The Paradigm Shift in the Relationship Between Science and Society
One of the defining issues of the 21st century would be to articulate
and clarify the role of scientists in society. The advance of knowledge
and the complexities characterizing modern day developments now require
a major infusion of knowledge in decision-making and policy formulation.
A pertinent example of this confluence of science and policy lies in
the work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The
IPCC is a remarkable amalgam of different disciplines, all of which
continue to provide policy relevant assessments on all aspects of
climate change. The understanding of policy relevance requires close
coordination and dialogue with policy makers, which helps IPCC report
summaries to be written in language that it is intelligible to
politicians, civil servants and diplomats etc., without compromising on
The presentation would look at the record of the IPCC in creating a platform between scientists and policy makers, its procedures for establishing transparency, credibility and objectivity in the assessment produced, as well as the impacts that it has had on the society thus far. Embedded in a study of the IPCC are valuable insights into the paradigm shift in the relationship of science with society, which would provide a basis for a part of the Global Knowledge Dialogue.