Sunday, January 04, 2009

"Science, Technology, and Global Reengagement"

There is a good article by Gerald Hane in the Fall 2008 issue of Issues of Science and Technology, a journal of the National Academies, with a strong set of recommendations for means by which the Obama administration can improve U.S. international scientific cooperation and the use of science and technology in foreign policy. Hane was Assistant Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy for International Strategy and Affairs in the Clinton Administration.

It is endorsed with synergistic comments by a stellar lineup (Eugene Skolnikoff, Norm Neureiter, Tom Ratchford, and Cathleen Cambell) in the "Forum" of the Spring 2009 issue of the journal.

As any reader of this blog will realize, I strongly support an increase in international science and technology cooperation. The White House and the Agencies of the U.S. Government should lead in creating the policies that will enable such an increase in international S&T cooperation.

Editor's Note: My own experience has been in the applications of science and technology in development assistance. The capacity of USAID to lead in such efforts has been radically reduced, and should be restored by the Obama administration.

The Bush administration has also been largely unwilling to deal appropriately with intergovernmental organizations that provide scientific and technological assistance to poor nations. With leadership from the United States, these agencies can be much more effective instruments of U.S. international S&T policy. While UNESCO is the lead agency in the UN system for natural and social science, the World Health Organization, the Food and Agricultural Organization and other UN agencies and programs also have important scientific programs. JAD

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