Academies are typically independent and highly committed institutions that recognize and promote excellence and achievement. By definition, they are merit-based, with members selected from among the leading scientific minds within a country or region. In addition to their honorific roles, academies are vital civil society institutions that have the credibility to inform the public and policy-makers about problems and potential solutions. Their credibility comes not only from the scientific excellence of their members, but also from the fact that they are free of vested political and commercial interests. Indeed, although many academies were established by national governments and tasked with serving their countries by, among other things, bringing scientific perspectives to bear on national and international issues, they were also constituted as independent bodies.
Just as each IAP member academy represents an authoritative voice nationally, the unified voice of academies under the IAP umbrella aims to have great impact at the international level. IAP provides a collective mechanism and voice for academies of science, medicine and engineering to further strengthen their crucial roles as providers of evidence-based policy and advice. IAP also produces evidence-based statements and reports that examine major priorities for sustainable development, and provide independent and authoritative advice to national governments and inter-governmental organizations, including the UN, on critical science-based issues.