PLACE DU PETIT-SACONNEX
1211 GENEVA 19, SWITZERLAND
ASIA AND PACIFIC INTER-PARLIAMENTARY CONFERENCE ON
"SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
FOR REGIONAL SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT"
The following Final Document of the Conference was adopted unanimously at the closing session of the Conference on 17 June 1994. The document comprises two parts:
Parliaments call for science and technology to be utilized for sustainable development, and not for destruction
The Asia and Pacific region has proud historical achievements in science and technology, though for a long period, the region experienced the neglect of science and technology and the lack of an environment conducive to scientific and technological creativity. In recent decades, there is once again a resurgence of science and technology in many countries, though not in all. Many countries have built up major scientific and technological capacities. The great diversity in such capacities among countries in the region in itself should stimulate the opportunities for co-operation. It is clearly vital that science and technology, and co-operative endeavours among countries in the region, should be focused primarily on the pursuit of sustainable patterns of development, ensuring both growth and equity and stimulating efficient environmental management. Scientific and technological partnerships both within the region and at a global level need to be stimulated in the context of an imaginative and yet practical regional vision in utilizing science and technology for regional sustainable development.
Parliaments have the responsibility to encourage the use of science
and technology for sustainable development, instead of for war
and destruction of the environment.
The rationale for wider application of science and technology lies in targeting provision of basic needs
The quality of human capital will gain from greater attention to scientific and technological education, formally and informally. Women's role highlighted
Representatives of the region's parliaments viewed human capital as the most valuable resource a country can possess for its advancement. Scientific and technological education constitutes a critical part of such human capital. Many actions are required to build up this human capital, through formal and informal systems of education, not only in schools and in universities, but also at the work place, in the home and in the general community. Involvement of women in all areas of scientific and technological activity needs to be emphasized.
Greater interaction between industry and higher education enables major technological gains and more resources for higher education
Business and industry are critical in enabling science and technology to be applied in the pursuit of sustainable development. Parliamentarians called for business and industry, universities and polytechnics to create a greater synergy by expanding their connections.
Government policy is critical to effective utilization of science and technology
Parliamentarians agreed that Governments in the region have the responsibility to develop strategies for science and technology, within the framework of overall sustainable development policies and machinery for implementation and evaluation. Governments should determine priorities, secure adequate funding, negotiate in multilateral forums, establishing bilateral co-operative arrangements, create an enabling environment for the private sector and the community, and establish its own scientific and technological research facilities.
Countries in the region could make large gains through scientific and technological cooperation
Accumulating scientific and technological capacities, the diversity of levels of development, specially in science and technology, the growing economic interdependence within the region, are all factors which create significant opportunities for scientific and technological co-operation at the regional level.
Governments of the region need to be more articulate in shaping global agendas in science and technology
The global environment for application of science and technology for sustainable development in the region requires significant improvement. Parliamentarians called upon Governments of countries in the region and developed countries to act in concert towards this end.
National and regional follow-up
Delegations undertook to follow up on their proposals, with their national parliaments and governments, in regional forums, and in the Inter-Parliamentary Union.
A Regional Vision
1. The Asia and Pacific region can proudly claim long and distinguished connections with major achievements in science and technology. Some countries in the region were the pioneers in several fields of science and technology centuries ago. The region gave the world scientific discoveries in the fields of mathematics and astronomy, as well as technological inventions such as paper, printing and gunpowder - key materials in the unfolding of history and civilization. Centuries later, however, the scientific and technological dynamism of the region gradually faded, leaving it a backwater with regard to the development of new inventions and of a scientific culture. Once again in recent years, there has been a notable resurgence of science and technology in many countries, though not in all. It was thus the primary objective of the Conference to stimulate the development of science and technology in all countries of the region, building further and more speedily on the advances that have already been made in the last three to four decades. Tokyo was indeed the most appropriate venue in the region for parliamentarians to consider these issues, as the city is symbolic of a nation which has reached the pinnacle of scientific and technological achievement.
2. Developments in science and technology have undoubtedly brought increased prosperity and welfare to humankind, but have also been used in ways which have led to disastrous results, such as war and the destruction of the environment. Parliaments should ensure that science and technology are used exclusively for the benefit of humankind, to bring about sustainable development.
