2002 IAC Annual Report

  • AuthorIAC Executive Director
  • Release Date1 January 2003
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Preliminary observation

In 2002 the IAC entered a new phase in its development: from 26-28 January the panel for the study on "Promoting Worldwide Science and Technology Capacities" met for the first time and this signified the IAC making the transition from planning and preparation to action and implementation. In fact, this transition was not limited to the "S&T study"  - the same was true for a second IAC study, requested by the Secretary General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, on the contribution of science and technology to improving agricultural productivity in Africa: in 2002 that study too moved from preparation to implementation. Until 2002 the IAC was in essence an idea and a plan in the minds of a select group of individuals - in 2002 the IAC came to life, taking its first - tentative, but real - steps towards advising decision-makers on the science and technology aspects of global issues and concerns.

Program of work

1.  Promoting Worldwide Science and Technology Capacities
The first meeting of the study panel** on "Promoting Worldwide Science and Technology Capacities" took place from 26-28 January 2002 in Amsterdam, just before the meeting of the IAC Board from 28-30 January 2002, also in Amsterdam. On 29 January 2002 the Board heard a report on the outcome of the panel meeting and it reviewed the work plan; for further information please consult the Minutes of the 2002 IAC Board meeting.

A small "Workshop on science and technology education" took place in London from 25-26 March 2002 and a regional "Workshop on human resource management in Asian developing countries" was held in Beijing from 4-6 April 2002. The second meeting of the study panel took place immediately after the London workshop from 13-14 May in Paris. That meeting was co-hosted by the Académie Française.  Drafts were discussed and the work plan revised.

After the summer the study panel met again from 15-16 September 2002 in Washington, DC, to review various drafts prepared by the Co-Chairs, panel members and the Study Director. It was agreed to develop a single integrated text and to discuss this at a fourth meeting to be held from 18-20 November 2002 at the Bibliotheca Alexandria, Alexandria, Egypt. At that symbolically most significant venue the study panel reached general consensus on the conclusions and recommendations of the report. It also agreed to finalize a full draft before the end of December 2002.

A final meeting of the study panel is scheduled from 19-20 January 2003, again just ahead of the IAC Board. Purpose of the meeting is to agree on the final text of the report and to develop a strategy for follow-up activities.

Meanwhile, on 16 December 2002 the IAC Co-Chairs initiated the review procedure as specified in the IAC Rules of Procedure by inviting all Board members to nominate candidates for a 6 to 10 person Review Committee. Planning is to complete the review process in February 2003 and to release the report for publication in April 2003.

2.  Improving Agricultural Productivity in Africa
At its January 2002 annual meeting the IAC Board discussed an initial proposal to undertake a study on agricultural productivity and food security in Africa and it decided that a full proposal for such a study be developed. Subsequently, by letter of 7 March 2002 the Secretary General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, requested the IAC to present to him, within a year, a "strategic plan for harnessing the best science and technology to produce a substantial increase in agricultural productivity in Africa".

In view of the deadline likely to be set by Kofi Annan, the IAC Co-Chairs proposed on 19 February 2002 to the IAC Board and the Co-Chairs of the InterAcademy Panel on International Issues to waive, for this particular study, the requirement that IAP members academies be consulted to nominate candidates for membership of a study panel. After approval of this proposal the IAC Co-Chairs proposed on 28 March 2002 to the IAC Board the appointment of a small core group to assist in finalizing the scope and the planning of the study. On 16 April 2002 the Board appointed: Ms Speciosa Wandira Kazibwe, Uganda, Co-Chair; Rudy Rabbinge, the Netherlands, Co-Chair; M.S. Swaminathan, India, Co-Chair; Ms Bongiwe Njobe-Mbuli, South Africa, member; and Per Pinstrup-Andersen, USA/Denmark, member. This core group met for the first time from 19-20 May in London. At that meeting a draft text of the study's prospectus was reviewed and a work plan developed. The core group met again from 28-29 August at Pretoria, (most of) its members participating in the World Summit on Sustainable Development at Johannesburg.

The prospectus for the study on Agricultural Productivity in Africa was approved by the IAC Earlier, on 8 May 2002, the IAC Co-Chairs had already requested the IAP Co-Chairs to formally launch the study with IAP member academies, also inviting these academies to nominate candidates for the remaining positions on the study panel. By the end of June 2002 the IAC Secretariat had received approximately 45 nominations. A 29 July 2002 proposal of the IAC Co-Chairs led on 15 August 2002 to the decision of the IAC Board to appoint the following persons to the panel in addition to the members of the core group: Mohamed Besri, Morocco; Ms Maria Manuela Chaves, Portugal; Avílio Antonio Franco, Brazil; Ryuichi Ishii, Japan; Jikun Huang, China; Peter Matlon, USA; Harris Mule, Kenya; Ahmadou Lamine Ndiaye, Senegal; José Sarukhan, Mexico; and Ms Jennifer Thomson, South Africa.

