The Lausanne Declaration
This statement was made in Erice on 20th August 1997
The century now drawing to a close will be considered by future generations as truly the turning-point in the history of mankind. Never before has progress accelerated at such a rate, nor graver dangers confronted mankind thereby arousing our consciousness of global interdependence.
The dawn of the next century will herald an era of unprecedented information accessibility, and the emergence of newly industrialised countries whose consumption of natural resources will increase manyfold, with concomitant ecological problems. New alliances will probably be forged in the fight over our planet's resources which in turn will multiply the risks of total confrontation. The gulf separating rich countries from poor will most certainly widen unremittingly, sinking the populations of entire continents into ever greater deprivation, rendering them more vulnerable to famine, civil war and devastating epidemics, whilst many other planetary emergencies will remain unchallenged.
We, the signatories of the Erice Statement, on the basis of the accumulated experience and proven results obtained by the World Federation of Scientists and the Scientific Culture Centres of Erice and the World Laboratory, fully realise these dangers. However, we do not accept this catastrophic vision of the future as simply being mankind's fate. What we have already achieved, albeit on a small scale, must serve as a guide for our future actions to prevent this vision from becoming a reality. Our recommendations are as follows:
That a global forum be established, created by scientists for scientists and decision-makers of all persuasions and disciplines, for the free exchange of views and the debating of issues related to the planetary emergencies, in harmony with government-controlled national or international forums, but totally free from any other form of political, ideological or financial pressure.
That, by the same token, multinational, multidisciplinary working groups constituted in Erice since 1986 for each of the 15 Planetary Emergencies identified by the World Federation of Scientists are allowed a larger audience, to continue issuing their status reports and following up on their recommendations.
That funds devoted to aid developing countries must provide, without secrets or frontiers and a minimum of bureaucracy, training for scientific excellence thus enabling them to undertake their development in accordance with national aspirations.
We ask the peoples of all countries to support our initiative for a world where the birthright of every man, woman and child is peace, justice and respect for the dignity of the individual.