S4D4C – Calling for a Systemic Change: Towards a European Union Science Diplomacy for Addressing Global Challenges

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May 2020

Lorenzo Melchor

Ana Elorza

Izaskun Lacunza


Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology (FECYT)

Report on behalf of S4D4C

Executive Summary

At the time of this report’s publication, a novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, had emerged in Wuhan (China) in late 2019 causing the Corona Virus Disease 19 (COVID-19), has expanded worldwide, and is evolving as the most striking pandemic and global health challenge in the last 100 years. COVID-19 has brought to the limit health, social, economic, and labour systems and provoked huge turbulence in regional, international and multilateral relations. At the same time, science and its ability to inform policies for better response has become a crucial dimension of the answer to the crisis. COVID-19 is testing the ability of countries and regions to collaborate and respond in a united way.

In this context, more than ever, science diplomacy, understood as a series of structured practices at the intersection of science, technology and foreign policy, can become a fundamental dimension to the European Union (EU) and its Member States (MS). EU science diplomacy can contribute to address this current crisis as well as other global challenges, promoting both sustainable development and just and socially fair approaches. This would also help EU position itself as a global role model in integrative leadership and multilateral responses.

From our understanding of science diplomacy to become effective, European stakeholders need to develop a basis of common understanding of i) what EU science diplomacy vision, mission, and principles should be for addressing global challenges, ii) the current EU science diplomacy state of the art and its stoppers, warnings and drivers and iii) a strategy on how to achieve that vision. The project “Using Science for/in Diplomacy for Addressing Global Challenges - S4D4C” works to support these aims and this report is a contribution in this direction.

This report is a summary of a series of co-creation networking meetings of the European and global scientific, diplomatic and science diplomacy communities, of key outputs from the S4D4C project and input from researchers and key opinion leaders in the field as well as from our own practice in science diplomacy over the last years.

Download the full report from S4D4C

Accompanying the report, S4D4C have also released an Executive Booklet to assist with mobilising the report's recommendations