THE FUNDAMENTAL ROLE OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY IN INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT
AN IMPERATIVE FOR THE U.S. AGENCY FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
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NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance.
This study was supported by the U.S. Agency for International Development, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Sloan Foundation, and the Presidents’ Committee. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations or agencies that provided support for the project.
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THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES
Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine
The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone is president of the National Academy of Sciences.
The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Wm. A. Wulf is president of the National Academy of Engineering.
The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine.
The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone and Dr. Wm. A. Wulf are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council.
COMMITTEE ON SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY IN FOREIGN ASSISTANCE
THOMAS R. PICKERING (co-chair), Senior Vice President for International Relations,
KENNETH SHINE (IOM) (co-chair), Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs,
University of Texas System
BARRY BLOOM (NAS/IOM), Dean of the Faculty and Joan L. and Julius H. Jacobson Professor of Public Health,
School of Public Health, Harvard University
OWEN CYLKE, Senior Program Officer,
Macroeconomics Program for Sustainable Development, World Wildlife Fund
LEE H. HAMILTON, Director,
Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
SUSANNA HECHT, Administrative Head,
Latin American Studies, Latin American Center, Department of Urban Planning, School of Public Policy and Social Research, University of California at Los Angeles
SUSAN HENRY, Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Professor of Molecular Biology and Genetics,
W. DAVID HOPPER, Senior Vice President of Policy, Planning, and Research,
The World Bank Group (retired)
MICHAEL ROCK, Harvey Wexler Professor of Economics and Chair,
Department of Economics, Bryn Mawr College
ALLAN ROSENFIELD (IOM), Dean of the School of Public Health and DeLamar Professor of Public Health,
PHILIP SMITH, Science Policy and Management Consultant,
Santa Fe, New Mexico
BARRY WORTHINGTON, Executive Director,
United States Energy Association
GLENN SCHWEITZER, Study Director
PATRICIA KOSHEL, Senior Program Officer
AMY MOORE, Senior Program Assistant
CHRISTOPHER HOLT, Senior Program Assistant
In October 2003 the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the National Research Council (NRC) entered into a cooperative agreement that called for the NRC to examine selected aspects of U.S. foreign assistance activities—primarily the programs of USAID—that have benefited or could benefit from access to strong science, technology, and medical capabilities in the United States or elsewhere. After consideration of many aspects of the role of science and technology (S&T) in foreign assistance, the study led to recommendations for specific programmatic, organizational, and personnel reforms that would increase the effective use of S&T to meet USAID’s goals while supporting larger U.S. foreign policy objectives. The statement of task is set forth in Appendix A.
Shortly after the cooperative agreement was developed, additional financial support for the study was obtained from three other organizations. The NRC provided funds available from private sources. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation also provided substantial support. Then, at the request of the Science and Technology Adviser to the Secretary of State, the Sloan Foundation contributed supplemental funding.
According to USAID officials, the agency’s interest in initiating a fresh examination of a topic that has been on the foreign assistance agenda for decades was rooted in several recent developments. These developments included the advent of new technologies that were sensitizing governments and populations to the benefits of appropriate use of these technologies (e.g., deployment of global positioning satellite systems, advances in genetic engineering, and developments in nanotechnology). At the same time, the agency recognized that many well-established technologies would remain of great importance throughout the developing world for decades to come. In addition, problems in the developing coun-
tries that could be moderated through effective use of S&T increasingly affect the United States (infectious diseases, global environmental problems, and protection of intellectual property rights, for example). Finally, using technologies effectively in anticipating and responding to natural disasters, such as earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, droughts, and floods, remains a high priority for the agency.
According to senior USAID officials, two other developments also played a role in raising the interest of the USAID leadership in investments in S&T. The World Bank, other donor governments, and private foundations, particularly the Gates Foundation, were increasing their interests in S&T. All the while, a large number of U.S. government departments and agencies were expanding S&T-oriented activities in developing countries that increasingly overlapped with USAID program interests.
