Swiss academies and the publisher Frontiers should enable more than 1000 scientists to be involved in its development.
- The 2022 Anticipation Summit will have three main components: a discussion of the highlights of the Radar 2022, and, for the first time, a presentation of the work done over the past 18 months with the diplomatic and academic community on solutions and exploratory initiatives using anticipatory science; as well as a political discussion of this work and its international context, under the aegis of the President of the Swiss Confederation and Head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, Federal Councilor Ignazio Cassis.
In parallel, several exploratory initiatives will be launched in the course of the year and will be the subject of specific announcements:
- The first Geneva Science Diplomacy Week organised in Geneva by the GESDA Foundation in collaboration with 20 academic and diplomatic organizations from Geneva, Switzerland and abroad (16 to 20 May 2022 – https://gesda.global/science-diplomacy-week/).
- The International Quantum Contest for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) foreseen from 2022 to 2026 developed with the XPRIZE Foundation and International Organizations interested in using these future technologies to accelerate the implementation of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
- The Symposium on the International Right to Science organized by GESDA in collaboration with the Brocher Foundation in Geneva (28 November – 1 December 2022) by Ms. Samantha Besson, member of the GESDA Foundation Board and Professor at the Collège de France in Paris, as well as at the University of Fribourg, and Ms. Bartha Knoppers, Professor at McGill University in Montreal.
- The “Youth and Anticipation” Initiative led by Mamokgethi Phakeng, GESDA Foundation Board Member and Vice Chancellor of the University of Cape Town which will involve the African youth on the use of the GESDA Science Breakthrough Radar© .
At the opening of the Foundation Board meeting, the Chairman of the GESDA Foundation Peter Brabeck-Letmathe “thanked the Swiss and Geneva government for agreeing to give the GESDA Foundation a 10-year perspective”. He announced the forthcoming creation of a first Impact Fund in connection with the international competition on Quantum for Sustainable Development. He noted that “the Foundation will continue to contribute to the international community by working as an honest broker between science and diplomacy to enable the greatest number of people to benefit from scientific advances and to accelerate the development of solutions to global challenges”.