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East Africa Famine Highlights Need For Better Science Communications

The drought in the Horn of Africa “emphasizes the gap between our rapidly increasing ability to predict disasters, thanks largely to advances in science and technology, and our capacity to generate the political will to carry out effective mitigation strategies,” according to a SciDev.Net opinion piece by editor David Dickson.

He writes that additional research is “needed into the most effective ways of linking warning signals to recommendations for action. Policymakers frequently turn to scientists to ask for guidance when faced with uncertain evidence, and the scientific community has a responsibility to explore and lay out the options – and their implications – even if the final decision must rest in the hands of politicians.” Dickson writes that “[j]ournalists are also in a good position to monitor whether politicians are taking action, and to expose those who fail to do so” (7/22).