Following the debate on Chemistry and Society, the Seville International Chemistry Declaration 2016 (SICD2016), was presented and signed by its panellists.
“In spite of the fact that chemistry is invisible to most, it is the basis for practically all the scientific, technological and innovation advances that enable humankind to progress. Without chemistry’s important and continuous contribution, we would not have been able to achieve the life expectancy and quality of life we have today.
In a world that is becoming increasingly populated and urbanized, and which will require 30% more water and 40% more energy by 2030, we are faced with innumerable social challenges that require a firm commitment to research and innovation for their resolution. It will be chemistry as a discipline, with the fundamental and necessary support of other sciences and areas of knowledge, which will continue to assume the responsibility of addressing most of these challenges and to offer sustainable solutions.
There are many issues facing today’s society, such as energy, water and food supply for demographic growth, universal access to healthcare and medical treatment, the environment and the battle against climate change. Resolving these issues requires the efforts of the scientific community and the industrial sector to develop globally accessible products, technologies and processes and to promote a model of sustainable growth based on a rational use of the planet’s resources.
Through the scientists, researchers, teachers, professionals and business people dedicated to this discipline, chemistry will inevitably play a major role in providing suitable solutions to these and many other challenges in alignment with the Sustainable Development Goals set out by the UN. This will only be possible if we establish the necessary collaboration channels between these key players, with the support of society and its competent authorities and bodies.
For the above reasons, we state that:
It is necessary to promote social awareness of the invaluable contributions of science in general, and chemistry in particular, to all areas of our everyday life. These contributions have enabled us to enjoy an unprecedented quality of life and wellbeing thanks to the advances achieved.
It is necessary for the scientific community and the political stakeholders to constantly foster social trust and public support for science as a source of knowledge that has allowed humanity to advance, as opposed to some unfounded beliefs and arguments that lack a logical or rational basis supported by scientific evidence.
In order to increase this social recognition it is necessary for governments, public administrations, political and business leaders and civil society as a whole to promote excellence in scientific education, research and technological innovation, as well to disseminate objective, accurate information about chemical science and its applications.
It is necessary to recognise, value and support the fundamental contribution of scientists who research and develop products and applications; the work of teachers and professors in the education of future generations from the early to the most specialised stages, and the contribution of companies, professionals and workers who, after all, generate the products and economic and social benefits that citizens need. Without all of them, chemistry would not be able to resolve global challenges.
Through their activity, it is necessary for authorities and public administrations to foster the industrial development of chemistry and the competitiveness of the sector, allowing new developments in the laboratory to be applied in people’s everyday lives and advances in research to be transferred to our citizens. The global dissemination of these advances and discoveries must be a priority.
Scientific knowledge must form the basis of regulatory decision-making to ensure that the design and implementation of policies and legislation aimed at guaranteeing the protection of people and the environment are always based and implemented in accordance with scientific rigour.
It is necessary for both public and private sectors to continuously support R&D+I (Research, Development and Innovation) and to consider it not only a fundamental tool for creating sustainable, competitive advantages but also as a commitment to future generations to whom we want to leave as a legacy a more balanced and sustainable world.
It is necessary to value the contribution of chemistry to a new model of circular economy that will form part of the solution to the continuous growth of the planet’s population, enabling waste to be converted into new products in order to rationalise the use of resources.
In line with the Sustainable Development Goals set out by the UN, chemistry through those that apply it and use it will continue to be committed to protecting the planet and its natural resources. Building fairer and more inclusive societies requires a sustainable economic growth based on efficiency and the responsible use of resources, which chemistry can provide through its applications and innovative products.”