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The principal aim of TWAS is to promote scientific capacity and sustainable development in the South through research as well as South–South and North–South collaborations. It was founded in 1983 by a group of Southern scientists, under the leadership of Nobel Laureate Abdus Salam, as an autonomous international organisation. Fellows are citizens of the South; associate fellows are citizens of the North who were born in the South or have made significant contributions to science in the South.
Established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1978 and hosted by the UN Development Programme, the unit’s primary mandate is to promote, coordinate and support South–South cooperation and cooperation with the UN. It focuses on policy dialogue and development, public–private partnership and southern development exchange.