Science -- both as the basis for technological innovation and as a way of understanding the world's systems -- is increasingly being recognized as a fundamental part of economic development. Although some developing nations are beginning to invest in scientific research, science is an inherently collaborative process, and flourishes in environments of transparency and international cooperation. UNESCO's new International Basic Sciences Programme (IBSP) appears to be very much a step in the right direction.
IBSP describes itself as:
...a new flagship initiative that will reinforce intergovernmental co-operation in strengthening national capacities in the basic and engineering sciences and science education through major region-specific actions involving a network of national, regional and international centres of excellence in the basic sciences. [...] The overall goal of capacity building in science and engineering is to promote networking, the sharing of information and good practices, and the development of innovative curricula, education and training, with an applied, interdisciplinary focus on applications to address the Millennium Development Goals, including the promotion of a culture of maintenance. Efforts will be in human resources development and promoting large-scale use of sustainable and renewable energy, energy diversification and efficiency with special emphasis on developing countries and small island states.
Sharing information, support of the MDGs, sustainable and renewable energy, and efficiency with an emphasis on developing countries: this sounds very much like a WorldChanging kind of project. More details can be found at the UNESCO News weblog.