3. There is tremendous diversity in the levels of scientific and technological achievement among countries in the region. A few - the developed countries, some newly industrializing countries and China and India - have built up major scientific and technological resources; a few others are on the way through efficient policies to build up such capacities; and there are still others which are much further behind and which can gain immensely from the experience of those which have been successful. The regional experience in science and technology is clear evidence of the decline of the sharp divisions between North and South, as developing countries themselves are no longer as dependent as they were on the North and on Western systems of technology. Developing countries and developed countries in the region have capacities in science and technology which can be used to benefit countries which are not equally endowed. There are major opportunities for deepening and intensifying science and technology flows within the region. Practical measures to this end should therefore be given high priority.
4. The Asia and Pacific region has half the world's population. It is also the region which contains the majority of the world's population below the poverty threshold. While science and technology have benefited the affluent and middle-income groups, these benefits have escaped the vast majority of the poor. At a time when nations all over the world are deeply concerned with sustainable patterns of development which ensure growth and equity consistent with the conservation of vital environmental resources, science and technology must be brought in as an integral element of development strategies which focus on the poor. It is therefore critical that governments in the region aim at optimal mobilization of scientific and technological resources to achieve this end.
5. Governments, parliaments, industry, academic bodies, non-governmental
institutions, scientists and technologists, and professionals
and laymen should join forces to develop an imaginative yet practical
regional vision in utilizing science and technology for sustainable
development. Regional co-operation in science and technology is
a critical element in developing and implementing a regional vision
and strategy. Development partnerships between countries in the
region and with countries outside the region to utilize the evolving
results of science and technology offer bright prospects for regional
and global co-operation. Such scientific and technological partnerships
have already been put in place, though selectively, and it is
urgent that these practices become more widespread.
Focusing on Basic Needs
6. In any practical strategy for sustainable development in the region, very high priority must necessarily be attached to assuring the basic needs of the population. Failing to meet basic needs - minimum standards of food and nutrition, of housing, health care and education - is to deprive people of basic rights. Poverty of this kind is indeed one of the great sources of environmental degradation. These people living below the level of minimum needs cannot have access to benefits of science and technology, as they have neither the education nor the economic capacities which alone can enable them to obtain such benefits. Basic needs of people cannot be met in the long term through government redistributive mechanisms. The provision of such basic needs should be anchored on the creation of employment opportunities and the ownership of assets and knowledge; to achieve such an objective, economic and social institutional changes are required in the region. Science and technology can make an effective contribution only in the context of such institutional change. Along with such institutional changes, the Conference especially emphasized the importance of utilizing science and technology for the improvement of the agriculture and food sector, in developing relevant technologies for industry, in ensuring energy supplies and health care, and in providing sound environmental management.
7. In agriculture, productivity in the region generally is still relatively low when compared with more advanced agricultural systems. The vast majority of the population is employed in agriculture, working small holdings and employing traditional systems of production. Many staple and subsidiary crops are unique to the region. Research is still based on agendas which do not adequately reflect national and local priorities. Agricultural research should focus on the crops that are of interest to the small farmer and greater attention should be paid to holistic systems of farming which are environmentally sustainable. Research should be directed towards crop diversification rather than monocultures, and experimental research undertaken in research institutions should be closely linked with on-farm practices. The region could specifically allocate more resources and generate more resources for research into crops such as rice, coarse grains, vegetables, and horticultural and commodity crops and livestock which are specific to the region.
8. In industry, instead of an approach which is imitative of developed country systems, adequate research provision is required for the development of suitable technologies on the basis of factor endowments of countries in the region. In recent decades, the Asia and Pacific region has experienced the growth of rural industries and of small and medium-sized enterprises. Research and technological development should enable a thriving rural industry to be developed, especially to meet the domestic needs of countries with large numbers of relatively and absolutely poor. Sectors such as food processing, construction and building materials, rural transport infrastructures and telecommunications need to be priority targets in technology strategies. Greater attention should be focused on the innovative improvement of existing technologies, as such improvements can be undertaken at low cost and also lead to the generation of superior products available at much lower prices.
9. Reliable energy sources are vital for the improvement of living standards. Most of the energy supplies in the region come from biomass and coal. In the rural areas, the vast majority of people depend on fuelwood. Governments in most countries have attempted to increase commercial energy supplies, and such programmes as rural hydroelectricity need to be pursued with even greater vigour. The Conference however urged that scientific and technological efforts for more efficient energy systems using biomass and coal be enhanced so that the population's poorer groups might have access to energy supplies on a reliable basis. More resources need to be diverted to utilize clean coal technologies. Renewable energy sources such as solar and wind are especially important and could contribute to reducing potential global warming. Scientific and technological resources are urgently required to intensify research and development in these areas, as well as in bioenergy. Solar energy systems should be developed at competitive costs as a global undertaking.
