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Strategy supports research in developing countries

The European Parliament (EP) has supported the European Community's strategy for supporting research in developing countries against the background of the agreement reached on the Fifth Framework Programme (FP5) for Research, Technological Development and Demonstration (RTD) a...
The European Parliament (EP) has supported the European Community's strategy for supporting research in developing countries against the background of the agreement reached on the Fifth Framework Programme (FP5) for Research, Technological Development and Demonstration (RTD) and the on-going discussions on the Fifth Lomé Convention.

The EP adopted, without debate, the report drafted by MEP Jup Weber (ARE, L) on the European Commission Communication on this topic, after the Development Committee considered that emphasis should be placed on technologies (for example in the areas of hygiene, water and waste treatment) that enable people to escape from poverty and move towards sustainable wealth creation.

The Commission was called upon to apply, if necessary, the principle of differentiation by drawing up, together with local and regional partners, differentiated rules and priorities for the various fields and geographic regions. For the Committee, support should be provided on a long-term basis rather than for ad hoc projects. The aim of research cooperation must, in any case, be to help build local research capacities and make it more attractive for researchers to stay in their country of origin.

The Committee stressed, finally, the importance of scientific research and technological innovation for the sustainable management of resources and the reduction of environmental damage caused by unsustainable industrialization processes.

In its initial proposal, the Commission had noted the insufficiency of research potential in developing countries taken as a whole (there are 0.5 researchers/R&D personnel per 10 000 of the active population in non-Asian developing countries, whereas the equivalent figure is 69 for the US and 40 for the EU). It considered means of improving the situation with the resources currently at the Community's disposal. The weakness of technological culture and, above all, the scarcity of resources (based mostly on very low levels of public support) further accentuated the technological gap characterizing the developing countries.

The Commission stressed the desirability of improving access to the FP5 for the emerging economies, and of developing scientific cooperation to facilitate the access of EU undertakings to these high-growth markets.

The Commission also insisted that the Member States should coordinate more closely among themselves in this field, and stressed the need for genuine political dialogue in the sector with the countries and regions concerned.

Source: European Parliament Press Service

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