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Antigua - November 2007 

The fifth meeting of the IANAS Executive Committee was held in Antigua Guatemala City on November 30 and December 1, 2007. This was the first meeting of the Executive Board elected in the IANAS General Assembly held in Margarita Island, Venezuela.


Executive Committee Meeting

November 30 - December 01, 2007 
La Antigua , Guatemala


•  Welcome and Introductions

•  Minutes of the Previous Meeting

•  IANAS Strategic Plan

•  Capacity Building Program

•  New Programs and Initiatives

•  Inter-American Science and Technology Information System

•  Exchange of Expertise for Capacity Building of Academies

•  Hemispheric Scientific Mobility Program

•  Coordination of Regional Actions of IAP, ICSU and TWAS

•  Workshop on Decision Making in S&T in LAC

•  Functions and Responsibilities of the members of the EXCOM

•  IAP/IAC/IANAS Regional Workshops on ?Women for Science? and ?Energy?

•  Other Business

•  Adjournment

List of Participants

Claudio Bifano 
Academia de Ciencias Físicas, Matemáticas y Naturales de Venezuela 
Palacio de las Academias 
Avenida Universidad, Apdo. de Correos 1421 
Caracas 1010-A - Venezuela 
Tel: +58 212 482 2954 / 7513 
Fax: +58 212 484 6611 
Email : This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Hernan Chaimovich 
IANAS Co-chair 
Brazilian Academy of Sciences 
Rua Anfilófio de Carvalho 29/3 
20030-060 Rio de Janeiro, RJ - Brazil 
Phone: +55 11 3091 3839 
Fax: +55 11 3091 3839 
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

John Boright 
Executive Director, International Affairs 
US National Academy of Sciences 
National Academy of Sciences 
500 5th Street, NW 
Washington DC , 20001 , USA 
Phone: +1 202 334 2804 
Fax: +1 202 334 2139 
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Jorge V. Crisci 
National Academy of Exact, Physical and Natural Sciences of Argentina 
Avda. Alvear 1711, 4° piso, 1014 
Buenos Aires ? Argentina 
Phone: +54 11 4811 2998 
Fax: +54 11 4811 6951 
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Juan Asenjo 
Chilean Academy of Sciences 
Almirante Montt 454 
Santiago - Centro 
Phone: +56 2 664 41 96 
Fax: +56 2 638 2847 
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Juan Pedro Laclette 
IANAS Co-chair 
Mexican _Academy of Sciences 
?Casa Tlalpan? 
Km 23.5 Carretera Federal México-Cuernavaca 
Av. Cipreses s/n, Col. San Andrés Totoltepec 
Tlalpan, 14400 México, D.F., México 
Phone: +52 55 58 49 49 05/ 55 22 
Fax: +52 55 58 4 9 51 12 
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Marcos Cortesão Barnsley Scheuenstuhl 
Executive Secretary - IANAS 
Office of International Affairs 
Brazilian Academy of Sciences 
Rua Anfilófio de Carvalho 29/3 
20030-060 - Rio de Janeiro RJ - Brazil 
Phone: +55 21 3907 8127 
Fax: +55 21 3907 8101 
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

María del Carmen Samayoa 
Academy of Medical, Physical and Natural Sciences of Guatemala 
13 Calle, N° 1-25, Zona 1 
Guatemala City, 01001, Guatemala 
Phone: +502 2 476 9745 (+502) 238-1251 
Fax: +502 2 476 9962 
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it./This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Michael Clegg 
Foreign Secretary 
US National Academy of Sciences 
Office of the Foreign Secretaries 
500th Street, NW 
Washington DC 20001 - USA 
Phone: +1 202 334 2800 
Fax: +1 202 334 2139 
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Yvan Guindon 
The Academies of Arts, Humanities and Sciences of Canada 
170, Rue Waller 
Ottawa , Ontario K1N 9B9 
Phone: +1 613 991 6990 
Fax: +1 613 991 6996 
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Report on the Fifth Meeting of the IANAS Executive Committee

November 30 - December 01, 2007 
La Antigua , Guatemala 



EC Members: Hernan Chaimovich (Brazilian Academy of Sciences); Juan Pedro Laclette (Mexican Academy of Sciences); Claudio Bifano (Academy of Physical, Mathematical and Natural Sciences of Venezuela); Jorge Crisci (National Academy of Exact, Physical and Natural Sciences of Argentina); Juan Asenjo (Chilean Academy of Sciences); Maria del Carmen Samayoa (Academy of Medical, Physical and Natural Sciences of Guatemala); Michael Clegg (National Academy of Sciences, USA); and Yvan Guindon (The Academies of Arts, Humanities and Sciences of Canada).

