The war in Ukraine is a nightmare in the heart of Europe and a brutal wake-up call for nations. The academies of sciences have a duty to provide the very best advice to their nations and governments in such situations.
The Estonian Academy of Sciences, in its role as the chairman of the International Science Council (ISC) European members and the chairman of the European Science Advisors Forum, calls on all academies and chief science advisors across Europe to consider in their advice to their nations and governments the need to join forces to help Ukrainians in their fight for their own future, to use every possible action to weaken the positions of the aggressor, and to further develop an understanding of processes that may lead to escalations of this type (see the statement).
The ISC European members know that there will be many challenges to confront as the situation evolves further. These challenges will include handling the likely stream of refugees, providing shelter to fellow scientists who may need to leave their country, keeping contacts with colleagues and institutes in affected countries, and finding ways to support affected sister academies and universities, as well as keeping an eye on generic issues of integrity of academic research in different political environments.
The President of the Estonian Academy of Sciences, Prof Tarmo Soomere, has said that these are all aspects of the situation where both taking a position and remaining silent inherently have a political dimension.
The European ISC Members are an informal group of 49 member organisations of the International Science Council (ISC) in Europe.
The ISC brings together over 200 international scientific unions and associations as well as national and regional scientific organisations including academies and research councils. The mission of the ISC is to act as the global voice for science, including speaking for the value of all science and evidence-informed decision-making, and to articulate scientific knowledge on such issues in the public domain.
The European Science Advisors Forum (ESAF) is a network of advisors, experts and scientists that hold advisory mandates from their Governments and have a responsibility to provide scientific advice to their Governments or help arranging it.