The study panel held its first meeting from 25-28 September 2002 at Entebbe, Uganda, with Ms Speciosa Kazibwe acting as host. Using the preparatory work of the core group, the full panel revised and finalized a document on the scope and organization of the study. A particular feature of the work plan is that four regional workshops will be held in cooperation with African regional agricultural research organizations for the purpose of mobilizing and maximizing input from African scientists en policy makers. In May 2003 draft conclusions and recommendations will also be placed before a pan-African meeting of agricultural scientists and policy-makers. Active interaction and cooperation is also sought with the New Partnership for Africa's Development, with related initiatives of the World Bank and with the evaluation of the Millennium Goals.

Dr. Jim Ryan, former Director General of ICRISAT in Hyderabad, India, has been appointed Study Director. Planning is to complete the study before just before or just after the summer of 2003. This is later than the deadline set by Kofi Annan, but it is now possible to seek the broadest possible input from Africans. As is noted in the Financial Report for 2002 of the IAC Executive Director, some of the delay is also due to the uncertainties that still exist in relation to funding.

3.  Study in the field of energy
At the January 2002 annual meeting the IAC Board identified issues relating to (sustainable) energy as a possible area for a third IAC study. The Board instructed the IAC Co-Chairs and Secretariat to develop a full proposal on such a study for its next meeting in 2003. Dilip Ahuja, IAC Associate Director and professor at the National Institute for Advanced Studies in Bangalore, India, prepared a first draft for such a proposal. This proposal was then sent to IAC Board members and selected experts for comment.  Board members were also asked to indicate whether their academy was in a position to contribute to the process of further developing the proposal.

Having expressed a particular interest in this topic already at the 2002 annual meeting of the Board, the Chinese Academy of Sciences indicated its willingness to co-host a small workshop involving a number of Chinese and non-Chinese experts. Also, Prof. Yan Lugang, expert in the field of electrical engineering, was appointed by the Chinese Academy to act as contact person in the process of developing a proposal on an IAC energy study.

The Workshop was held from 21-22 November at Beijing and it was attended by: Dilip Ahuja, India; Eric Ash, United Kingdom; John Boright, United States; Cai Ruixian, China; Li Jinghai, China; Nebosja Nakicenovic, Austria; Yan Lugang, China; and Albert Koers, IAC. The discussions at the meeting resulted in a proposal that will be placed before the IAC Board at its January 2003 annual meeting.

4. Symposia UN ambassadors
Following the success of a first symposium in October 2001 the IAC was again requested to organize two symposia for UN ambassadors: the first on the issue of "Genetically Modified Crops for Developing Nations," the second on "The Interface between Energy and Climate Change."  The GMO symposium took place on 6 November 2002; speakers were Ms Daphne Preuss, Professor of Molecular Genetics and Cell Biology, University of Chicago; and Ms Jennifer Thomson, Professor of Microbiology, Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of Cape Town, South Africa. The energy symposium took place on 3 December 2002; speakers were R. K. Pachauri, Chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and Director-General of the Tata Energy Research Institute (TERI), and Nebojsa Nakicenovic, Leader of Transitions to New Technologies Project, International Institute for Advanced Systems Analysis (IIASA) in Austria; and Convening Lead Author of the Special Report on Emissions Scenarios, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Both symposia were chaired by UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan.  Additional symposia are being planned for 2003.

Organizational issues

5. Relations with IAP
The IAC participated in the meetings of the Executive Committee of the IAP (3-4 May 2002 and 18-19 November 2002). At both meetings the Committee received, and took note, of a summary report of the IAC Executive Director on recent developments within the IAC. It was noted that - as was the case with the panel for the study on "Promoting Worldwide Science and Technology Capacities" - IAP member academies nominated highly qualified individuals for the panel for the study on African Agricultural Productivity. Accordingly, the panel as appointed by the IAC Board consists largely of persons nominated by IAP academies. Exploratory discussions took place on the role of the IAP and IAP member academies in relation to follow-up activities for IAC reports.

