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NAM Meeting on World Conference on Science
Dhaka (Bangladesh), 21 April 1999

Centre for Science and Technology of the Non-aligned and
Other Developing Countries (NAM) Meeting
in association with the Bangladesh Ministry of Science and Technology

Dhaka Communiqué

1. Economic globalisation and science
2. Universal nature of science
3. Science for socio-economic development
4. International cooperation
5. Social context of Science


Recognizing that mankind in general, and the people of the developing economies in particular, are beset with multifarious challenges and barriers in meeting goals of socio-economic development, which in the upcoming millennium are bound to become all the more acute and decisive;

Acknowledging that science, as an instrument of change, is the most important tool for value addition to resources, which in turn is indispensable for growth and prosperity;

Reiterating that scientific and technological knowledge-based interventions will be the most dominant factor in mitigating resource constraints, both physical and financial, to ensure sustainable development and improved quality of life;

Emphasizing that knowledge is the only heritage and common wealth of mankind and, therefore, unhindered access to scientific and technological knowledge should be recognised as an inalienable fundamental human right;

Recalling that the development of an appropriate and adequate R&D base of a developing country is often rendered difficult by various impediments including those encountered in some of the prevailing regulatory regimes, both regional and international, like the Intellectual Property Regime (IPR), despite the best intentions of the concerned stakeholders;

Apprehending that the barriers to unencumbered access to scientific knowledge and technologies, unless removed through concerted interventions and cooperation, are destined to widen the prevailing socio-economic disparities within and among nations;

Concerned that, in spite of assurances from the international community in different fora such as tile United Nations Conference on Science and Technology for Development in 1979 and the resulting Vienna Programme of Action on Science and Technology for Development, the developing countries are yet to experience any impact of significance;

And whereas the ‘World Conference of Science for the Twenty-first Century : a New Commitment", to be held in Budapest, Hungary, from 26 June to I July, 1999, offers an opportunity to identity and assess problems, challenges and opportunities for framing an Action Programme on cooperation among various nations;

Now, therefore, the countries represented at the present Meeting of the Centre for Science and Technology of the Non-aligned and Other Developing Countries have adopted the 'Dhaka Communiqué’, which is a manifestation of the common stand for consideration at the forthcoming World Conference on Science.

The Dhaka Communiqué resolves as follows:

1. Economic globalisation and science    Back to top

  • The end of the era of the Cold War should signal the dawn of prosperity for mankind through peaceful coexistence and urge to share the global resources.

  • The developing countries representing the majority of the world population have only a marginal percentage of the world's research and development capacity. Therefore, the issue of establishing global equity and equality with science and technology (S&T) as the dominant determinant has to be given serious consideration.

  • The success of economic globalisation will largely depend on the enabling measures for improving the S&T base of the developing countries. To this end, national support and international cooperation for capacity-building should be given due impetus.

  • Globalisation without sharing of scientific knowledge may bring in its wake wide-scale socio-economic destabilisation. Therefore, developed countries have a moral and ethical responsibility to help developing ones build their S&T infrastructure, including human resources development.

  • Globalisation will also be successful only if the developing countries have free access to markets of other counties and are not subjected to different barriers in the garb of various standards including labour standards.

2. Universal nature of science    Back to top

  • The developed and developing worlds have a common stake in the future this planet earth, especially as the vast majority of the population live in the developing world and if they are denied access to S&T, then over-dependence on the developed world could create chaos and disharmony. The need for a symmetrical relationship and equal opportunities for nations at the different levels of scientific and technological development is thus overwhelming.

  • The dialogues and the pronouncements made in conferences and other international fora in the past have failed to achieve the targets of equitable development It is, therefore, imperative that a pragmatic and time-bound Action Plan be developed and implemented for bridging the gap between countries.

3. Science for socio-economic development

  • Sincere endeavours should be made to harness the benefits of S&T for improving the living condition of the multitude of impoverished down-trodden populations in the developing countries.

  • Technologies relevant to rational and optimal use of resources for sustainable development should be evolved and made available to all nations, Developing countries lack scientific and technological capabilities for optimising benefits from resources, thereby making it difficult for them to prosper. The related technologies should be made available to facilitate conservation and rational use of global resources.

  • State-of-the-art technologies should be made available to the developing countries to supplement their traditional knowledge. The developing countries should pay due attention to preservation, protection and promotion of indigenous and other forms of knowledge base.

  • Transfer of technology from the developed to the developing world and within the developing world should be augmented and accelerated.

4. International cooperation    Back to top

  • The World Conference on Science should draw up a Programme of Action on Science and Technology with the following broad focal points:

a) strengthening the scientific and technological capacities of the developing countries;

b) strengthening the international scientific and technological cooperation among nations;

c) strengthening the role of the United Nations system in the field of S&T and the provision of increased financial resources; and

d) ensuring an unhindered flow of information, exchange of experience/and expertise on scientific and technological matters.

  • The stated Programme of Action sets forth the requirements for specific action at the national, regional and international levels inter alia on the following:

a) Establishing adequate linkages between national development and S&T. Appropriate national policy should be implemented to facilitate such linkages and to build a matching scientific and technological capacity,

b) Strengthening of international cooperation in facilitating capacity-building in the fields of S&T and in promoting equitable distribution of world production and resources;

c) Adoption of special measures in the field of S&T for disaster-prone areas, island and land-locked countries.

d) Allocation of adequate financial resources for the development of S&T for the developing countries is to be made. The international development financing institutions such as the World Bank, Regional ones such as the Asian Development Bank, the United Nations agencies such as the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and UNESCO should join hands to assist the developing countries to build S&T infrastructure, which will also lead to reversing the brain drain of S&T manpower. Until then the developing countries should be suitably compensated by the receiving countries for their loss.

(e) It is recalled that the Vienna Programme of Action of 1979 envisaged establishment of a fund for S&T which is yet to be materialized. The need for creation of such a Fund has become all the more imperative under the changed circumstances. It is, therefore, proposed that an effective Fund may be created without delay specially for the developing countries through voluntary contribution.

5. Social context of Science    Back to top

  • S&T should be considered as the key to sustainable development of all countries of the world.

  • To redress the prevailing gender inequality, men and women should have equal opportunity in participatory development.

  • There is a felt need for a sustainable production and consumption pattern specially on the part of the developed world so as to reduce negative social and environmental consequences.

  • In all endeavours of development the environmental and ecological balance as well as preservation and conservation of biodiversity must be taken into account Countries responsible for large-scale environmental degradation through excessive emission of carbon and other pollutants should be liable to. pay for the damage caused to the global environment.

The nations adopting the Dhaka Communiqué urge the world community in general, and the World Conference on Science in particular, to take due cognisance of the realities of the developing countries. Our aim for the next millennium is to leave our next generations with a planet earth at least as friendly as it has been to us for so long. We want the future generation to prosper as a global village where all facets of human activities will be linked together by a common determinant, namely, scientific and technological knowledge and the urge to share the resources equitably.

We, therefore, hope that the outcome of the forthcoming World Conference on Science will come up with a pragmatic and time-bound Action Plan and that the United Nations will convene a 'World Millennium Science Summit' to facilitate implementation of the Action Plan.


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