adapting technological advances to conditions and capabilities of poor countries, and many successes in integrating S&T into development activities. Therefore, as S&T capabilities become even more important for all countries in addressing traditional development issues and in coping with increased international flows of goods and services and the rapid spread of diseases and contaminants, the agency should play a central role in promoting the S&T-related programs of the U.S. government throughout the developing world.
Unfortunately, many developing countries, particularly the poor countries of Africa, do not have the human resources, physical and economic infrastructures, and access to capital to take full advantage of the S&T expertise and achievements of the United States and other industrialized countries. Nevertheless, countries at all levels of development have a strong desire for more robust S&T capabilities. And some capability to understand the potential and limitations of S&T, to select and effectively utilize suitable foreign technologies, and to develop local innovations is needed in every country.
The observations and recommendations set forth below on the opportunities for USAID to continue to play an important role in bringing to bear the S&T resources of the United States on foreign assistance programs are based on extensive consultations by the committee of the National Research Council (NRC) responsible for this report. The members and staff met with many government officials, foreign assistance practitioners, and S&T specialists in the United States and abroad. The committee sent small teams to six developing countries where USAID has significant programs. These countries and areas of special interest during the field visits were:
Bangladesh: agriculture and food security;
Guatemala and El Salvador: biodiversity; and
Mali: poverty in a resource-deficient country.
To help ensure that the conclusions of this report have broad significance, the committee addressed five development challenges that affect hundreds of millions of people each year. These challenges are:
Microeconomic reform; and
Prevention of and response to natural disasters.
International approaches to providing assistance to developing countries are changing; for example, global programs with important S&T dimensions that