30th September 2021
Adriana Castaño Hernández
Latin America and Caribbean Chapter at the International Network for Government Science Advice
The Latin America and Caribbean Chapter of INGSA, the Colombian Academy of Physical, Exact and Natural Science and the British Embassy in Colombia held a Seminar in Science Advice to the Parliament “Bringing Science to Political and Legislative Decisions” on September 22, 2021.
The seminar is part of the strategic lines of work of both INGSA at a global level and the Latin American and Caribbean chapter of INGSA that seek to bring congressmen / parliamentarians and their advisers, to the concept of scientific advice for decision-making and the formulation of policies and laws based on the use of scientific evidence.
Successful cases or in the process of consolidating parliamentary scientific advice mechanisms were presented at the seminar, starting with the extensive experience of the United Kingdom with the POST office (The Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology), Spain with the initiative of Science to Congress that recently in 2021 saw its fruits with the creation of the Office of Science and Technology of the Parliament in agreement with the Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology (FECYT), Chile shared the experience of Science to Congress in which they have worked on how bring science to legislative decisions from the National Library of Congress. The Argentine experience focused on the actions carried out from 2017-2019 in the Chamber of Deputies and the research carried out by the International Center for Parliamentary Studies, Research and Prospective of the School of Politics, Government and International Relations of the Faculty of Law | Austral University (CIEIPP). Finally, the Government of Colombia, through the National Planning Department, shared how it collaborates with Congress in pursuit of the same objective: that both the executive and legislative branches of government adopt public policy decisions informed by scientific evidence.
In the end, it was highlighted that the process of offering evidence for the construction of policies needs quality, fairness and transparency and neutrality. The issues that need scientific advice there are many actors involved who seek to adopt one or another position according to their interests. By them it must be clearly distinguished that the "Advisor is not an Advocate". The counseling must offer all the views and opinions so that decision-making is based on the different alternatives based on scientific evidence, which is objective information from different realities, but the decision to adopt one or another position is ultimately a political decision.