Society: a New Social Contract
Bangalore, India, 27-29 January 1999
Communiqué on Science and Society
Science with a human face
Science as a knowledge system
Equity in science
Access to science
Science and empowerment
Cooperation in science
Science in the next millennium
The delegates to the International Symposium Science
and Society: a New Social Contract, organized
by the National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bangalore, India, under the auspices of the
United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the
Departments of Science and Technology, and Education, Government of India,
Having met in Bangalore from 27 to 29 January 1999 with the aim of
assessing the potential role of science and technology (S&T) in improving the quality
of human life everywhere in the world, and particularly in the developing countries, in
the coming millennium, and
- that food, security, shelter, access to quality health care and to education
andknowledge skills are the cornerstones of development,
- that the developing countries possess an untapped wealth of human resources,
- that the empowerment of women and the protection of the young hold the key to population
stabilization, healthy families and collective prosperity,
- that the majority of people everywhere express themselves effectively and creatively in
their own culture, ethos, and language,
- that prevailing concepts of community and sharing among many indigenous cultures are in
conflict with the present regime of monetized intellectual property rights,
- that the nurturing of open societies and the elimination of existing gross inequalities
in wealth, power and status are essential for the long-term stability of human
- that the ability to assimilate any new technology is not uniform across, and even
- that developing countries are caught in a cycle of poverty and dependence which they can
break through radical social and economic transformation, strong political will and the
appropriate use of S&T,
Proclaim the principles that follow and adopt the present
Science with a human face
Science in the coming millennium should be
recognized as a multidisciplinary enterprise and interpreted to subsume the natural
sciences, social sciences and technological sciences including engineering and medicine.
All the nations of the world are urged to unite in
a common vision of our collective future and commit themselves to the use of knowledge
derived from the natural, social and technological sciences to address basic human needs,
improve the quality of life for all the citizens of the world and generate a healthy
environment for present and future generations.
All national governments and parliaments should
fund and promote scientific research to the best of their economic abilities and use the
knowledge gained from such endeavours to address important global problems, including
those of social and economic inequalities, poverty, social injustice, inadequate health
care and education and environmental degradation.
Fragmentation of traditional societies under the
influence of certain existing techno-economic regimes has to be checked and technologies
with a human face developed where life values are as much respected as are functional
Appropriate technology drawn from modern
scientific advancement and indigenous and civilization knowledge systems must be
incorporated into micro-planning programmes for alleviation of poverty by governments at
the national level and international cooperation promoted to enable developing nations to
develop and utilize such technology to enhance the quality of life.
There is an urgent necessity for careful social
impact studies during implementation of development projects, which would facilitate the
aiding of displaced populations to avoid downward mobility and degradation in the quality
Science as a
It must be recognized that indigenous and
civilizational knowledge systems that evolved in different civilizations led to
distinctive world views and affected the emergence of diverse systems of social structure
Modern forms of knowledge must not be allowed to
marginalize the more indigenous knowledge systems and dialogue between these systems
should be promoted in order to arrive at the most appropriate pathways to sustainable
development, thus opening up new relationships between people, science and society.
Modern applied scientific research should take
account of indigenous and civilizational knowledge systems to enhance our understanding of
social problems and to effectively draw upon such knowledge systems to promote the social
and economic welfare of the local populations and for better management of the natural
resources of the area.
There is a clear need for systematic and in-depth
analysis of the parallelism of insights between indigenous and civilizational knowledge
systems, on the one hand, and certain areas of modern science concerned with fundamental
aspects, on the other.
In the face of increasing social transformations
and globalization, modern scientific methodologies have to be harnessed to exploring
existing indigenous and civilizational knowledge systems to ensure the survival protection
and prorogation of the cultural heritage and diversity of all indigenous peoples across
Equity in science
Inequalities and inequities having been created
among nations and within nations as a result of exploitative forces in cultures, the
international society at large is called upon to participate in the creation of a more
equitable, prosperous and sustainable world.
Developing nations should harness available
scientific knowledge and technical skills to meet the challenge of sustainable development
whereby the economic and social needs of all peoples are met without compromising on the
maintenance of a healthy environment and the conservation of vital natural resources.
Developed nations, which account for the bulk of
global consumption of the earth's natural resources and the damage caused to the
environment by human activities are called upon to recognize and practice sustainable
consumption of such resources.
Global economic institutions must provide
incentives for widespread diffusion of institutions which have demonstrated capabilities
for sustainable development in different agro-economic regions with artisan-based industry
and culture-backed services linked with larger markets.
Concerns for intellectual property rights should
not be allowed to exploit the various forms of indigenous and civililzational knowledge so
faithfully preserved by indigenous populations over millennia, care being taken to ensure
that benefits derived from such biological and intellectual resources are not
A firm commitment should be made to the principle
of equity in sharing benefits from existing indigenous knowledge and the biodiversity
conservation ethics of rural and tribal communities with active support being given to
initiatives like that of the World Intellectual Property Organization in developing and
rewarding indigenous knowledge and traditional technologies.
Access to science
Access to scientific knowledge and technical
skills is a fundamental right of every citizen of the world as is the right to education.
The problems of privatization and monopolization
of science and that of proprietary knowledge should not lead to the denial of benefits of
technological innovations in the areas of food and health security to the economically and
socially under-privileged sections of society everywhere.
There is a need to ensure that concerns for
intellectual property rights do not end up as a mechanism for building newer forms of
Information empowerment for people has to be
effectively realized through the development of accessible data bases which inform people
about their rights and entitlements, and other such programmes that are need-based rather
than globalized, demand-driven rather than supply-driven, and local-specific rather than
Dissemination of appropriate information must be
carried out and a new social form established to enable proper public participation and
debate in ethics and policy decision-making processes.
