National Academies urge G7 to drive economic growth, tackle neurodegenerative disease and protect cultural heritage

03 May 2017

National science academies from the G7 countries, including the UK’s Royal Society, are jointly calling for member organisations to tackle three global challenges ahead of the 43rd G7 Summit held in Taormina, Italy. Three statements released today call for action on: driving new economic growth with science, technology, innovation and infrastructure; protecting cultural heritage by boosting resilience to natural disasters; and the challenges of neurodegenerative disease in an aging population.

Sir Venki Ramakrishnan, President of the Royal Society, says “Science underlies much of the innovation that advance our economic, social and cultural well-being, as well as our health. Making advances in the three key areas highlighted in these statements will improve the lives of millions worldwide. We need the support and leadership of G7 countries to secure future growth, tackle health challenges within an aging population and protect our precious cultural heritage.”

The scientific advisory process was coordinated by the Accademia dei Lincei, the host nation’s science academy. The official hand-over of the three joint statements will be made to the President of the Italian Republic Sergio Mattarella. 

The three statements are:

New economic growth: the role of science, technology, innovation and infrastructure

Science, technology and innovation have long been important drivers of economic growth. The challenge is to ensure that, even during phases of economic slowdown, science and technology continue to support the objectives of sustainability and improved living standards in all countries. In the aftermath of the 2008 economic crisis that has slowed down world growth, we need to make sure that investment in science, technology, innovation and infrastructure expands its contribution to sustainable and inclusive world growth.

Read the full statement

Cultural heritage: building resilience to natural disasters

In spite of numerous declarations, effective action on protecting cultural heritage sites from natural disasters has been slow. This is of serious concern as the list of affected sites worldwide is extensive, and catastrophic events like earthquakes, floods and volcanic eruptions are just some of the risks. Challenges like climate change, sea level rise and increasing rates of urban development means concerted action is needed to protect precious cultural heritage.

Read the full statement

The challenge of neurodegenerative diseases in an aging population

Neurodegenerative diseases like dementia have no cure, and specific and effective treatments for them are urgently needed. Alzheimer’s disease alone will affect between one-third and one-half of people above 85 years of age; thus the number of people affected, estimated at 40 million worldwide in 2015, is anticipated to increase to 135 million by 2050. These diseases have a heavy personal and economic burden, and significant public funding is needed to sustain a worldwide effort against the growing challenge of these brain diseases. 

Read the full statement