Academies of sciences and humanities from G7 nations warn pandemic has exacerbated inequalities
Learned academies from the G7 group of leading global economies have issued a joint call for their governments to ensure a “globally equitable” recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.
The call from academies of social sciences and humanities was the outcome of a virtual forum of the group, comprising the British Academy, the Royal Society of Canada, France’s Fondation Maison des Sciences de l’Homme, the Union of German Academies of Sciences and Humanities, Italy’s Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, the Science Council of Japan and the United States’ Social Science Research Council.
Publishing various joint statements on 16 November, the academies highlighted several areas they want the G7 governments to address going forward, including community engagement; education, skills and employment; trust and transparency in data gathering; and fiscal policy.
The academies warned that Covid-19 “has exacerbated and accelerated trends in growing inequalities in our societies”. While individual nations have met the challenge of supporting society through the pandemic, the group cautioned that “the degree of organisation and mobilisation of civil society…varies in different local contexts”.
Citizens from disadvantaged backgrounds—for example those living in poorer neighbourhoods, people with less education, younger generations and those from minority backgrounds—“experienced greater declines in feelings of cohesion during the pandemic”, the groups added.
Improving digital infrastructures could help mitigate against continued inequality in these areas, the academies said. They also called on the G7 governments to make greater use of the expertise available through the humanities and social sciences, stressing that researchers in these fields “can provide valuable insight”.
Hélène Velasco-Graciet, president of the Fondation Maison des Sciences de l’Homme, said: “The increase in the severity of crises, whether they are social, economic, health or environmental ones, must encourage public authorities to turn more and more to social sciences and humanities. They will play a crucial role in the fair and sustainable post-Covid recovery of our societies.”