Scientific knowledge derived from the natural and
social sciences has to be applied to reduce gender imbalances, particularly for working
women where time spent in work has to be reduced but the value added to such labour
Opportunities for women in the areas of primary
and higher education, health care and health education, as well as vocational training
need to be developed and strengthened.
Scientific capacity should be built up
particularly in the developing countries, through training programmes, cooperative
networks and other interaction between universities, government-funded research
institutions and industry which involve natural and social scientists as well as
Communication, cooperation and information
linkages have to be built up between the scientific community, on the one hand, and
decision-makers from the productive sectors, on the other, so that better-focussed applied
research programmes can be executed and results obtained from such programmes incorporated
more successfully into policy-making.
Funding and support for scientific research at the
national level needs to strike an effective balance between the public and private sectors
so that there is absolutely no compromise on social welfare programmes and other forms of
International cooperation in fields such as
information technology, particularly among developing countries, must be promoted so that
technologies and research experiences can be shared.
Formal and non-formal education programmes
directed toward promoting basic education in general and scientific literacy in particular
need to be developed and executed at all levels and for people of all ages.
Attempts should be made to introduce and
internalize the methods of science and scientific culture within the school system.
Social perceptions of science have to be
recognized, comprehended and documented, while scientific culture is spread with the
There is an urgent need to reorient the education
system in most developing countries to provide scientific knowledge relevant to the
cultural ethos of the particular society.
Programmes should be initiated and public policies
declared, with the full support of international agencies, to allow the contextualisation
of formal educational systems within different social frameworks.
Public awareness about the nature and applications
of scientific research, particularly for public good, has to be promoted through
cooperative activities directed toward major groups such as youth, indigenous populations,
the media, as well as appropriate governmental and non-governmental organizations.
Science in the next millennium
Our future lies in eco-technologies, involving
appropriate blends of traditional wisdom and modern science, which should be able to
overcome some serious deficiencies in contemporary developmental pathways such as the
richpoor divide, gender inequity, unemployment and environmental damage.
Biosphere reserves need to be set up in different
climatic zones and ecosystems of the world where modern scientific knowledge and
traditional knowledge derived from the indigenous peoples inhabiting these areas can be
integrated and harnessed to conserve biological diversity and better manage natural
Agricultural research has to be promoted at
various levels and proper distribution systems applied successfully to ensure basic food
security for every citizen of the world.
Meteorological and hydrological research should be
actively supported to understand the relationship between climatic changes, variability in
weather conditions and their hydrological components in order to develop better management
strategies for granddaughter resources, for overall sustainable water management in
tropical, arid and semi-arid regions and thus to substantially enhance the availability of
clean water to the rural population, particularly women, in developing countries.
Socially appropriate, economically viable and
environmentally sound construction materials should be developed and used for housing of
homeless people across the world.
Basic and applied scientific research on renewable
resources has to be promoted to provide clean energy and thus improve the socioeconomic
conditions of millions of rural people, particularly women, in developing countries.
Global research must be initiated to assess and
protect the health of the world's oceans, marine life and coastal environments, and
develop ecologically conscious national programmes to harvest marine resources on a
The power to manipulate the very blueprints of
life, provided by the modern advances in recombinant DNA technology, must be used with
caution and with a strong sense of ethics and equity.
The delegates to the
INTERNATIONAL SYMPOSIUM ON SCIENCE IN SOCIETY:
A NEW SOCIAL CONTRACT
Considering the Bangalore
Communiqué which was adopted on 29 January 1999, and
Recognizing that UNESCO has the duty of mobilizing and uniting various forms of
Suggest a plan of action for inclusion in the Science Agenda:
Framework for Action to be adopted at the World Conference on Science, Budapest, June
1999, whereby the Member States of UNESCO are called upon to:
Establish an international initiative for the conservation and
promotion of indigenous and civilizational knowledge systems to enable the Member States
to recognize, protect and promote such knowledge systems,
Design a series of projects that would recognize the range of
influence and economic value of technologies either residing in indigenous and
civilizational knowledge systems or emerging from grass-root innovations and study how
best to protect and reward such intellectual property leading to a revised international
convention on protection of intellectual property rights with special emphasis on
indigenous and civilizational knowledge systems,
Recognize the many philosophical and ethical frameworks in the
civilizations of the world other than those in the West and develop a truly
all-encompassing discourse on ethics in science which would necessarily incorporate these
frameworks and thus in the process,
Draw up an international code of ethics for S&T wherein a range
of issues including the regulation of knowledge monopolies will be addressed,
Prepare an international convention that would recognize the major
socioeconomic problems faced by developing nations which lose trained scientists and
technicians to the more developed countries and design strategies to compensate for the
loss of economic investment in human resources involved in S&T,
Support an international initiative in the exploration of emerging
foci of scientific research in areas other than Europe and North America, and examine the
role of the cultural milieus of these regions in the shaping of the sciences in the coming
Sponsor a programme on promotion of scientific culture accessible to
Take suitable initiatives to consciously promote such projects that
contribute positively to the integration of the natural and social sciences,
Support training programmes for natural and social scientists and for
technologists on legal and policy issues and regulations guiding international research
and development in areas such as information and communication technologies, biodiversity
conservation and biotechnology, and
Launch an international initiative to extend the scope of UNESCO's Declaration
on the Human Genome to include plant genomes so that exclusivity in the control of
life processes can be avoided,
Draw up a scheme for promotion of international cooperation to help
the developing nations develop and utilize appropriate technology for poverty alleviation,
Prepare an international convention on sustainable consumption which
would lay down guidelines to regulate the utilization of the fast-eroding natural
resources on our planet.