Pursuit of a Landmark merger between ISSC and ICSU

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On the 24th of October, in Oslo, Norway, I was honoured to attend and take part in an important and interesting Assembly co-chaired by Alberto Martinelli (ISSC President) and Gordon McBean (ICSU President) where main goal was the approach on whether to take an in-principle decision to pursue a merge between the two organizations.

Following the opening, the adoption of the Agenda, the Director of the Humanities and Social sciences and Norwegian Research Council and the President of the Norwegian Academy of Sciences and Letters shared a welcome speech in their role as hosts of this extraordinary event. ISSC and ICSU Presidents proceeded to appoint the ICSU and ISSC tellers.

The methodology used by the facilitator was warmly welcomed among the membership of both Councils as it was based on offering the chance to discuss every point after the introduction of any talking-point by the members of the ISSC-ICSU Working Group, who focused their thesis regarding the urgent need to work together in a global world. The talking-points clarified the proposed 2018 roadmap and the key decision milestones.

The final results of both voting processes were announced after 6:00 p.m.

  • 87% ISSC members decided yes to take an in-principle decision to pursue a merger with ICSU.
  • 76 % ICSU members decided yes to take an in-principle decision to pursue a merger with ISSC, and 79,5 decided as well to extend the mandate of the EB till Oct 2018.

This was a historic moment for science. The decision for ISSC and ICSU to pursue a merge was the logical conclusion of an increasing collaboration between the two councils, and is in line with the course of developments in science over the past decades.

Some conclusions I drew from the event:

– The presence of IFLA at the Assembly was well considered for both organisations.

– I introduced myself and talked about IFLA, a global Library voice facing a transition as an inclusive organisation.

– The performance of the facilitator was outstanding. The role he played was key to reaching agreements and the right decision.

– I believe that creating unified international councils such as these, is the best way to remove institutional barriers and will make us stronger in the future and help us to respond to global challenges better. We should take note of this important milestone and watch their evolution closely.

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