Seventy six scientists in 16 countries have jointly called for a philanthropic foundation to be set up to help prevent future environmental and health crises.
The aim of the foundation would be to forge an alliance between European scientists and philanthropists to enable better preparation for the future.
“Uniting European donor efforts under the aegis of one single foundation will provide the means for large-scale action, commensurate with Europe’s historical status, that will be able to address health and environmental challenges for many years to come,” the scientists say.
In the US, individual donors and foundations established by benefactors account for 1.95% of gross domestic product the call to action states, but typically only 0.65% of GDP in European countries (where data is available).
The new European body would be similar to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and would need an initial endowment of about €20 billion from donors across the twenty-seven EU countries, with an average gift of 200 million euros from 100 donors enough to reach this goal.
The scientists explain:
“Partially expendable, this endowment could be deployed with unrivalled response speed in extreme situations via the simple decision of its Council of Donors: to thereby intervene in the most severely afflicted zones of the European Union or anywhere else in the world, if need be.
“In periods of calm, and upon the recommendation of its independent Scientific Advisory Committee, the Foundation would use the annual revenue from its capital both to fund academic research in fields relevant to health/environment issues and to support strategic projects of socially and technically innovative companies – with the high-stakes intent of forestalling future crises.”
The call to action and list of signatories can be read in full here.