THE 93rd EXECUTIVE COUNCIL OF
WORLD FEDERATION OF SCIENTIFIC WORKERS
The 93rd Executive Council (EC) of the World Federation of Scientific Workers (WFSW) took place last December 12th and 19th by videoconference. The works unfolded in two sessions, on each of these days, with a total duration of 6 hours. The unfolding, unusual, was due to the need to create acceptable conditions to allow the participation of representatives of affiliated associations from various continents, from China to Canada and South America with great differences in the respective legal hours. As approved at the General Assembly of Marrakech in May 2022, which was in person, two Executive Boards will be held per year, one of which will be in person. The 94th and next Executive Council will take place in Portugal, in the city of Évora, from the 2nd to the 7th of July.
Delegations from the three Portuguese associations affiliated to the WFSW — OTC, FENPROF and ABIC — participated in the December EC, as well as representatives of associations of scientific workers from Argentina, China, Spain, France, Morocco, Russia, Senegal, among others. The diversity of the associations present constitutes one of the main assets of the meetings of this Executive Council, translating into interventions that reflect the most relevant successes and failures of the activities carried out by the affiliated associations, in different situations, in various countries and regions of the globe, and prevailing concerns regarding the living and working conditions of scientific workers in these countries and regions. In addition, naturally, to the approach taken to central issues such as science policies, free access to research work results — Open Science, the situation of women scientists, geopolitical instabilities that create obstacles to cooperation between scientific workers, the issue of energy and timid efforts to mitigate climate change which, like issues of Peace and uneven development, call into question real advances towards the Sustainable Development Goals defined by the United Nations Organization.
In this brief information about the works of the 93rd EC we highlight some of the most relevant aspects and interventions. Right at the beginning of the work, the important opening speech by President Jean-Paul Lainé is published on the website, in Portuguese and in the two official languages of the FMTC, i.d. French and English (https://otc.pt/wp/2023/02/06/wfsw-opening-of-the-december-2022-executive-council/).
For the first time, a detailed organizational chart of the Federation is adopted, reflecting the wide range of interests that give content to the WFSW’s action, establishing, in terms of internal organization, appropriate instruments to successfully develop the work on the various fronts on which this action unfolds.
We are interested in highlighting the constitution of the “Working Group for Women Scientists” which succeeds the Women Scientists Committee of the World Federation of Scientific Workers, extinct for about three decades, which was chaired by colleague Zilda Carvalho, founding member of OTC. The Committee carried out a significant activity, involving the associations affiliated to the FMTC, until its extinction in 1995. For some years now, the issue of female scientific workers has been at the forefront of the concerns of the World Federation, which also translates into the increased weight of the female component in the governing bodies of the Federation, which President Jean-Paul Lainé, among other leaders, has particularly encouraged. It is in the so-called “developing” countries, particularly in Africa and, in part, in Asia, that the situation of women in science requires particular attention. The Working Group for Women Scientists is coordinated by colleague Rufina Dabo, from Senegal.
The Working Group that deals with working conditions in research and the status of scientific workers (WFSW Working Group on “Research conditions and the status of scientific workers”), presented the lines of action for the near future among which the following deserve to be highlighted: promoting the exchange of experiences in this area between affiliated associations from different countries; integration into the Group of young researchers; the organization of researchers in a network with a view to a broad approach to the problem that is the object of attention of the Working Group, including the identification of ways that allow combating the difficulties experienced by scientific workers, linked to working conditions and their professional status , where the generalization of precariousness stands out. This Group is coordinated by colleague André Carmo (FENPROF) and colleagues Joana Santos (OTC) and Sylviane Lejeune (UGICT-CGT-France).
The Working Group on “Peace, Disarmament and Cooperation” (WFSW Working Group on “Peace, Disarmament and Cooperation”) presented the topics that will form part of the respective work program for 2023, namely: the contribution of military conflicts for climate change; the development of biological weapons, secret laboratories, gene editing; the war in space and the dangers of the cloud of space junk around the globe; the constraints resulting from the intervention of the military in university research; the role of the United Nations and the question of its reform; and, still, the issue of military applications of Artificial Intelligence. The Group is coordinated by Frederico Carvalho (OTC); Elena Kharatinova (Union of Scientific Workers of the Russian Academy of Sciences); and Mehdi Lahlou, individual member of the WFSW, professor at the University of Rabat (Morocco).
Despite the limitations imposed by remote work using computer means, we believe that the 93rd Executive Council of the WFSW was fruitful and paved the way for an enlargement and renewal of members of its governing bodies, as well as positive prospects for the future development of the World Federation’s activity.
Editing: Frederico Carvalho
Review: Joana Santos