10. As regards health care, the Asia and Pacific region basically has two systems - an indigenous, traditional system varying between countries, and a modern health sector based on more scientific systems of medicine and combined with sophisticated technologies. The majority of people in the region are users of traditional health care. There is also a resurgence of interest the world over in herbal medicine, on which most traditional Asia and Pacific systems of medicine are based. Cost-effectiveness demands that more scientific research be focused on traditional systems of medicine and on upgrading those systems, apart from the current processes of modernizing health technology.
11. In environment, efficient management is critical to
sustainable development and provision of basic needs. In the Asia
and Pacific region, a prime demand is for the preservation and
conservation of its valuable tropical ecology built around tropical
rainforests. The bio-diversity associated with these forests needs
to be conserved, as in all other ecosystems. Degradation of soil
needs to be halted and other kinds of environmental degradation
such as growing industrial pollution need to be reversed. There
should be wider adoption of practices that promote the ecologically
sustainable management of agriculture and fishing. Many countries
could gain from the experience of others in the region in this
regard, and the world-wide environmental programme already established
by IPU should be thus complemented by an Asia and Pacific regional
Green Network. The wider adoption of greening policies
and practices in the region could be considered in this context.
Only the application of science and technology can enable developing
countries to undertake efficient practices of environmental management.
A practical way forward in utilizing science and technology for
environmental improvement was mapped out in Agenda 21 adopted
by the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development
(Rio de Janeiro, June 1992). The Conference therefore reiterated
the call made by the Inter-Parliamentary Conference on Environment
and Development (Brasilia, November 1992) that those agreements
should be effectively implemented.
Harnessing New Technologies
12. The Conference recognized the escalating speed with which scientific and technological discoveries and inventions are contributing to major global structural changes in economies and societies. New technologies are being developed on a massive scale in most areas of human endeavour, and the efficient and appropriate use of these technologies can be hugely beneficial to sustainable development. In new materials technology, ocean technology, electronics technology and renewable energy technology to name but a few, scientific and technological advances are offering people the prospect of utilizing science and technology in new directions. Of all the areas of science and technology, the Conference felt that at least two - biotechnology and information technology - should be given very high priority in the context of sustainable development and basic needs.
13. The Conference noted that biotechnology can be used to improve agriculture, especially through plant breeding and through pest control and the improvement of animal husbandry. It has major implications for basic health care and the development of pharmaceuticals, notably low-cost diagnostic and prophylactic agents, and in improving access to biomass-based energy and industrial applications. Major investments are being made by developed countries in research and development in biotechnology. The Conference urged that governments attach high priority to the development of biotechnology research and development capacities in the region, and that an institutional infrastructure be created to exploit these results of biotechnology. Regional co-operation can be a valuable instrument in undertaking cost-effective research and development activities.
14. The Conference recognized that information technology
is rapidly bringing about major changes in the behaviour patterns
of business, industry, government and households and ordinary
people. Vast masses of data and information are being generated,
analyzed, disseminated and utilized for varied purposes. Information
technology can be a tremendous instrument in ensuring sustainable
development and the satisfaction of basic needs through the efficient
use of natural resources, manpower skills, and goods and services
created by society. Information technology is not only for the
sophisticated and the experts, but can and should be used for
the benefit of ordinary people. Parliaments in particular could
consider establishing linkages within the region by utilizing
facilities that are now available through INTERNET.
Investing in People
15. The Conference recognized that human capital is the most valuable resource that a country can possess for its advancement. Scientific and technological education constitutes a critical part of such human capital. It cannot be undertaken only through formal systems of education, and thus more wide-ranging arrangements are required to facilitate such education not only in schools and universities, but also at the workplace, and in the home and in the general community. A scientific and technological culture, as can be found in many developed countries, can only emerge if the general public becomes involved in scientific and technological activities in varying degrees of intensity. Facilitating such an outcome is not only a task for governments but should also be the aim of private sector institutions, non-governmental institutions and of the great institutions of science and technology which can now be found in most countries. Critical to the effective implementation of all programmes of sustainable development will be the commitment and genuine involvement of all social groups. The international community has unequivocally advocated the equal and beneficial integration of women in all development activities. This should most certainly be emphasized in all areas of scientific and technological activity. The Conference strongly endorses the need for the active involvement of women in the use of science and technology for sustainable development in the countries of the region.
