"Capacity-building in basic and applied sciences, engineering and technology is a critical aspect of reducing poverty and establishing sustainable economic and social development in developing countries.....
"According to the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, capacity building 'encompasses a country’s human, scientific, technological, organizational, institutional, and resource capabilities. A fundamental goal of capacity-building is to enhance the ability to evaluate and address the crucial questions related to policy choices and modes of implementation among development options, based on an understanding of environmental potentials and limits and of needs perceived by the people of the country concerned'.
"The issues outlined above are at the heart of the goals of the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development, for which UNESCO will assume the lead role. More broadly, all of the goals outlined in the Millennium Declaration entail capacity-building.
"To that end, a unit has been established in the Natural Sciences Sector to coordinate the Sector’s capacity-building efforts. The unit will sponsor initiatives that contribute to capacity building in developing countries, and that enhance capacity and develop and promulgate educational materials at all levels.
"However, fully meeting these capacity-building needs requires cross-sectoral approaches. For example, the capacity-building unit within the Science Sector should develop closer links with the Communication and Information Sector to best utilize information technologies in developing countries. Educational activities to which the Education Sector could contribute might include: the development of training materials and programmes in science and engineering to train trainers for developing countries; the support of workshops for educators (e.g. on curriculum development, best practices and quality assurance); and the development of appropriate collaborations with industry."
This item has been included in the provisional agenda of the 171st session of the Executive Board at the request of the United States of America. A draft decision supporting the U.S. initiative was produced by the Executive Board and accepted by the Director General.