The following reports concerning the importance of S&T in international affairs in general and in international development in particular were also cited by USAID officials as being of considerable interest.
In 1999 the NRC issued a privately funded report entitled The Pervasive Role of Science, Technology, and Health in Foreign Policy: Imperatives for the Department of State.
In 2001 the RAND Corporation issued a report prepared for the World Bank entitled Science and Technology Collaborations: Building Capacity in Developing Countries.
In 2002 USAID asked the RAND Corporation to extend the work it had done for the World Bank by carrying out consultations with three USAID missions, which led to the report USAID and Science and Technology Capacity Building for Development.
Against this background of new interest in the topic, senior officials of the NRC and USAID became engaged in a series of meetings and informal discussions to review recent reports and to consider the opportunities for integrating S&T considerations more fully into the international development process. These discussions led to the present report.
The NRC has had extensive experience in addressing S&T issues within the framework of international development. Over the last four decades the National Academies has issued numerous reports on this topic and carried out a number of projects with developing country counterparts. A list of the recent reports that are particularly relevant to this study is included in Appendix I. Other relevant NRC activities that are underway are identified in Appendix J.
The NRC appointed a multidisciplinary committee of experts in international affairs and foreign assistance, and particularly S&T activities, to carry out this study. The committee members are identified in Appendix B.
Initially, the committee surveyed a broad range of USAID activities. These activities included programs supported by funds appropriated for development
assistance, child survival and health, humanitarian assistance, economic security support, and stabilization and reconstruction efforts in war-torn countries. As the study progressed and after consulting with USAID, the committee decided to focus its efforts largely on development assistance and child survival and health while still taking into account other USAID activities. The committee believes that building appropriate S&T capacity is central to long-term development of countries where USAID has programs. However, the budget for development assistance has been on the decline despite the rapid growth of other types of assistance. The committee considered that an emphasis on development assistance would help the U.S. Executive Branch and the Congress assess whether the budget decline has been in the national interest.
The committee, in consultation with USAID officials, selected for analysis five important problems that exemplify the range of S&T-related issues confronting large numbers of developing countries:
Microeconomic reform; and
The purpose of analyzing these problems, which cut across a range of social and environmental concerns, was to help identify categories of administrative and technical issues that should be addressed in assessing USAID’s overall capabilities to use S&T effectively.
Small teams of committee members, NRC staff, and other experts visited six countries where USAID supports significant activities that have considerable S&T content. The purpose of the visits was to obtain field insights on the role of S&T in foreign assistance, with a focus on the practical aspects of carrying out S&T-related projects in different overseas environments. The countries and the topics of focus were:
India: health care;
Bangladesh: agriculture and food security;
Philippines: energy and environment;
Guatemala and El Salvador: biodiversity; and
Mali: poverty in a resource-deficient country.
In each country, consultations were held with senior officials and specialists from USAID and other U.S. government departments and agencies, with local officials and specialists, and with project managers working for USAID partners. The visiting teams concentrated on the likely impacts of current USAID programs and particularly the importance of S&T contributions to the effectiveness
of the programs. It was important, of course, to consider these programs within the context of the host country’s priorities, related activities of other donors, and activities of other U.S. government departments and agencies. The reports prepared following the visits can be obtained from the public access file of the NRC by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.
Another important source of information was the report of USAID’s Worldwide Mission Directors Conference held in May 2005. Conclusions from the conference are included in this report.
Throughout the study the committee members and staff consulted with representatives of many USAID offices in Washington (see Appendix D). The views of USAID partners and independent experts in the United States as well as in the field have been of considerable importance to the committee, and these contacts are identified in Appendix E.
During the process the committee was mindful of the importance of successful projects that demonstrate approaches that work. Appendix H presents a few projects that have been identified by USAID as having been of particular interest.
In September 2004 the committee issued an interim report outlining its general approach to the study. In response, several USAID offices, 10 USAID missions, and other organizations offered their observations concerning the direction the study was taking. These responses were considered in preparing the present report, and some of the observations that were provided are included in the body of this report.
