ASLO joins aquatic societies to call on Argentinian government to reinstate support for scientists

ASLO joins aquatic societies to call on Argentinian government to reinstate support for scientists

From the ASLO Communications Office. Introduction by Nyazia Sajdah-Bey.

The Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography (ASLO) has joined the Freshwater Mollusk Conservation Society (FMCS), the North American Lake Management Society (NALMS), the Society for Freshwater Science (SFS), and the Society of Wetland Scientists (SWS) in urging the Argentinian government to reinstate support for scientific researchers. CONICET, the National Scientific and Technical Research Council, is facing severe budget cuts and closures under new President Javier Milei’s administration. The new restrictions also include indefinite holds on doctoral and postdoctoral fellowships, hirings, and promotions of researchers. These policies threaten Argentina’s legacy of world-class science and technology research and will seriously impact future intellectual development of the country. The letter is posted below.

 

Mr. Chief of the Cabinet of Ministers, Engineer Nicolás Posse
c.c. Mr. President of CONICET, Dr. Daniel Salamone
c.c. Members of the Board of Directors of CONICET

24 March 2024 

Dear Mr. Posse:

This letter is to express the utmost concern of the Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography (ASLO), the Freshwater Mollusk Conservation Society (FMCS), the North American Lake Management Society (NALMS), the Society for Freshwater Science (SFS), and the Society of Wetland Scientists (SWS) over the recent policies put in place by the Argentinian Government in relation to the Argentinian academic, research and technology communities, which include major changes in governance that restrict institutional independence, closures, personnel reduction, and severe budget restrictions that influence the core functioning of many institutions. We are particularly concerned with the situation currently facing CONICET (the Argentinian Research Council), its many world-class research institutes and laboratories, and the thousands of researchers, graduate students and highly trained personnel distributed across the entire country, who are now facing extreme budget cuts and other restrictions that not only limit their functioning but question their very existence. For example, doctoral and postdoctoral fellowship programs have been placed on hold, presumably due to lack of funding; this support is essential to train the next generation of Argentinian scientists, including those who will contribute to the long-term sustainability of Argentina’s inland waters and coasts. Similarly, hirings and career development and promotions of researchers have all been put on an indefinite hold, generating great uncertainty within the community. Non-renewal of contracts for administrators have also impacted the ability of Argentine scientists, laboratories and institutes to operate normally.

We recognize that Argentina faces a very challenging economic situation, one that requires a collective effort from society as a whole, but we believe that weakening and dismantling Argentina’s scientific and technological institutions and structures, disbanding and disqualifying its human talent and resources, and downplaying the value of locally generated knowledge, technology and research do not represent sound and effective short-term responses to the ongoing crisis. The current crisis is neither a reflection nor a consequence of the Argentinian academic, research and technological establishment, which has performed and delivered outstandingly in spite of the many national problems; the crisis will not be solved by undermining or destroying structures, such as CONICET, which actually do work and are essential to the country. 

We hereby affirm our solidarity with the Argentine academic and scientific communities, which are recognized as world-class, which should be recognized as a source of pride for the country and of hope for its future. ASLO, FMCS, NALMS, SFS, SWS call upon the Argentinian government to reconsider its actions in light of their negative long-term consequences not only to the academic and research communities, but to the country’s future intellectual, cultural, environmental, technological and economic sovereignty and development. 

Sincerely, 

Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography (ASLO)
Freshwater Mollusk Conservation Society (FMCS)
North American Lake Management Society (NALMS)
Society for Freshwater Science (SFS)
Society of Wetland Scientists (SWS)

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