16. Science and technology, and sustainable resource management, should always have an important place in the curricula of primary and secondary education. Traditional practices which attached priority to the arts and humanities to the detriment of science are now being reversed in most countries and equal weight is now attached to these subjects, which are indeed an important element in education, and to disciplines relating to science and technology. Girls should be encouraged to enter the science and technology education stream. Governments need to continually make intense efforts to improve the quality of teaching and standards in science and technology. Colleges for training teachers of science and technology must be given very high priority in education policies. Resources for equipping schools with satisfactory laboratories and school equipment such as computers need to be made available. There have been significant problems in the secondary educational sector in obtaining public funds for capital expenditures and for care and maintenance of science laboratories and equipment. Governments need to ensure predictable flows of funding for these purposes.
17. The Conference agreed that technical schools and polytechnics, and similar institutions of both a general and specialized nature have contributed significantly to the improvement of scientific and technological education in many developed countries. Countries with a long-standing tradition of such systems of technical education are in the vanguard of scientific and technological development. Countries in the region could gain immensely from a better understanding of that experience, especially with regard to arrangements such as apprenticeship systems linked to technical training in specialized areas. Greater efforts are required in many countries in the region to establish and upgrade technical training systems. Such efforts need to be co-ordinated by governments, and private sector enterprises have a key role to play in the development of such training systems. Technical schools of a specialized nature should aim at developing close links with small and medium-sized enterprises in their regions, so that there is continuing technological interaction between them which should facilitate not only more relevant research, but also new niches of profitability for enterprises.
18. Science and technology in universities are crucial to a country's progress. Whereas in many countries in the region, universities have built up major capacities in science and technology, there are many others that are lagging behind. Universities need to be encouraged to recruit the cream of scientists and technologists for teaching and research, and for this purpose, systems of remuneration and facilities for research and exchange of experience should be appropriately established. Universities themselves need to make an increased effort to link up with business and industry so that research is more relevant from an industrial point of view. Universities in the region could draw on the experience in this regard of many developed countries which have highly productive connections with business and industry, thus giving universities greater access to resources.
19. The Conference urged that governments and the private sector
attach high priority to ensuring that scientists and technologists
are assured of a key role in the community and at the workplace.
Trained scientists and technologists need to be appropriately
utilized, and they should be in the mainstream of government and
private sector activities, especially in boardrooms of large enterprises.
The countries in the region have suffered from an extensive brain
drain over the last few decades, as well as the inappropriate
employment of qualified citizens. These problems need to be curbed,
not through controls, but by the creation of a more congenial
environment in which scientists and technologists can work. It
is especially important to encourage and stimulate greater participation
of women in the numerous fields of science and technology. They
should be encouraged to take their place in universities and in
boardrooms of large private enterprises.
Business and Industry
20. The Conference strongly emphasized the role of business and industry in enhancing the contribution of science and technology to sustainable development. The increasing reliance placed on market forces and private sector institutions with regard to economic development obliges industry and commerce to utilize scientific and technological resources at their command in the pursuit of sustainable development. While public policies are important to enable the private sector to make the most of such scientific and technological capacities, there is a large area of opportunity for initiatives by business and industry.
21. Current evidence clearly indicates that industry and business in most countries in the region are far behind those of the developed countries when it comes to allocating resources for research and development. In developed countries in general, a significant proportion of the resources for research and development originates in private sector business and industry. In most countries of the Asian and Pacific region, the share of private sector research and development is relatively small - significantly smaller than it should be. Most industrial firms, and particularly small and medium-sized enterprises, allocate only an insignificant share of their turnover to research and development. There is far too much reliance by these on government research, as if the function of research and development was solely that of government. It is important that business and industry move towards greater recognition of the particular contribution that research and development can make to their own business opportunities and in achieving larger societal goals. The Conference urged government, industry and business together and jointly to make a renewed effort to increase productive research and development expenditures.
22. Many countries in the region rely to a large extent for their development on direct foreign investment and technological transfer from abroad. Direct foreign investment is intimately linked with technology flows, and many countries now look upon such investment as the key channel for technological advance. The Asia and Pacific region has emerged as a major target of foreign investment from countries outside the region; there are also major flows of investment and technology within the region. While technology flows will be governed primarily by market forces which determine investment and trading opportunities, there is an increasingly recognizable need for the improvement of capacities within many countries of the region for absorbing and integrating such technology flows in the pursuit of sustainable development. Imported technologies should enable developing countries in the region to build up their own indigenous technological capacities. The Conference called on private sector institutions, in industry and commerce, and representative institutions, such as Chambers of Commerce and Industry, to focus more intensively on the selection, appropriation and absorption of imported technologies to enhance the quality of technological upgrading of their own countries.
