The second Open Science Forum for Latin America and the Caribbean (CILAC) began in Panama City this Monday. The Forum aims to create a dynamic and inclusive space to contribute to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals, by strengthening the scientific and technological capabilities of the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean.
CILAC is a platform comprising the Forum itself, with more than 60 thematic sessions, parallel events including many at the City of Knowledge, and a set of public science activities accessible all over the city. This second edition is structured around three pillars: sustainable cities, resilient territories and green economy. It counts with more than 500 participants, including the President of the Republic of Panama, Juan Carlos Varela, and high level representatives from across the region.
The participants were welcomed by UNESCO’s Assistant Director-General for Natural Sciences, Flavia Schlegel, who stressed the importance of science for the sustainable development of the region. The National Secretary of Science, Technology and Innovation of Panama, Jorge Motta, added that "science is in everything, and together with good public policies we will achieve sustainable and equitable development."
Outstanding students in science received prizes from the local authorities. President Juan Carlos Varela of Panama noted with joy that the diversity of these bright students, in a field where further diversity and gender parity is recognized as essential. The President insisted that policy-makers must listen to the scientific community and follow scientific and technological breakthroughs closely. "I am delighted that our country is once again hosting an event for unity, that fosters dialogue and above all living together peacefully, supported by the United Nations, where scientists and civil society are engaged to share good practices and share knowledge," said the President's in his welcoming address.
The Forum brings together relevant experts and decision makers with international reach, and provides a space for debate, reflection, and finding solutions to regional and global challenges. Anelists include Manuel Heitor, Minister of Science, Technology and Higher Education of Portugal; Lino Barañao, Minister of Science, Technology and Productive Innovation of Argentina; Margaret Hamburg, President of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS); and Bai Chunli, President of the World Academy of Sciences (TWAS), among other outstanding personalities. In addition, the diverse reality of the region will be examined, with particular attention given to means of addressing the challenges posed by sustainable development. The detailed agenda and information on participants and speakers is available on the Forum's website. The forum can be followed live, and all updates are shared through the CILAC Forum social media channels: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.
Photo: The President of Panama, Juan Carlos Varela, together with UNESCO Represetnatives: Flavia Schlegel, Assistant Director-General for Natural Sciences, Esther Kuisch-Laroche, Director of the office in San José, and Lidia Brito, Director of the office in Montevideo . © UNESCO