Sunday, January 07, 2007

Meeting of UNESCO Science Program Review Panel

The next meeting of the panel reviewing UNESCO's programs in the Natural Sciences and the Social and Human Sciences is to be held from the 9th to the 12th of January at UNESCO headquarters in Paris. This will be the fifth meeting in the series. The Panel is to complete its final report in early February, to be submitted to the Executive Board of UNESCO by mid March.

Editorial Comment: It would be very useful for the Panel to recommend that UNESCO make a major initiative in building science, technology and engineering policy capacity in African governments. Africa has been declared a priority area for UNESCO, and could benefit now from a strengthened effort to utilize science and technology for social and economic development.

The 8th Summit of the African Union is to be held on the topic of Science, Technology and Innovation. It will take place in Addis Ababa from January 22 to 30.

A conference on science, technology and innovation is to be held at the World Bank offices in Washington, DC on February 13-15. (UNESCO is one of the cosponsors. The appendices to the background paper for this conference provide information on science and technology in Africa that illustrates the need for an initiative.)

The Fundamental Role of Science and Technology in International Development: An Imperative for the U.S. Agency for International Development published last year by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences should form a useful basis for U.S. participation in building science and technology capacity in Africa.

The African Science Academies Development Initiative (funded by the Gates Foundation) provides a valuable civil society counterpart for STI policy, and would complement such an initiative on the part of UNESCO as would The African Ministerial Council on Science and Technology established under the auspices of the New Partnership for Africa�s Development (NEPAD) and the African Union (AU).

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