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UN Urged to Give Science Greater Role in Achieving MDGs

The heads of international scientific, engineering and medical organizations have called on the UN General Assembly to strengthen worldwide capacities in science, technology and innovation in order to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), according to a statement issued Tuesday.


In the statement, delivered through the International Council for Science (ICSU) ahead of the UN summit in New York, leaders of many of the largest international scientific unions argue that a concerted effort by the world's scientists, engineers and medical experts is needed to help implement effective programs to significantly reduce global poverty and its related problems.


"Stronger worldwide capacities in science and technology are necessary to allow humanity to achieve the MDGs," said the statement.


"Sustained progress in reducing poverty and related problems will require strengthened institutions for science, technology and innovation throughout the world, including in each developing nation," it stated.


The statement urged world leaders to take, "without delay," a number of actions, which include recognizing science, technology and innovation as the essential components of effective strategies to reduce poverty and its related problems, and encouraging the transfer of scientific capacities between developed and developing countries, and among developing nations themselves.


The statement stressed the importance of sound mechanisms and infrastructure in order to apply scientific and technological knowledge to national problem solving. "Each nation must have a source of independent, credible, and timely advice to government policymakers and the public on critical issues involving science and technology," the statement said.


Support should be given to developing countries to revitalize their universities and create centers of excellence in science, engineering and medicine, it added.


"MDGs can be met if international science is strengthened for the benefit of society. Science and technology are necessary, but not sufficient, prerequisites for achieving the MDGs," said Thomas Rosswall, executive director of the ICSU.


(Xinhua News Agency September 14, 2005)


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