Finally, various ad hoc intergovernmental groups and committees have been organized to coordinate activities related to major international research programs as discussed above in this chapter. Many of these groups have subgroups devoted to different data management issues, including activities focused on developing countries. For example, the Committee on Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS) coordinates all spaceborne Earth observation missions among the spacefaring nations. CEOS has established a ''Plan of Action for Support to Developing Country Activities by CEOS Participants."67 Box 3.7 presents a number of useful "lessons learned" by CEOS participants in providing support to developing countries.

  • Nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). International NGOs, such as the Third World Academy of Sciences,68 the International Council of Scientific Unions,69 and the International Foundation for Science, 70 collaborate with U.N. programs and agencies to provide scientific and technological support to developing countries.

The Consortium for International Earth Sciences Information Network (CIESIN) is an example of a national NGO, with broad international scope, that provides data and services to scientists in the developing countries. In addition to providing "global and regional network development, science data management, decision support, and training, education, and technical consultation services," CIESIN is the World Data Center A for Human Interactions with the Environment.71

Many national and international not-for-profit organizations also assist scientists in developing countries via different mechanisms. The Sabre Foundation's Scientific Assistance Project provides educational materials in the form of books and journal subscriptions and an Internet-based technical assistance program to institutions and individuals in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe.72 The International Science Foundation was established by George Soros in 1992 to assist scientists in the former Soviet Union and the Baltic States by promoting contacts with the international scientific community, providing access to scientific data and information, and establishing international communications links.73 The International Research and Exchange (IREX) Board promotes academic exchanges between the United States and the former Soviet Union and provides professional training, technical assistance, and policy programs.74 Other organizations, such as the Volunteers in Technical Assistance (VITA), contribute information services and technology to developing countries to improve their quality of life. 75

National and international scientific and engineering societies and associations play an important role as well. For example, in addition to the African libraries program described above, the American Association for the Advancement of Science has promoted regional collaborations between scientists in developing countries.76 Some professional organizations provide travel grants to allow individual scientists from developing countries to attend international sci-

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