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The Group of 77 should set up a trust fund to help promote scientific knowledge and technology in the developing world, according to delegates meeting this week in Dubai at the G-77's first ever conference to formulate a South-South strategy for science and technology.

Representatives of the G-77 — the main developing-country coalition in the United Nations — also recommended that a network is created to link Southern research and development institutions, and that a G-77 award is set up to honour outstanding scientists from developing countries.

The declaration adopted at the close of the conference yesterday (30 October) emphasises the gulf in scientific capacity between the developed and developing world. It urges G-77 governments to increase funding for education, science and technology to redress this balance.

"In particular, we call on our governments to make a commitment to raise the level of funding on science and technology research and development to at least 2.5 per cent of the Gross National Product (GNP) by the year 2010," it says. Developing countries currently invest only 0.6 per cent of GNP in scientific research and development, compared to 2.3 per cent invested by industrialised countries.

The international community should also provide new and additional resources for science and technology in the South, the declaration states. It underlines the need for greater recognition of the difficult conditions faced by developing countries, including a lack of resources, infrastructure and institutions.

The conference also called for the creation of a consortium of knowledge and technology, comprising representatives from governments, the private sector and other relevant organisations, aimed at promoting joint ventures in the South.

The four-day G-77 South-South High Level Conference on Science and Technology brought together some 70 delegations and more than 150 scientists and researchers. Milos Alcalay, chairman of the G-77 in New York and permanent representative of Venezuela to the United Nations, described the conference as a "turning point in the strengthening of South-South cooperation in science and technology".

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See also:

G-77 South-South High Level Conference on Science and Technology
Dubai Declaration for the Promotion of Science and Technology in the South
Dubai Declaration of Scientists of the Developing World on Science and Technology for Peace and Development
Group of 77

Photo credit: Group of 77