Science academies of the G7 call for urgent action to protect human health, agriculture, AI and cultural heritage

12 April 2024

National science academies from the G7 countries, including the Royal Society, are jointly calling for member organisations to tackle six global challenges ahead of the G7 Summit held in Italy.

Six statements, released today, call for action on: security and safety of agriculture production; artificial intelligence and society; policy recommendations for health issues; nuclear arms control; social inequalities and poverty, and combatting increased vulnerability; and science and communication of cultural heritage to increase knowledge and public awareness of our collective roots.

Sir Adrian Smith, President of the Royal Society, said: “From food and internet security to the threat of pandemics and the fight against poverty, these global challenges are inherently linked, and solutions cannot be achieved effectively without considering all collectively. Climate change affects agriculture, affects health and worsens social inequality. These issues, along with a failure to understand and embrace our shared heritage, weaken geopolitical ties, as well as our ties with our very communities.

“Science and technology are at the heart of many of the solutions the world needs to address these issues. The G7 governments therefore have a responsibility to support scientists in their research and implement policies for the rapid transformation that is needed, as we aim for a world that is more compassionate, safer, and healthier for all.”

Statement summaries:


Agriculture is fundamental to our food system and economy, providing employment and income to support lives of people around the world. It is also, however, responsible for environmental degradation. The S7 academies recommend providing suitable resources to equip people with the skills and abilities to face these challenges; soil monitoring and rehabilitation as well as strategies for reduced water consumption; generating weather-tolerant, pest and disease resistant crop varieties, animal vaccines, and health-strengthening probiotics, while promoting the diversification of crop species; and promoting trade patterns that favour sustainable agriculture and food systems. 

Artificial intelligence:

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is reshaping our world, offering numerous benefits but also raising critical concerns to be addressed through globally coordinated and inclusive governance. S7 academies recommend appropriate security against cyber and physical attacks, including privacy enhancing technologies and clear guidance on data usage; independent bodies and government to set and enforce strict standards and laws to promote transparency and accountability; aligning AI with human values and ethics through cross-sector collaboration; and education.

Health issues:

The World Health Organization has declared antimicrobial resistance (AMR) one of the top ten global public health and development threats, while the COVID-19 pandemic revealed weaknesses of health systems and institutional responses, and inadequate international cooperation. Meanwhile, most National Health Systems are in crisis and primary prevention is still largely underfunded, and the health of humans and other species is seriously threatened by the rapidly changing climate. The academies therefore urge the G7 governments to prioritise pandemic preparedness and response, antimicrobial resistance, the crisis of the universal health systems, and the health impacts of climate and environmental change.

Nuclear arms control:

The increase in geopolitical crises and new wars being fought involving countries possessing nuclear weapons threaten regional and global stability. The science academies of the G7 countries, in light of the rise in international tensions and wars, call on the G7 leaders to once more reaffirm their commitment to achieving a world without nuclear weapons and to take the necessary steps to help the world to realise this goal safely and securely.

Social inequalities and poverty:

There is a clear need for a change of strategy in the fight against poverty, which the science academies urge the governments of the G7 countries to consider. In the wake of the pandemic and its severe socioeconomic consequences – as well as the poverty and hunger impact of new conflicts and tensions at the international level on international markets – it is necessary to strengthen more specific policies against poverty in addition to fostering economic growth. Policies should aim at boost social protection and prevent dramatic increases in extreme poverty in response to health, food and climate crises, unexpected economic downturns and conflicts.

Cultural heritage:

Cultural heritage is the foundation of our collective identity as human beings and at the root of understanding our collective past and place in nature – contributing to our ability to meet present and future challenges. The contribution of natural sciences, social sciences and humanities, as well as their transdisciplinary involvement, are all crucial to the full and thorough exploration, understanding, preservation and communication of cultural heritage.

The academies call on the G7 countries to play a leading role in disseminating critical awareness of cultural heritage in educational institutions; promote international collaboration to counter the theft and illegal trafficking of cultural artefacts, and the intentional destruction of cultural heritage during war or other conflicts; and promote international collaboration between researchers in the natural and human sciences to enhance the understanding of humankind’s cultural heritage.