Bringing science and development together through news and analysis

  • Science 'central to sustainable development'

Strong support for efforts to place science and technology at the heart of policies to promote sustainable development has come from the secretary-general of the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), Nitin Desai.

Nitin Desai,
secretary-general of the WSSD

Speaking in Johannesburg on Tuesday (27 August), Desai said that in the 21st century, “the greatest danger that we face is the growing gap between those who have access to knowledge and those who do not.”

Avoiding this, he said, requires increased efforts to build linkages between scientific activity in the developed and developing world, and also a major strengthening of scientific and technological capacity in developing countries.

He also stressed the need to strengthen the scientific basis of decision-making at all levels, in particular to use scientific insights to help apply the ‘precautionary principle’ to decisions that might have a significant impact on the social and natural environment.

Desai was speaking at the opening ceremony of the Forum on Science, Technology and Innovation that has been organised by the South African government as a parallel event to the WSSD.

He described how he had personally suggested that such an event should take place during the Summit, on the grounds that unless focused attention was provided to the scientific and technological dimension of sustainable development, “it would get lost in a jungle of discussion of a lot of other things”.

Desai said that it was essential to relate the world of science to the world of policy. “We have recently seen separate international conferences on development and on science”, he said, referring to the World Conference on Science in Budapest in 1999. “I felt that it was important to bring the two together”.

© SciDev.Net 2002

Photo credit: United Nation
We encourage you to republish this article online and in print, it’s free under our creative commons attribution license, but please follow some simple guidelines:
  1. You have to credit our authors.
  2. You have to credit SciDev.Net — where possible include our logo with a link back to the original article.
  3. You can simply run the first few lines of the article and then add: “Read the full article on SciDev.Net” containing a link back to the original article.
  4. If you want to also take images published in this story you will need to confirm with the original source if you're licensed to use them.
  5. The easiest way to get the article on your site is to embed the code below.
For more information view our media page and republishing guidelines.