Final Recommendations by Workshop Participants
We, the participants of the Workshop on "Capacity Building for Academies" held in Trieste on 5?6 March 2003, express our sincere gratitude to the InterAcademy Panel on International Issues (IAP) and the Third World Academy of Sciences (TWAS) for organizing this important workshop and to the National Academy of Sciences (US NAS), the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) Standing Committee on Scientific and Technological Cooperation (COMSTECH), and the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO) for co-sponsoring the event.
Our discussion emphasized:
- that science and technology play a key role in education and in building knowledge-based economies, poverty alleviation, and sustainable development,
- that human resource development in science and technology has therefore become an imperative for all countries,
- that a positive interaction with and contribution from the private sector is critical for building the science and technological capacity of a nation for wealth creation,
- that the countries of the OIC, while presenting a varied picture, in general seriously lag in science and technology investments and in relevant indicators,
- that Academies of Sciences can, and in several countries have for many years, play useful roles in encouraging scientific excellence and providing national service,
- that communication and cooperation, both among OIC countries and between them and other countries of the world, is critical for scientific advancement and for successfully meeting national and global challenges, as well as for encouraging mutual understanding.
We therefore commit ourselves to work toward the following goals:
- The Academies of Sciences in OIC member countries should continue to develop the key factors of: quality of membership; inclusion of the full range of natural, technological, and social sciences; involvement of women; and excellence in the service to their countries and to humanity at large.
- Those OIC member countries that do not have Academies of Sciences are encouraged to establish such Academies in their respective countries when there is a feasible size of the scientific community, and to use regional approaches that can help in other cases.
- The Academies should develop the ability to provide advice to governments, the private sector and other stakeholders, calling on expertise within and outside their membership, so that they can play a pivotal role in contributing to national development plans and in providing inputs to policy development in areas of science and technology critical to innovation and economic growth.
- The Academies should provide critical and constructive contributions to the development of national human resources in primary, secondary, and higher education, and in public understanding of science; in this connection we intend to use a regional conference, now being organized on science education in Alexandria, Egypt, to set out specific future collaborative activities.
- The Academies of Sciences in OIC member countries should establish a network among themselves, with secretariat function to be provided by one of them, in order to be of mutual assistance in their work in these areas, including information sources on opportunities for exchange and cooperation. The IAP and TWAS can play helpful roles in this connection.
- Strong linkages should be maintained with science academies in countries in the North, and in other regions of the world, particularly through the IAP, leading to the exchange of scientists, initiation of programmes in education/ training in various fields of science and technology, promotion of joint research in priority fields, and to increased understanding and tolerance. Participants in this meeting from non-OIC countries will contribute to these cooperative relationships.
Furthermore, we respectfully recommend that the governments of OIC member countries:
- identify areas for which they believe that Academies of Sciences can provide expert input or otherwise be of service to the nations and the publics, and
- create sizeable endowments and/or provide other forms of support to the Academies of Sciences, commensurate with the growing role of science and technology in our global society.