Press Release
Note No. 5843

Note to Correspondents



All nations – industrialized or developing – face an array of challenges that require the application of up-to-date scientific knowledge and technology to address them.  Policymakers at the local, national, regional and international levels need ready access to a solid scientific and technological capacity in order to be able to make informed decisions and take effective action.

These are among the findings of the first report of the InterAcademy Council (IAC) –- a new organization created by 90 of the world’s science academies to provide expert knowledge to international bodies, such as the United Nations and the World Bank.  It recommends that every nation develop a science and technology strategy, in consultation with its science, engineering, medical and industrial communities –- one that reflects local priorities and spells out adequate sources of funding.

The report, entitled “Inventing a Better Future:  A Strategy for Building Worldwide Capacities in Science and Technology”, is to be launched at an event at United Nations Headquarters on Thursday, 5 February, at 3 p.m., in Conference Room 1.

Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who has welcomed the establishment of the InterAcademy Council, will preside over the launch of this first report.

The report was drafted by an IAC study panel that included researchers from 11 countries.  Its co-chairs, Dr. Jacob Palis, Professor, Instituto Nacional de Matemática Pura e Aplicada (IMPA), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and Dr. Ismail Serageldin, Director, Bibliotheca Alexandrina, Alexandria, Egypt, will take part in the launch.

Dr. Mamphela Ramphele, Managing Director at the World Bank and a member of the study panel, will speak on the report’s implementation, and the way forward.  IAC co-chairs Dr. Bruce Alberts and Dr. Goverdhan Mehta will formally present a copy of the report to the Secretary-General.

Mark Malloch Brown, Administrator, United Nations Development Programme, will moderate the meeting and a question-and-answer session.

Preceding the official launch, the IAC delegation will brief journalists on the background to and content of the report, starting at 2 p.m., also in Conference Room 1.

The InterAcademy Council, headquartered at the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences in Amsterdam, was formed in 2000 by leaders of national science academies to mobilize the world’s best scientists to provide expert knowledge to international bodies. Its governing board is composed of the presidents of 15 national academies of science and equivalent organizations -– representing Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Israel, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, Sweden, United Kingdom, and the United States, plus the Third World Academy of Sciences. 

The IAC is a non-governmental organization, which works on a project-by-project basis and is funded by multiple sponsors, including private foundations and international bodies.  IAC panels prepare draft studies that are then subjected to intensive international peer review before they are released.  Every effort is made to ensure that IAC reports are free of national or regional bias.  Future IAC reports will focus on such topics as agricultural productivity in Africa, global transitions to sustainable energy systems, and the role of science in World Heritage natural sites.  

For more information on the report and the IAC, please contact:  John P. Campbell, Associate Director, InterAcademy Council, at (+31-20) 5510766 (Amsterdam) or (202) 334-2806 (Washington, D.C.), email:  j.campbell@iac.knaw.nl; William J. Skane, Executive Director, or Vanee Vines, Media Relations Officer, US National Academy of Sciences, Washington, D.C., at (202) 334-2138, email:  wskane@nas.edu or news@nas.edu.  For UN media accreditation information:  Abdellatif Kabbaj, Chief of the Media Accreditation and Liaison Unit, at (212) 963-6934/6937, fax:  (212) 963-4642, email:  kabbaja@un.org; or visit the MALU Web site at www.un.org/media/accreditation.

* *** *