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Hello, this is Christos Christou, International President of Doctors Without Borders (MSF) and today I want to talk about the European migration pact and the appalling and dangerous conditions made for people on the move at the borders of Europe.

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Dr Christos Christou, International President


'Enough is enough: new pact, same misery'

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A demonstration led by Seebruecke organization demanding evacuation of all refugees from Greece, 20 September 2020. EPA/Alexander Becher

When I visited Moria camp last November, I was shocked by what I saw. I could barely believe the appalling conditions men, women and children were forced to live in on European soil. I told European Union leaders in an open letter and said these were the result of their deliberate political choices.

In 2016, the EU signed a deal with Turkey to outsource the responsibility of hosting refugees, stop the boats and return as many people as possible. As a result, people who arrived in Greece were trapped in filthy, overcrowded camps indefinitely. This tragedy reached a breaking point a week before the EU announced its so-called “fresh start” on migration policy, when a fire destroyed the EU hotspot in Moria. Built for 2,700 people, it was hosting 13,290.

You could expect that this culmination of misery would force European leaders to opt for a fundamental change in policy, a truly humane one that allows human beings escaping armed conflicts, persecution and extreme poverty to live in dignity. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the images of Moria hotspot were “a painful reminder of the need for Europe to come together”.

Europe came together with the Commission’s proposed New Pact on Migration. Touted as a ‘fresh start’, it is simply the continuation and intensification of containment and deterrence policies with rapid processing and returns at their core. These policies have not worked but have led to unimaginable suffering.

Those trying to sell us this new pact are fully aware of the human consequences of their approach. The pact does not address any of the fundamental issues related to the protection and dignified reception of people seeking safety in Europe. It does not increase safe and legal pathways to Europe. It does not include a clear programme to proactively save people’s lives at sea or concrete measures ─ rather than public announcements – to ensure that places like Moria never exist again.

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Anticipatory reads by GESDA

To the Moon and NOT back! Did you have a look at the full moon on Thursday night? Earth's satellite is getting more attention than ever, with NASA's Artemis programme at full speed (but still waiting for confirmation of its $28bn new budget!), and China revealing its rocket to send its taikonauts there.

Scientists are already trying to figure out how to establish long-lasting settlements, how to get the energy to allow them to survive even in the dark, what science to do there, and even how to use its resources: Japan just outlined plans to power spacecrafts with Moon ice.

But first, they will have to tackle a (known) issue: a new study just showed that astronauts on the Moon would be exposed to roughly 200 times the cosmic radiation levels as people on Earth. One possible solution: live underground! So: many ideas still to dig to determine the most efficient way to achieve that.

-- Olivier Dessibourg, GESDA

Photo article

Purdue University

NASA wants ideas for keeping Moon missions powered in the dark. Such technologies could be key to long-term lunar settlements.

Egngadget (EN)

The american public is ready to accept human-animal chimera research. 59% of respondents to a survey can personally go with the process of injecting human induced stem cells into genetically modified swine embryos.

Stem Cell Reports (EN)

What quantum computers reveal about innovation. Today’s small, limited, and finicky machines may yet have business uses. But Venture capital is often the last guest to arrive at the party.

The Economist (EN)

Growing momentum behind carbon capture can make it a new clean energy success story. Without it, our energy and climate goals will become almost impossible to reach.

Euractiv (EN)

Compact nuclear fusion reactor is ‘very likely to work’. The long-elusive goal of mimicking the way the sun produces energy might be achievable.

New York Times (EN)

The US and UK signed an agreement to jointly advance trustworthy AI. The Americans and their allies fear China is going to surpass them in the field.


New brain-computer interface transforms thoughts to images. University of Helsinki uses AI machine learning to imagine what you’re thinking.

Psychology Today (EN)

Electronic blood vessels could replace damaged arteries. The invention was tested in rabbits.

New Scientist (EN)

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This selection is proposed by the Geneva Science and Diplomacy Anticipator GESDA, working on anticipating cutting-edge science and technological advances to develop innovative and inclusive solutions for the benefit of the planet and its inhabitants.

GESDA and the reason for anticipation

Humanity is facing more than ever global challenges (with regards, e.g., to the COVID-19 crisis), putting people and the planet under stress and in great uncertainty. Simultaneously, the world is experiencing breakthroughs in science and technology at an unprecedented pace, sometimes hard to grasp. Anticipation is therefore key to build the future with the aim to early and fully exploit this scientific potential for the well-being and inclusive development of all. The Geneva Science and Diplomacy Anticipator has been founded in Geneva in 2019 to tackle this issue.

GESDA's ambition is first to anticipate and identify these cutting-edge science and technology advances in various domains (Quantum revolution & advanced AI, Human augmentation, Ecoregeneration and Geoengineering, Science and Diplomacy). Then, based on this panoramic scientific outlook, it will translate those potential sci&tech leaps into tools to develop effective and socially inclusive solutions to emerging challenges. Most importantly, this process will be achieved not only by scientists or technologists, but will include actors of various other professional origins and mindsets (diplomacy, philanthropy, industry, citizens, youth).

GS news is a new media project covering the world of international cooperation and development. Don’t hesitate to forward our newsletter!

Have a good day!

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