After reviewing the many inputs received, the committee decided to devote Chapter 1 of this report to describing the context for the role of S&T in foreign assistance, drawing on the interim report and on other observations during the course of the study. Chapter 2 discusses the five problem areas selected for special attention. The conclusions and recommendations of the report are then set forth in three chapters. Chapter 3 presents suggestions as to USAID’s role in strengthening the capacity of developing countries to select and adapt existing and emerging technologies to their needs and to develop the human resource, policy, and facility infrastructures that are essential to use S&T effectively in the development process. Chapter 4 is devoted to USAID’s internal capability to use S&T expertise effectively in developing and managing its programs in ways that respond to developing country needs and priorities. Chapter 5 considers the integration of USAID programs and interests with the activities of other U.S. government departments and agencies. In this regard, an estimated 40 departments and agencies have active programs in developing countries, with financial resources provided by USAID or through their own congressional appropriations.
Many important aspects of foreign assistance could not be addressed adequately within the constraints of time and funds available for this study: for
example, the significance of S&T in reconstruction efforts supported by USAID and other donors in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other war-torn areas was not addressed. The roles of international organizations, development banks, and other bilateral donors in supporting S&T-related activities and coordination of their activities with USAID’s efforts certainly deserve more attention. The contributions to development of technology-oriented multinational companies and of the private sectors of the developing countries themselves should be elaborated. Philanthropic and nongovernmental organizations are only briefly mentioned. The field visits were extraordinarily important, and additional visits would provide many new insights into the USAID experience in drawing on the S&T strengths of the United States in developing program strategies and in designing, implementing, and evaluating projects.
Many USAID staff members and partners at headquarters and in the field assisted the committee. We especially appreciated the insights offered by Andrew Natsios, the former Administrator, who clearly recognizes the need to strengthen the use of science and technology in the agency’s development activities. We would also like to thank Gary Bittner, Emmy Simmons, Anne Peterson, John Grayzel, John Becker, and Neal Brandes for their support. Rosalyn Hobson, now at Virginia Commonwealth University and a former American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellow at USAID, deserves special thanks for guiding the committee members and staff through the many relevant offices within USAID and providing excellent advice about the development context for USAID activities during the field visits. In addition, special appreciation is due Craig Meisner, who was responsible for organizing the site visit in Bangladesh.
Several experts who accompanied members of the committee on the field visits and who provided general guidance to the committee greatly enriched the quality of the report: Michael Clegg, Foreign Secretary of the National Academy of Sciences and Professor, University of California, Irvine; Charles Hess, University of California, Davis; Anthony Stocks, Idaho State University; Helen Smits, Institute of Medicine; John Lewis, ProNatura USA; and Geoffrey Dabelko, Woodrow Wilson International Center.
This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the NRC’s Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the process.
We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this report: Robert Black, Johns Hopkins University; Patrick Cronin, Center for Strategic and International Studies; John Daly, Consultant; Kerri-Ann Jones, National Science Foundation; Princeton Lyman, Council on Foreign Relations; Robert Tropp,
Washington Development Capital Corporation; Charles Weiss, Georgetown University; Charles Wilson, Independent Consultant; and Tilahun Yilma, University of California, Davis.
Although the reviewers listed above provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations, nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Enriqueta Bond, Burroughs Wellcome Fund, and Norman Neureiter, American Association for the Advancement of Science. Appointed by the NRC, they were responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution.
Glenn Schweitzer and Pat Koshel provided able support for the entire study effort and for the report preparation. The committee was also assisted by a number of other staff members of the NRC including Laura Holliday and Sara Gray. Zainep Mahmoud, an Anderson Intern, and Suzanne Goh and Eric Bone, Christine Mirzayan Fellows, also aided the committee.
Thomas R. Pickering
Committee on Science and Technology in Foreign Assistance