The following is the opening of David Dickson's article, based on a keynote speech made at the Science, Technology and Innovation Global Forum last week. UNESCO with other donors was a co-sponsor of the meeting organized primarily by World Bank staff.
The president of the World Bank has urged developing countries to recognise the importance of science and technology in reducing poverty.
Speaking at a meeting in Washington on Thursday (15 February), Paul Wolfowitz recognised that developing countries faced major resource constraints in their public spending and that, to some, science might appear a lower priority than meeting basic educational or health needs.
But he said, "The amount of resources that poor countries devote to science can't be zero. That would condemn poor countries to backwardness".
The meeting of more than 300 ministers, science officials, private sector representatives and nongovernmental organisations addressed the role of science, technology and innovation in reducing poverty and achieving sustainable growth.