Resolution on public research and the environmental crisis

published 25 July 2015 updated 31 March 2017

The 7th Education International (EI) World Congress meeting in Ottawa, Canada, from 21nd to 26th July 2015:

Recognises that:

1. As a consequence of the over-exploitation of the planet at the hand of neoliberal capitalism, human beings have to face major and unprecedented global environmental problems (climate change, human impacts, urbanization, collapse of biodiversity, pollution of marine and continental ecosystems, desertification, soil sterilisation and collapse in agricultural productivity, over-exploitation of water resources, emergence of pathogens, epidemics, etc.).

2. The neoliberal system obstructs (i) citizen and worker participation, including scientists, in decisions relating to the major societal challenges, in particular those of global sustainability, and (ii) steers scientific research in the direction of short-term interests which are not those of global sustainability.

3. In some countries, researchers are prohibited from sharing their expertise on environmental topics if such opinions are likely to undermine the political decisions supported by the neoliberal system (exploitation of shale gas, climate change, agro-business, toxicity of emerging contaminants, etc.).

4. EI affirms that it essential for public research to contribute to resolving the environmental crisis. However, steering research in the directions intended to resolve the economic and environmental crisis created by neo-liberalism, without challenging the economic system, can only generate the same consequences as those that have already occurred. This is why EI supports the following guidelines.

5. The States must promote international cooperation and collaboration between research institutions in the various scientific communities.

6. In order to be able to make a contribution to the necessary answers to environmental, economic and social problems, research must benefit from public programmes which offer full freedom to researchers and which are based on international cooperation initiatives bringing together all countries and civic and trade union organizations, and which receive public funding commensurate with the challenges to be met.

7. Scientists and their trade unions must interact with worker trade unions and civic organizations, from all countries, in order to impose sustainable policies on the climate, ecosystems, urbanization, food, water, energy, health, economy and employment on governments.