Recognition of science as a major tool for development
is manifested better when it is built in as an instrument in the blueprint of a nation for
its economic progress. Gratifyingly, some countries of the South have already adopted
national science and technology policy resolutions in their economic plans, a move that
provides long-term perspective, a commendable step worthy of emulation. In adopting such a
policy, the role of the private sector in supporting and fueling S & T efforts is
integral, and should be actively sought. Experiences of the developed nations exemplify
this aspect. This takes the form of not serving the end-product supply alone, but in the
steps leading to the creation of the products as well. That involves close relations
between private industry on the one hand and universities and research institutes on the
other. Much progress in the sectors of biotechnology, information and communications
technology has resulted because of private sector support to science and technology.
The South, it is important to realize, is not a single block but a rainbow of nations with
gradation of tradition, experiences, expertise, achievements and excellence. Sharing of
individual country experiences is vital in the effort of linking S & T policies to
national plans for development and enhancement of the quality of life. Importantly, such
sharing experiences help address the grassroots problems of the South, help them rid the
isolation of scientists and bring dignity and status to the scientific profession.
The World Conference on Science (WCS), attended by scientists, policy planners,
economists, social scientists, legislators and heads of governments, international agency
representatives and media people affords as opportunity for such exchange and, as the
ancient Indian sage said, would "let noble thoughts come from all sides".