On December 8, the 2020 World Conference on Science Literacy was held in Beijing. Representatives from 23 international, national and regional science and technology organizations from around the world along with top experts in related fields attended the conference to discuss improving public science literacy and scientifically tackling the COVID-19 pandemic.
Wan Gang, Vice Chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), President of the China Association for Science and Technology (CAST), delivered a video address at the opening ceremony.
Representatives from United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), International Science Council (ISC), the World Federation of Engineering Organizations (WEFO), and the World Academy of Sciences (TWAS), also gave their congratulatory speeches to the conference.
Renowned Chinese and foreign scientists, including Zhang Boli, academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering; Michael Levitt, Nobel Laureate in Chemistry; Hazami Habib, CEO of the Academy of Sciences Malaysia; Ehud Menipas, Chairman of Association of Engineers, Architects and Graduates in Technological Sciences in Israel; and Huai Jinpeng, Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Secretary of CAST, Academician of Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), made keynote presentations.
The opening ceremony of the conference and the keynote presentations were presided over by Meng Qinghai, Vice President and Executive Secretary of CAST.
In his speech, Wan Gang pointed out that during the Fifth Plenary Session of the 19th Communist Party of China Central Committee, which opened in October, China has decided to promote the all-round development of human being, significantly improve its people’s science and culture literacy, and continue opening-up on a wider, deeper and more diversified scale.
Chinese scientists will be more proactive in integrating into the global innovation network, he said. The global pandemic of COVID-19 has once again proved that human beings are a community with shared destiny, and we should bring into full play the leading role of science and technology innovation in overcoming the crisis and achieving sustainable development, as well as maximizing the basic role science literacy can play in supporting development.
Wan proposed that the international science and technology community should adhere to multilateral exchanges, open cooperation, shared development, and join hands to promote science literacy around the globe. The scientific community should also make continuous efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and facilitate economic recovery, as well as contribute to building a community with a shared future for mankind, achieving the United Nations sustainable development goals and making the world a better place.
In his keynote presentation, Huai Jinpeng recalled the stories of science workers who tackled the novel coronavirus with science and innovation by creating better diagnostic kit, researching drugs and vaccines, expanding scientific outreach and providing psychological counseling services.
He urged science workers in China to embody the spirts highlighted in President Xi Jinping’s congratulatory letter to the first World Conference on Science Literacy and his letter addressing representatives from China’s scientific community. Chinese scientists should strive to make the nation more innovative, intelligent, and scientifically literate.
Huai advocated to uphold the principles of openness, trust, cooperation and win-win scenarios when promoting science literacy, facilitate the incorporation of building science literacy into the United Nations sustainable development agenda, and implement the Action Plan for Promoting Science Literacy around the Globe.
Focusing on scientific prevention and control of COVID-19 and international cooperation, the presentation by academician Zhang Boli highlighted the major role, theories and effects traditional Chinese medicine played in China’s anti-pandemic effort.
Professor Levitt’s presentation emphasized the importance of basic research for supporting COVID-19 epidemic response. Chief Executive Officer Hazami Habib shared key experience and measures by Malaysia to combat COVID-19 and emphasized the importance of scientific research and outreach during this trying time.
Chairman Ehud Menipas proposed a post-pandemic vision of the world in which science and technology will play a bigger role for innovation and growth, as well as enhance the resilience of governments and businesses to respond to future changes and challenges.
In the multilateral discussion session, representatives of science and technology organizations, experts and scholars shared their insights and experience on themes including “Scientific Prevention and Control against COVID-19”, “Interaction between Science Communication and Social Governance” and “Safeguarding Global Public Health Security”.
The World Conference on Science Literacy was organized by CAST. The conference featured televised forums covering the theme “Science in an Uncertain World”, and five keynote forums: “Science Literacy and the Construction of Ecological Civilization Forum”, “A Healthy World, A Better Future”, “Science Education for Children & Youth towards 2035”, “Scientific Literacy and Public Health Crisis” and “Service and Development of Science Centers under the New Situation”.
These were organized by the China Institute of Science and Technology and the Science and Technology Communication Center of CAST, which were held successively from November 18 to December 8. The opening ceremony and the keynote speeches were broadcasted live on TV and Internet to the world.