23. The Conference observed that a pervasive phenomenon in most
countries of the region is the weakness and fragility of the linkages
between business and industry on the one hand, and university
and other tertiary education scientific and research institutional
capacities on the other. There are no strong traditions of linkages
of industry with institutions of higher education and research.
The relative neglect of such linkages has adversely affected prospects
on both sides, and much could be done to improve these linkages.
Universities can be more alert to the needs of business and industry,
especially in the context of the opportunities that are available
for technological upgrading of products and services. Universities
can consider making their scientific and technological capacities
available to industry on a contractual basis. Similarly, industry
and business can alert universities to the kinds of scientific
and technological restraints they face which require practical
solutions. The Conference urged industry and business, universities
and polytechnics to establish a greater symbiotic and synergistic
approach in the utilization of science and technology.
The Role of Government
24. The Conference stressed the central role of governments in developing a comprehensive policy for science and technology in sustainable development and facilitating its consistent implementation. While many governments in the region have put together science and technology policies, many others need to make significant improvements. One of government's functions is determining priorities, securing appropriate funding for science and technology, and for research and development, negotiating in multilateral organizations, working out bilateral arrangements for scientific and technological co-operation, stimulating the private sector, and establishing its own scientific and technological research facilities within the machinery of government.
25. Governments play a major role in determining the level of resources that will be deployed for science and technology. In this context, governments need to encourage increased investments by industry in science and technology. Steps need to be taken to reexamine current levels and arrangements of industrial funding of science and technology, and measures that are required to increase such funding, especially in critical areas of national development. In many countries, scientific research is funded through systems of levies specific to a product group, and while this is satisfactory in some ways, it could also lead to neglect of potentially important areas which cannot initially generate their own funding in this way.
26. Governments in the region spend anything between 0.2 per cent and 1 per cent of their GNP on scientific research. It is vital that these resources be utilized to maximum effect, and therefore governments need to ensure efficiency of research practices, focus research on high priority areas and link up with the industrial sector to enable it to make effective use of the results of government-funded research through their own enterprises. Current funding arrangements for public sector science and technology are not adequate in most countries, and such funding also appears to be a low priority in government budgetary decisions. While it is true that results of research are to be seen in the medium and long term, governments need to bear in mind that it is a vital element of a country's economic and social progress and that such funding should therefore be maintained and gradually increased.
27. The Conference felt that scientific and technological issues
should be placed at the centre of government, and institutions
and agencies concerned therewith should be brought into policy-
and decision-making within government in a more concerted manner
than current practices allow. It is also essential that governments
put in place the required machinery to evaluate and implement
co-ordinated and inter-disciplinary approaches, since science
and technology alone cannot be effective in the absence of more
comprehensive sustainable development policies. Governments also
need to take action to enable scientists and technologists to
play a more active role at decision-making levels through appropriate
schemes of recruitment, promotion and remuneration, and by enabling
such scientists and technologists to obtain relevant experience
through exchange programmes and sabbatical leave arrangements.
Governments should also consider the publication, at least every
two years, of a report on the development of science and technology
in the country, so that progress made by a country in science
and technology may be audited regularly.
A Regional Partnership
28. The Conference recognized that the current economic and social situation in the region clearly warranted a more intense effort to find innovative forms of co-operation among countries in the region. The significant scientific and technological resources available in many countries, the diversity of levels of development and consequent diversity of needs, and growing economic interdependence are all factors which have converged to make possible a greater degree of scientific and technological co-operation among countries in the region. There is already an increasing flow of technology linked to investments within the region and these need to be enhanced. However, there are many other potential mechanisms of regional co-operation which need to be fully utilized.
29. Countries in the region can benefit from learning from each other's experience in scientific and technological development. Many countries, especially in North and East Asia and in Australasia, have built up large scientific and technological capacities by developing a range of appropriate policies which have facilitated linkage between government and business and industry , the selective use and adaptation of foreign technologies and research and development infrastructures. The science and technology policy experience of these countries should be examined more closely by other countries in the region so that improvements can be brought about within the region as a whole. Regional arrangements should be established, utilizing the services of regional institutions, to analyse and examine the policy experience with regard to science and technology in the region with a view to making possible a more intense learning process and policy development.