Invited Guest: John Boright (US National Academy of Sciences).

Executive Secretary: Marcos Cortesão Barnsley Scheuenstuhl ( Brazilian Academy of Sciences).

•  Welcome and Introductions

The meeting was opened by Maria del Carmen Samayoa, President of the Academy of Medical , Physical and Natural Sciences of Guatemala, who welcomed participants to Antigua and stated that it was an honor for the Academy to host the first meeting of the new IANAS Executive Committee (EC), elected in the General Assembly (G.A.) held in Margarita Island . She thanked participants for coming to Guatemala and expressed her gratitude for the support provided by the National Council for Science and Technology (CONCYT) to the meeting. Co-chairs congratulated the Guatemalan Academy for hosting the first meeting of the IANAS EC in Central America and thanked participants for coming to Antigua . They recognized the effort developed by the host Academy to organize the logistics and stressed the importance of having CONCYT sponsoring the meeting. They highlighted that this meeting comes after the G.A. held in Venezuela , which generated several good ideas that constitute the present agenda. The EC would have the responsibility to further discuss the suggestions raised during the G.A. in order to appraise feasibilities and establish priorities. Hernan Chaimovich stated that IANAS should hear to the demands of Central America and the Caribbean, pointing that the Guatemalan Academy had a crucial role to play in acting as the voice of the countries from the region within the EC. Juan Pedro Laclette reaffirmed Chaimovich's words, thanking the hosts for so kindly receiving all. He then concluded emphasizing the importance of coming to the end of the meeting with a work plan, priorities and responsibilities clearly established.

•  Minutes of The Previous Meeting

The second item on the agenda was the discussion and approval of the minutes of the previous meeting of the EC, held in Mexico City on January 2007. These had been previously circulated to the members of the EC and the corrections suggested by the members of the EC had been incorporated.

The Co-chairs asked if all had read the final version of the minutes and if there were any other corrections or addendums to be made. With no additional comments, the minutes were unanimously approved.

The reports of the First IANAS Conference and of the Second IANAS General Assembly held in Margarita Island on June 2007 were also distributed. The formal approval of these documents will take place during the next G.A. that will be held in Canada on 2010.

Laclette informed the members of the EC that as a decision of the co-chairs, the minutes should be more concise. This could already be noticed in the reports of the Conference and G.A.

•  ianas strategic plan


To prepare the discussion of the first IANAS Strategic Plan, the co-chairs had invited Michael Clegg to produce a draft with the outline of what would be the structure of this document. Howard Alper, previous IANAS and present IAP co-chair, provided an initial contribution over which Clegg produced a first draft for discussion, upon consultation with the co-chairs. To kick-off discussion, Clegg was invited to present the draft.

After the presentation of the document (Annex 1), EC members held a discussion on the points raised by Clegg. The EC considered that a preamble should be included, stating the mission of the organization and stressing the significance and role of the Science Academies as self-renewing merit-based honorific organizations that are independent of governments and represent the leadership of Science within the nations.

As for the phrasing of the organization's vision, it was agreed that it should be highlighted that IANAS aims to make Academies more effective instruments in providing Science advice not only to governments, but to society as a whole. Additionally, when listing the major societal challenges to which Science should be employed to provide solutions (water resource needs, energy development, disease surveillance, disaster mitigation, biodiversity loss, climate change, among others), environmental pollution should also be included. Finally, when of the organization of regional workshops aimed at bringing the recommendations of major IAC studies to policy makers, IANAS should try to involve other allied organizations besides IAP and IAC.

