Annan welcomes report calling on nations to develop science and technology strategy

5 February 2004 – A new report launched today at United Nations Headquarters in New York calls on all nations to develop a science and technology strategy to give policymakers ready access to this expertise in order to take effective action against worldwide ills.

The report, "Inventing a Better Future: A Strategy for Building Worldwide Capacities in Science and Technology," was produced by 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.

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan welcomed the study, which he said complemented UN efforts to mobilize the best scientific minds and to put their expert knowledge and advice at the service of the world's peoples as they work to reach the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The Goals are eight time-bound and measurable commitments that range from halving extreme poverty to halting the spread of HIV/AIDS and providing universal primary education - all by 2015.

"Reaching the Goals requires us to tap into human creativity, resourcefulness and innovation to the fullest extent possible," he said in opening remarks at the report's launch. "That is where science and technology come in."

The report proposes new initiatives to strengthen national scientific capabilities worldwide, and to foster opportunities for cooperation among the world's scientific and technological communities. "We must do all we can to translate the report's recommendations into actions," said Mr. Annan.

He also expressed hope that the Council and the wider world scientific community will build further on this foundation, in partnership with the UN and its agencies, other international and regional organizations, and the world's governments.

"That is how the potential of science and technology can be realized in the struggle to improve the human condition," he concluded.

The IAC is headquartered at the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences in Amsterdam. Formed in 2000, 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, the Russian Federation, South Africa, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States, as well as the Third World Academy of Sciences.

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