Joint Initiative: Article 15

In addition to specialized Areas of Work that engage associations in the pursuit of many different objectives, the Coalition has an overarching initiative that engages the full membership. This joint initiative is the promotion of the right to “the benefits of scientific progress and its applications” (Article 15, International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights).


The right to “enjoy the benefits of scientific progress and its applications” elevates fundamental scientific values, such as equitable access to scientific and technical knowledge, scientific freedom, and international cooperation, to universal standards that governments everywhere must protect. A right unto itself, this right is also a key prerequisite for the realization of other human rights, including the rights to health, food, water, and to a healthy environment. Although universally recognized, this human right remains largely ignored by governments, as well as the scientific, engineering, health and human rights communities. As a network of scientific, engineering and health organizations that recognize a role for science and technology in promoting human rights, the Coalition has a unique and vital contribution to make to efforts to ensure that governments respect, protect, and fulfill this neglected right.


The goals for the Joint Initiative in 2012-2014 are to:

  1. Bring the voice and perspectives of the scientific and engineering communities directly to the articulation and monitoring of the right to “enjoy the benefits of scientific progress and its applications” by the United Nations and other relevant regional human rights organizations.
  2. Raise awareness among policy makers and government agencies of the articulation of the right within the scientific, engineering and human rights communities, as appropriate, including through the development and wide dissemination of written and multi-media resources.
  3. Contribute to enhanced monitoring of government compliance with their obligations under this right and to increase compliance with this right by those countries that are a party to the relevant international and regional treaties.

Further Information

If you wish to find out more about this Joint Initiative and how your association can participate, please contact Jessica Wyndham.