On the paragraph related to the organization's rationale, education should be mentioned as one of the societal issues over which Academies have a certain inherent advantage to address. Also, the document should emphasize the importance of scientific merit as a crucial aspect for the composition of Academies, which should be composed by the scientific leadership of nations. As for the accomplishments of IANAS, it was stressed that besides highlighting the significant linkages developed with the Organization of American States (OAS), UNESCO should also be mentioned. In conclusion the document will bring the organization's goals for the 2007-2010 triennium.

The EC nominated a Strategic Plan Committee - constituted by M. Clegg (chair), J. Asenjo and G. Macaya - that will prepare a new draft proposal of the Strategic Plan by the end of February 2008. IANAS co-chairs will serve as ex officio members of this committee. Once this proposal is ready, at the beginning of March it will be circulated to member Academies for review. After hearing the Academies, the committee will consolidate a new version that will be presented to the EC for discussion and provisional approval in its next meeting. Final discussion and decision will take place at the 2010 IANAS General Assembly.

•  capacity Building programme

To appraise the IANAS Capacity Building Programme, H. Chaimovich recalled that the programme was established at the meeting of its EC held in Tobago on May 2005. Since then, the programme has implemented successful initiatives such as the visit of a IANAS delegation to Managua , where meetings were held with local authorities and members of the scientific community to discuss the importance of a national strategy for science, technology and innovation as a tool for economic development. This action led to the creation of the Nicaraguan Society for Science. Similarly, under the scope of this programme, IANAS developed a study, in a partnership with the Ford Foundation, on ?The Contribution of Latin-American Universities for Sustainable Development?. Chaimovich informed that at the beginning of 2008, a book will be published in English, Portuguese and Spanish, presenting the major conclusions of this study, which focused on success stories of research groups, programs and institutions that created innovative arrangements that should serve as models and examples to be followed. In spite of this successful initiatives, he considered that there was a need for IANAS to better precise the meaning of capacity building and, in consequence, the scope of the programme.

The IAC Study ?Inventing a Better Future? was pointed by M. Clegg as an important reference for this discussion. He stressed the importance of this programme for the strengthening of the Science Academies in the region, helping them increase their relevance and role as advisors to governments and society on critical issues where the voice of Science has a role to play. During discussion the members of the EC emphasized the potential contribution of the stronger Academies that, through visits to less structured Academies, could share experiences and assist in the better organization of smaller Academies. John Boright reported the African experience, where the leadership of Academies and governments meet on an annual basis to discuss key national issues and the potential contribution of Science Academies as advisors in policy and decision making. Boright informed that the Gates Foundation has approved a 10 year grant to support capacity building in Africa and the NAS was willing to help IANAS find potential donors to support similar activities in the Americas . The members of the EC thanked Boright for his generous offer and agreed that IANAS must seek additional funding to support its activities, understanding that this is crucial to allow the network to effectively make an impact.

The EC decided that the Capacity Building Programme should focus its action in Central America and the Caribbean Region. This is a region in the hemisphere where the most can be done in developing scientific communities. To launch this new momentum to the programme, it was agreed that a workshop on science funding landscape would be organized by the Academy of Guatemala . C. Bifano and MdC. Samayoa raised the importance of involving CCC on this initiative. It was agreed that IANAS should find ways to involve and seek the advice of CCC. The EC also stressed that the actions should be bottom-up, with the targeted countries necessarily having to be heard in order to allow local demands to be met. This was understood as a critical aspect for the success of the programme. To implement the Capacity Building Programme, the EC established a committee constituted by MdC. Samayoa; M. Clegg; and Y. Guindon. As in the Strategic Planning Committee, the co-chairs will serve as ex officio members of the Capacity Building Programme Committee.

•  new programmes and initiatives

The co-chairs announced that the Mexican and the Brazilian Academies of Sciences has each an initiative proposal for IANAS. The Mexican Academy of Sciences has recently signed an agreement with the Academies of Bolivia, Costa Rica , Colombia , Dominican Republic , Guatemala , Panama and Peru to support these countries in the implementation of the Science Education Programme. The support is carried out through the availability of all material developed for the AMC program ? La Ciencia en tu Escuela? (Science at your School), training of the interested persons in the involved Academies, and economic support. Funds will be provided by the Mexican Ministry of Education. Mexico will allocate 35,000 USD to each Academy, in order to develop science education efforts in these countries. Although this initiative will be coordinated by the Mexican Academy of Sciences, close collaboration will be developed with the IANAS Science Education Programme. The EC congratulated the Mexican Academy of Sciences for mobilizing national funds to support the Science Education Programme.

