G7 Summit

Meeting of G7 science ministers

Joining forces to tackle global threats

The G7 ministers of science believe that solutions to global challenges will only be found through joint research and action. At their meeting in Berlin they agreed to step up cooperation.

Scientist works in a laboratory. The G7 science ministers intend to expand cooperation in the field of research Source: Sebastian Bolesch

Half of the world’s population lives in poverty and three billion people have no access to safe drinking water. This is a breeding ground for many poverty-related tropical diseases. The contamination of our oceans with plastic waste and micro-plastic debris, the waste generated by civilisation and carried by rivers into the oceans, threatens marine life.

Forging ahead with health research

Mutual support and knowledge sharing to fight these global threats that no one state can effectively tackle alone today – that is the goal that G7 science ministers and health ministers set themselves during their consultations in Berlin on 8 and 9 October 2015.

Federal Research Minister Johanna Wanka stressed that it is essential to break the vicious circle of poverty and disease. "It is no accident, indeed it is natural, that the G7 science ministers are holding this meeting jointly with the G7 health ministers." The G7 summit in Schloss Elmau mandated ministers to consult and coordinate, and to step up health research. The participants at this joint meeting thus agreed to extend the G7’s research activities across the entire spectrum of neglected poverty-related infectious diseases.

The future of the oceans is to be ensured by improving the management of plastic waste and changing consumption patterns. Improved education with more PR work and education programmes for young people are also to help protect the oceans. Deep sea mining is to be required to comply with ecological standards, stressed Johanna Wanka. This is one area in which international cooperation is indispensable. The German government is to make the focus of the next year of science "Protect the Oceans".

Making energy supplies more efficient

In an effort to achieve the goal of more efficient energy supplies, the science ministers agreed to step up joint research activities. The findings are to be made available in a more transparent form and there is to be greater consultation and coordination. Cooperation is also to be stepped up, with greater citizen participation.

And finally, the G7 science minister agreed to set up joint international research structures. The data thus generated are to be made available to the worldwide scientific and research community. The data are also to be standardised such that they can be used by various different disciplines.

Extending research cooperation

Because of its prosperity, and its research capacities, Germany has the responsibility to help and provide support, stressed Johanna Wanka. But this is only sufficiently promising if countries work together and where there is international cooperation. Through the German Center for Infection Research in Braunschweig, Germany is already making an important contribution to international efforts to control epidemics.

In Braunschweig 150 scientists are involved in research work that serves to improve the health of the world’s population. An Ebola vaccine, co-developed in Germany, helped stem the epidemic.

Friday, 09 October 2015

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Meeting of G7 health ministers