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Report on Ministerial Round Tabledoc - UNESCO

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Report on Ministerial Round Tabledoc - UNESCO ...

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    Report on the Ministerial Round Table

The Basic Sciences: The Science Lever for

    Development

    UNESCO Headquarters, 7 place de Fontenoy, Room X

    13-14 October 2005

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    Contents

    1 Introduction

    2 Final Communiqué: Ministerial Round Table The Basic Sciences: The Science Lever

    for Development

Preamble

    General context

    Education in science

    Capacity building

    Cooperation

    Role of UNESCO

    3 Science and humankind: motivations for action (Opening session)

Knowledge divide

    Accelerated advancement of science and its implications Science: international endeavour

    Young generations: future of science

    Brain-drain

    Gender challenge

    Fostering a regional strategy of action

    The case of Africa

    The Arab region

    Capacity building in science and science education A new need in the basic sciences

    Towards a broad outlook in research

    Science and policy-making

    4 The basic sciences: challenges in the 21st Century (Session 1)

Human resource development

    Prioritisation of key areas in science and technology International collaboration

    Public awareness, ethical and social implications Capacity building in science and science education Orientations for UNESCO action

    Key role of innovation: a view from the world‟s largest laboratory in fundamental

    physics

    Discussion points

    5 National and regional priorities for cooperation in the basic sciences (Session 2)

    National priorities of an African country: case of Kenya Regional priorities

    Drawbacks encountered at national and regional level

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    Thrusts and opportunities for regional scientific cooperation

    Role of UNESCO and other international organizations

    General points of discussion

    Networks

    Scientific institutional infrastructures

    Research focus

    Centres of excellence

    Development of national education system

    Brain drain

    Young people

    Review of the “S” in UNESCO

    Financing science

    Science - Industry

6 Building capacity in the basic sciences: relevance to developing countries (Session 3)

    Choices

    Prerequisites and/or line of actions

    National agenda for capacity building in developing countries

    Hurdles encountered

    Innovative actions for human resources development in the basic sciences

    International cooperation to reinforce national capabilities

    Upgrading university science education

    General discussion

7 Science policy and the role of sciences for governmental decision-making (Session 4)

    A view from Asia

    A view from Latin America

    General discussion

8 Conclusions and adoption of a communiqué (Session 5)

Annexes:

Annex 1 List of participants

Annex 2 Programme of the Round Table

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    Report on the Ministerial Round Table on

     The Basic Sciences: The Science Lever for Development

    UNESCO Headquarters, Room X, 7 de place Fontenoy, 13-14 October 2005

1 Introduction

The World Conference on Science (WCS, Budapest, 1999) demonstrated forcibly that, as

    never before, the creative power of contemporary science is needed to address critical

    economic and social needs with respect to ethical values and the planet, that many

    countries are missing adequate capacity in science, and that an unfounded disaffection to

    science is growing and should be overcome. Since then, a number of important proposals

    and initiatives by the scientific community have inspired a new, large-scale, creative

    action in capacity building in science1. By virtue of their responsibilities, the role of governments in this action is particularly important. It is in this context that UNESCO

    convened the Ministerial Round Table on “The Basic Sciences: the Science Lever for

    rdDevelopment”, an event, organized in conjunction with the 33 session of the General

    Conference, that provided a forum for an exchange of views and political debate between

    high-level policy-and decision-makers on the challenges to be taken by the basic sciences

    in their service to society, and on actions to be taken by governments and the scientific

    community to build up an adequate capacity in the basic sciences and their use as a

    science lever for development.

    The Ministerial Round Table addressed these vital issues since adequate national capacity

    in the basic sciences has become a major prerequisite for harnessing science in the

    service of society. Efficient applied research, technology transfer, modern education,

    health care, industry and science-based agriculture call for a sound national basic science

    infrastructure and necessitate a commitment to strengthen basic science capacities

    through national efforts and international cooperation. Notwithstanding this, there exists a

    lack of support for the basic sciences in many countries, including developed ones.

    Moreover, a strategy of investment in favour of applied research, which exclusively seeks

    immediate, short-term returns, has an adverse long-term effect on national basic science

    and, eventually, on national development.

    The round table gathered some 300 participants from 122 countries, among them 50

    ministers having responsibility for science and 75 participants representing a Minister in

    their capacity as State-Secretary, Vice-Minister, Secretary-General for Research and

    Technology, Secretary-General of a National Commission to UNESCO, etc.

1 They originate from the World Science Forum on Knowledge and Society (2003, Budapest), the Report of the

    InterAcademy Council Inventing a Better Future: A Strategy for Building Worldwide Capacities in Science and

    Technology (2004); the Report of the Academy of Sciences for the Developing World (TWAS) Building Scientific

    Capacity: TWAS Perspective (2004); and Recommendations by the WCS Follow up Symposium Harnessing Science

    for Society: Further Partnerships (Venice, 2005).

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    Academician Zh.I. Alferov, Nobel Laureate in Physics and Science Director of the Ioffe Physico-Technical Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, and Dr J.H. Marburger, Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy of the Executive Office of the President of the USA, took part in the Round Table as special guests of the Director-General. The Holy See, the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the International Council for Science (ICSU), the Abdus-Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP), the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the Academy of Sciences for the Developing World (TWAS) were also represented at the Round. The list of participants in the Round Table is given in Annex 1.

Deliberations at the Round Table focused on four major issues, namely:

    ? The basic sciences: challenges in the twenty-first century

    ? National and regional priorities for cooperation in the basic sciences ? Building capacity in the basic sciences: relevance to developing countries ? Science policy and the role of the basic sciences for governmental decision-

    making

    These issues were addressed in keynote presentations and extensive brainstorming discussions at the four plenary sessions of the Round Table. The Programme of the Round Table is given in Annex 2.

    The participants of the Round Table reached consensus on a wide range of conclusions concerning the general mission of the basic sciences, education in science, capacity building, cooperation to be developed, and the role of UNESCO. They formulated their common position in the Final Communiqué of the Ministerial Round Table: The Basic

    Sciences: the Science Lever for Development