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The Basic Sciences in the Service of Societies: Challenges and
Opportunities for Cooperation in Central Asia

Tashkent, Uzbekistan, 21-22 October, 1998

Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Uzbekistan
National Commission of the Republic of Uzbekistan for UNESCO

Conclusion and recommendations

Contents
Goals
Participation
Conference documents
Summary of discussion
The promises of science and perspectives for science in the coming decades
What our young scientists need to know.
Recommendations
Contacts

Goals    Back to top

The goals of the Regional Conference were to:

  • undertake an analysis of the main achievements in science, current problems and the forthcoming challenges in science with attention given to the role of science in the twenty-first century;
  • foster the renewal of regional co-operation within Central Asian countries in the sharing of scientific knowledge in the age of information technologies;
  • give a new impetus to the development of science and its applications in the service of development, environmental and water protection, and in building a culture of peace;
  • engender the renovation of scientific education, particularly within the framework of 'education for all throughout life';
  • further improve the public understanding of science as part of common development;
  • contribute a presentation of regional scientific activities to the forthcoming World Conference on Science to be held in Budapest, Hungary, in 1999.
  • formulate recommendations on future actions and proposals for projects to reinforce the collaboration with UNESCO;
  • explore the possibilities of setting up a regional strategy of co-operation in the field of scientific activities.

Participation    Back to top

The Regional Conference was attended by 25 policy-makers and prominent scholars representing various scientific institutions of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Republic of Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and the Republic of Uzbekistan.

Organization    Back to top

There were five sessions, based on the approved programme of the Conference:

1st session: The priorities for the development of national scientific research potential and the role of the educational system.
2nd session: Science and the rational use of mineral resources of the region
3rd session: The development of human and social sciences
4th session: Sustainable development in the region Linked with the Aral Sea problem
5th session: Joint programmes and centres for the solving of regional scientific and technical problems.

Conference documents    Back to top

All participants from Central Asian countries made presentations on behalf of their national institutions and educational establishments, the scientific community, the industrial sector, which included many important data concerning the situation of science and technology in Central Asian countries. All Conference materials will be published in Russian and English.

Summary of discussion    Back to top

During the Closing Session, the final recommendations were adopted. This final document incorporates the suggested amendments. At the end of the Conference, all participants discussed the above-mentioned items proposed by UNESCO.

Concerning the present situation of science and scientific activities in Central Asian countries, which are undergoing a transitional process from a communist system to democracy and a free market economy, participants described the advantages and difficulties of national policies in the field of science and technology. All participants noted that, for more successful development of science and technology, it is necessary to increase financial assistance not only from governments or non-governmental organizations, but from international organizations as well.

All participants in the Regional Conference noted the great role of science in the process of nation building. Discussions took place on the following items:

1. The promises of science and perspectives for science in the coming decades   Back to top
Demands for science. The frontiers of science. Towards interdisciplinary research and the need for regional co-operation in research. Ethical issues associated with new developments. Scientific research as an essential means of meeting society's needs in food, water, energy, health care, shelter, safety and the alleviation of poverty. Science as a key component of social and economic well-being. Investment in human capital. Science as a basic for modern technologies. Science policies for the future. The internal driving force of science. The case for fundamental research. Improving our knowledge and understanding of nature. What are the fundamental questions for science today? Complexity in nature: new calculation tools and theoretical approaches in mineralogy, meteorology, seismology, evolution... What have we learnt about complex systems, what are the prospects for our description and its limits?
2. What our young scientists need to know   Back to top
How can science education be improved? National and international strategies for capacity building. An institutional framework for science education. Good practices and conduct in scientific research. Ethical principles and values in science. Education of scientists as conscientious and responsible citizens. Promotion of science for peaceful purposes. Ethical challenges of modern scientific developments. Research and development of conventional and alternative energies. Present status and prospects for: fossil fuels, nuclear energy, hydroelectric energy, solar energy.... Patterns of energy production, distribution, consumption. Challenges for scientific research.

These discussions permitted a clear statement to be delivered to societies and their decision-makers on what science has to offer in the years and decades to come.

The participants appreciated very much the efforts made by the Organizing Committee of the Regional Conference, which was devoted to a dialogue between scientists, governments, industrialists and representatives of the general public at the interface between science and society.

The participants also discussed the issue of the establishment of the Regional Board of the Academic Secretaries of all Academies of Sciences of Central Asian countries. In the opinion of participants, the creation of such a Board would allow the best co-ordination of regional scientific activities and scientific projects and a regional strategy for science and technology. This idea was launched for approval by the governments of Central Asian states.

Recommendations                    Back to top

The participants in the Regional Conference 'The Basic Sciences in the Service of Societies: Challenges and Opportunities for Co-operation in Central Asia', which was organized in Tashkent,

  • Expressing their acknowledgment to UNESCO, the Academy of Sciences of Uzbekistan and National Commission of Uzbekistan for UNESCO for their support and assistance in organizing the Regional Conference, which gave an opportunity to discuss important achievements in the field of fundamental sciences in Central Asia;
  • Noting with satisfaction that the development of fundamental sciences is the priority in the policy of Central Asian countries;
  • Recognizing the efforts of the national organizations and institutions, the activity of which is aimed at the establishment and development of joint regional and international contacts;
  • Expressing anxiety at the unsatisfactory level of regional co-operation in the field of the development of fundamental sciences;
  • Welcoming and recognizing the fact that the World Conference on Science for the 21st century, which will be held in Budapest in 1999, will assist in raising understanding of science through the system of education and popularization of science,

Call on UNESCO to:

  • tender moral and financial assistance for the creation of scientific networks and for the development of fundamental sciences in the Central Asian countries as well as for the natural, human and social sciences;
  • assist in involving regional academic centers and projects in the world scientific network;
  • invite regularly the scientists of Central Asia to participate in the conferences, seminars and training courses organized under the patronage of UNESCO in various countries of the world and to involve the scientists of the region in UNESCO's scientific programmes;
  • assist in the development of technical possibilities of the secretariats of the national committees of Central Asian countries for the UNESCO programmes MAB (Man and Biosphere), MOST (Management of Social Transformations), IHP (International Hydrological Programme) and IGCP (International Geological Correlation Programme);
  • attract the scientists of Central Asian countries to the activity of the International Commission on the Ethics of Scientific Acquaintance with Technologies and the International Center on Science and High Technologies;
  • stimulate the establishment of UNESCO Chairs within the institutions of higher education on the actual directions of fundamental sciences and to involve these Chairs in the world network of institutions.

Recommend that the governments of Central Asian countries:

  • strengthen the role of the States in investing in science, supporting new research in the field of fundamental sciences and new technologies;
  • assist in the development of human and social sciences through the establishment of new disciplines on the civil code and moral ethics in educational institutions;
  • reinforce regional co-operation in the field of science, technology and education;
  • promote the re-editing into national languages of Central Asian countries of UNESCO's six-volume edition entitled, History of Civilizations of Central Asia.

Recommend that the International Institute of Central Asian Studies (IICAS):

  • highlight the development of science in Central Asia and new science trends taking place in the world in the publications of IICAS;
  • initiate the new projects and programmes of regional co-operation in the field of natural and social sciences.

Contacts    Back to top
For further information, please contact: unesco@natcom.org.uz


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