UN Security Council: harnessing the potential of science for peace and security

Press releases, 17.05.2024

Switzerland organised a meeting of the UN Security Council on 17 May 2024 to strengthen collaboration between the scientific community and the council. Incorporating science into the council's decision-making process can foster mutual trust and help prevent conflicts, promoting sustainable peace – a key priority for the Federal Council during Switzerland's Security Council membership in 2023–24.

The informal UN Security Council meeting convened by Switzerland aimed to enhance collaboration between the scientific community and the council. The insights gleaned from this partnership must be leveraged to prevent conflicts and promote peace. Science can help the UN Security Council make informed decisions and fulfil its global peace and security mandate, particularly in the face of the interconnected challenges of climate change, pandemics, economic crises, and conflicts. At the Security Council briefing today, the Geneva Science and Diplomacy Anticipator (GESDA) foundation explained that gathering data and evaluating peacebuilding initiatives can uncover trends and yield useful insights. This provides the basis for anticipating new conflicts by recognising early warning signs. These insights can also guide the formulation of recommendations and strategies for resolving and preventing conflicts, as well as mediating between conflicting parties.

With conflicts at their highest level since the Second World War, the global community must refine its tools to build trust among nations and promote lasting peace. Engaging the scientific community and leveraging science diplomacy can help to restore trust and promote peace. Evidence-based, shared knowledge can provide a basis for a collective understanding of global challenges.

A commonly accepted normative framework enhances both trust and predictability. Science plays an important role here: "Science and new technologies offer us the opportunity to better anticipate and understand today's risks and tomorrow's opportunities," Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis told the Security Council in New York on 3 May 2023.

According to Switzerland's Foreign Policy Strategy 2024–27, science can make an important contribution to diplomatic efforts in the context of good offices, peacebuilding and international organisations. Switzerland's leading position in international rankings in the areas of education, research and innovation provides a solid foundation for its science diplomacy efforts. This also helps strengthen the international profile and competitiveness of Swiss actors in the fields of education, research and innovation and to implement cooperation projects worldwide.

Further information:

Declaration by Switzerland on unlocking the potential of science for peace and security, UN Security Council, 17.05.2024 (fr, en)
News article: Interview with GESDA and ETH Zurich on the potential of science for peace and security
What does Switzerland do in the UN Security Council?

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