6.  Membership IAC Board
In 2002 there were some changes in membership of the IAC Board as a result of changes in the Presidencies of the IAC member organizations: Jose Antonio de la Peña succeeded René Raúl Drucker Colin as President of the Mexican Academy of Sciences; Pim Levelt replaced Rob Reneman as President of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences; and Jane Lubchenko succeeded Hiroyuki Yoshikawa as President of the International Council for Science ICSU.  Accordingly, at the end of 2002 the Board is composed as follows: Co-Chairmen: Bruce Alberts, President National Academy of Sciences, USA; Goverdhan Mehta, former President Indian National Science Academy; Members: Janne Carlsson, President Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences; Hubert Curien, President Académie des Sciences, France; Jose Antonio de la Peña, President Mexican Academy of Sciences; George Ellis, Member of Council Academy of Sciences of South Africa; Eduardo Moacyr Krieger, President Brazilian Academy of Sciences; Kiyoshi Kurokawa, Vice-President Science Council of Japan; Lee Yee Cheong, Vice-President Academy of Sciences of Malaysia; Lu Yongxiang, President Chinese Academy of Sciences; Lord May of Oxford, President The Royal Society of London; Yuri S. Osipov, President Russian Academy of Sciences; C.N.R. Rao, President Third World Academy of Sciences; Ernst-Ludwig Winnacker, President Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft; Jacob Ziv, President Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities; and Observers: Yves Quéré, Co-Chairman InterAcademy Panel on International Issues; Pim Levelt, President Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences; and Jane Lubchenko, President International  Council for Science ICSU.

7.  Voluntary contributions
In its 2001 and 2002 annual meeting the IAC Board expressed the view that it is appropriate if the IAC were to request member academies to contribute financially to the IAC on a voluntary basis. The Board also indicated that such voluntary contributions should not be used to cover cost overruns in study projects, but rather to cover the costs of initiating studies for which there is not yet external funding available.  

So far the following voluntary contributions have been pledged.

-  Brazilian Acdemy: $ 5.000 incidentally
-  Chinese Academy: $ 5.000 incidentally.
-  Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft: $ 20.000 annually.
-  Indian National Science Academy: $ 5.000 incidentally.
-  Israel Academy: $ 5.000 incidentally.
-  National Academy of Sciences, USA: $ 50.000 annually.

As host academy the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences contributed in 2002 about $ 65.000 to the IAC.

8.  Institution building
As follow-up to a decision of the IAC Board at its 2002 annual meeting, a proposal has been developed on a mechanism for short-term advisory projects. This proposal will be placed before the Board at its January 2003 annual meeting. The mechanism is intended to enable the IAC to respond to a request from a third party for advise on a particularly urgent issue.

At the 2003 annual meeting the Board will also receive a proposal for an IAC Financial Protocol. An important element of this Protocol is that the Board appoints, from among its members, a Financial Committee to oversee the management of the IAC's financial resources. In November 2002 three Board members, Janne Carlsson, Dato Lee Yee Cheong and Jacob Ziv, agreed to serve as ad hoc members of this Committee so that the new procedures could already be applied ahead of the 2003 annual meeting of the Board. At that meeting the Financial Protocol and Financial Committee need to be formalized.

Finally, throughout the year the IAC Co-Chairs and staff have continuously monitored the functioning of the IAC's Bylaws, Rules of Procedures and practices with a view of identifying possible improvements. This has resulted in a proposal to the January 2003 Board meeting to carry out a more systematic evaluation of the experience gained so far.

9. Staff IAC Secretariat
In 2002 there were no changes in the composition of the IAC Secretariat. It presently consists of: Albert Koers, Executive Director; Dilip Ahuja, Associate Director; John Campbell, Associate Director; and Margreet Haverkamp, Office Manager. The IAC Secretariat continues to be hosted by the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences at Amsterdam. The role of "host academy" took a new turn when in December 2002 the Royal Netherlands Academy agreed to pre-finance the IAC study on African Agricultural Productivity until sufficient external funding could be mobilised. That - generous - decision has been essential in keeping the study on track. Also, in 2002 the Netherlands Ministry of Education, Culture and Science made good on its pledge to fund the costs of the IAC Secretariat with an annual subsidy of Euro 182.500 for as long as that Secretariat is located in the Netherlands. 

Final observation

In 2002 the IAC not only moved from preparation to action, but it also managed to complete substantially its first study on "Promoting Worldwide Science and Technology Capacities". Credit for that achievement rests exclusively with the study panel as a whole and in particular with the panel's Co-Chairs, Jacob Palis and Ismael Serageldin, as well as with the Study Director, John Campbell.  More generally, whatever achievements the IAC had in 2002, they have all been made possible by the support received from all the persons mentioned in these paragraphs. Accordingly, the IAC can take pride in what was achieved in 2002, but it should equally recognize the debt it owes to those who did all the real work.

*  In accordance with article 3, paragraph 16, sub e of the Bylaws.

** Co-Chairs: Jacob Palis, Brazil; and Ismael Serageldin, Egypt. Members: Jorge Allende, Chile; Ms Catherine Bréchignac, France; Ms Ledivina V. Cariño, Philippines; Thomas Egwang, Uganda; Mohammad Iqbal Choudhary, Pakistan; Ms Julia Marton-Lefèvre, France/USA; Ms Mamphela Ramphele, South Africa; Neil Rudenstine, USA; P.N. Tandon, India; Wim van Vierssen, the Netherlands; and Zhao Shidong, China.