The new president of the Academy of Sciences for the Developing World, also known as TWAS (since it was named Third World Academy of Sciences until 2004), has said his priorities will be to push science in the least developed countries and to engage more women in science.
Jacob Palis, a Brazilian mathematician, was elected on September 4 at the organization’s 10th General Assembly held in Angra dos Reis, Brazil.
Palis, who will be president of the academy for 2007-2009, is a professor at the Brazilian National Institute of Pure and Applied Mathematics and vice-president of the Brazilian Academy of Sciences.
"We need to put science and technology on the agenda of governments and international organizations," he told reporters.
This week also saw the launch of a new consortium to promote scientific capacity building in developing countries through scientific exchange and networking.
The Consortium on Science, Technology and Innovation for the South was launched at a parallel meeting between the ministers of science and technology of the G77 coalition of developing nations and TWNSO, an international association of scientific institutions in the developing world.
The consortium also aims to encourage stakeholders to share innovative experiences in using science and technology to address critical concerns in areas such as healthcare and energy production and distribution.
The meetings brought together about 400 scientists from approximately 50 countries on 2-6 September.
In a message read to participants at TWAS’s opening session, Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva affirmed that South-South cooperation is a "powerful tool in fostering a world more respectful of its diversity and conscious of its fundamental unity".
The director-general of UNESCO, Koïchiro Matsuura, stressed in his speech delivered by his deputy Márcio Barbosa that there is no single policy formula to foster scientific research in all developing countries.
"All countries are different, with different competencies and strategies for success, as well as different cultures of development," he said.
"This means adapting to local constraints. It also means recognizing the great richness of local and indigenous forms, and the important role they play in achieving sustainable development," said Matsuura.