30. The Conference urged governments to embark on an urgent examination of developing co-operative research efforts among countries in the region on key issues of common concern in science and technology, and to stimulate sustainable development. There is a large body of experience to be drawn on in developed countries, which have established joint inter-country arrangements for scientific and technological collaboration to deal with issues of common concern which require high quality and expensive research efforts. Countries in the region could focus initially on a few selected areas of research, concentrating on the sustainable management of local natural resources and region-specific agricultural commodities.
31. There is significant scope to promote greater interaction between and among research institutions and researchers. A primary requirement is to enable these institutions and researchers to be better informed of research activities within the region, and to create a forum which will make possible such information flows. Clearing houses for this kind of information are therefore essential. It should be feasible to promote networking arrangements among institutions to learn from each other and to organize divisions of labour on research activities, and develop systems for exchange of personnel through visiting fellowships and attachments. Training arrangements might also be encouraged within the region through research networks.
32. Many countries in the region have the capacity to offer modest levels of development assistance to other countries which are not equally endowed with scientific and technological resources. It should be feasible for several countries in the region to offer facilities through their development assistance budgets to increase the types of scientific and co-operation arrangements which were outlined in the paragraphs above. Technical co-operation arrangements at the regional level might focus on the exchange of expertise and training in science and technology.
33. Regional bodies can play an important role in facilitating
greater scientific and technological co-operation within the region
and in undertaking activities identified in outline by the Conference.
The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and
the Pacific (ESCAP) could devote more efforts to issues of scientific
and technological co-operation and might consider science and
technology for sustainable development as a major special theme
for one of its annual sessions. Other regional intergovernmental
bodies, as well as the Tokyo-based United Nations University,
could also undertake related activities in promoting regional
co-operation based on a comprehensive set of regional policies
to be developed through a regional forum such as ESCAP. Special
attention should be devoted to the establishment of intra-regional
training arrangements and mechanisms through which scientific
and technological training can be pursued cost-effectively. For
this purpose, the existing institutions in the region should be
utilized and consideration be given to the possible creation of
The Global Perspective
34. Noting that the ODA budgets of some countries have regrettably declined, the Conference called on all developed countries and multilateral organizations to enhance their efforts to build up scientific and technological capacities in the Asia and Pacific region so that these countries can ensure economic progress through sustainable patterns of development. Developed countries have made an important contribution to science and technology in the region through direct foreign investment and associated flows of technology, the provision of development assistance, technical co-operation, and a range of mechanisms for exchange of expertise and experience. Development assistance should be more focused on science and technology partnerships and the building-up of scientific and technological capacities, particularly for the benefit of developing countries in the region which are still lagging behind.
35. The Conference urged governments in the region to be more
actively and articulately involved in the shaping of global
agendas for science and technology. Science and technology
issues are increasingly the subject of multilateral negotiations,
whether it be in large global conferences such as the United Nations
Conference on Environment and Development or in less high-profile
fora within the UN system or other intergovernmental bodies. Governments
in the region should aim at developing their own concerted positions
based on their own country and regional interests, and having
them included in global agendas. For example, it should be the
aim of regional governments to stimulate more research into agricultural
systems relevant to regional concerns and, in the health sector,
to devote more resources for research into tropical diseases.
Follow-up and Initiatives by Parliaments and the Inter-Parliamentary Union
36. The Conference felt that the individual participants and the Asia and Pacific National Groups of IPU should resolutely work for the follow-up of the above recommendations with a view to their effective implementation. The recommendations being of a very wide-ranging nature, they should therefore be pursued not only by national parliaments and governments but also within exiting regional bodies and multilateral organizations.
37. The full use of modern communications and information technologies, such as INTERNET, could be of benefit to parliaments and parliamentarians; the Conference accordingly recommended that the Inter-Parliamentary Council consider establishing a working group on inter-parliamentary communications with a view to setting up an Inter-Parliamentary Network.
38. As regards recommendations made for the creation of regional inter-parliamentary mechanisms or networks, the Conference observed that further in-depth study is required concerning the nature, scope and implications of these recommendations and therefore recommended that their sponsors and concerned parties bring them before the Asia and Pacific group of IPU for study at its next meeting to see how they could be integrated in the general programme of activities of the parliaments concerned.
39. The Conference recommended that those parliaments which do not already have a committee or other body dealing with science and technology questions consider creating such a body in accordance with their internal procedures so that they may better tackle such issues.
40. With this in view and as an immediate step, the Conference called on:
(a) The Asia and Pacific National Groups of IPU to:
(b) The IPU Secretary General to transmit the findings of the Conference to the relevant regional and world-wide international institutions, asking them to give special attention to the conclusions and recommendations.