The Brazilian Academy of Sciences announced that Brazil had decided to support the implementation of an initiative focused on the Amazon region, which is an idea that had been presented at the last EC meeting held in Mexico and represents an old demand from the Academies from the countries that share the Amazon forest. To launch this initiative, Brazil will fund a meeting with specialists that develop research on the region, aimed at the discussion of a strategic and comprehensive agenda for the Amazon region. The objective is to produce a document with proposals - for the short, mid and long term ? on how can S,T&I contribute to the transformation of the region, through a sustainable model of development that combines economic growth, social inclusion and environmental conservation. The basic idea behind the discussion is the need to develop and evaluation of the environmental services of the Amazon forest, thus providing economic arguments on the benefits and advantages of the standing forest. This initiative will directly involve the Academies from Bolivia , Brazil , Colombia , Peru and Ecuador . An effort will be developed to involve researchers from Ecuador . The EC endorsed this proposal as a IANAS initiative and decided that if the workshop is successful, a follow-up meeting should be organized with policy and decision makers. The Brazilian Academy of Sciences (H. Chaimovich and M. Cortesão) will be responsible for this initiative, and will count with the collaboration of the Argentinean Academy (J. Crisci) for the organization of the workshop.

•  Inter-American Science and Technology Information System

The co-chairs recalled that this was a proposal that had been raised during the IANAS General Assembly in Venezuela . The EC appraised that as initially envisioned, the proposal was to broad and of difficult and expensive implementation. It was decided that the information system should focus on the IANAS members, making available through the IANAS website information on the background, structure, activities, etc. of the Academies. This database can represent an important asset for capacity building of younger and less structured Academies in the region. The EC agreed that the Inter-American Science and Technology Information System shall be developed in cooperation with the IAP Programme on Access to Scientific Information in Developing Countries, chaired by the US National Academy of Sciences. The NAS is willing to support the information system with structure, personnel and other means. A template with the information to be required to the Academies will be prepared by J.P. Laclette and circulated to the EC for digital approval.

•  Exchange of expertise for capacity building of academies

The discussion on the exchange of expertise for capacity building of Academies was carried on as a continuation of the previous issue. It was agreed that IANAS will stimulate the exchange of expertise among Academies, but this shall be done from a bottom-up perspective. For this action to be successful, it is necessary that the needs and demands are identified, rather than just having the stronger Academies telling the others what should be done. IANAS will consult the Academies on their willingness to engage on exchange of expertise initiatives, identifying what are the areas of interest of each country. This information will be made available in the IANAS website, allowing the Academies to develop partnerships. It was noted that short visits to stronger centers for capacity building could be of interest to Academies from developing countries. It was decided that the template discussed in the previous issue shall include a section dedicated to the identification of the local demands. C. Bifano and J. Asenjo will prepare this part of the template.

•  Hemispheric scientific mobility programme

It was noted that TWAS has an ongoing programme on this area, but has a hard time in identifying qualified people to participate. A major difficulty is to mobilize senior scientists that would have the interest and availability to spend even a short period of time out of their laboratories in a research institution in a developing country. It was decided that IANAS will approach TWAS and UNESCO to offer support to the programme. IANAS Academies can play a role in helping on the identification of experts that speak the local language and would be willing to administer courses. H. Chaimovich will be responsible for this contact.

•  Coordination of regional actions of iap, icsu and twas

The co-chairs stated that the coordination of the regional actions of the global S&T organizations has been a concern of IANAS since its initial years. This action is presently more tangible once the regional offices for ICSU and TWAS, as well as IANAS' secretariat, are all located at the headquarters of the Brazilian Academy of Sciences in Rio de Janeiro . The EC recognized that important steps had already been given; as having official representations from these organizations at the last IANAS General Assembly. The EC also agreed that IANAS should intensify this coordination effort, assuming a more proactive approach. H. Chaimovich will organize a joint meeting of IANAS, ICSU and TWAS to discuss specific issues where joint collaboration is possible

•  Workshop on decision making in s&t in Latin America and the caribbean

H. Chaimovich opened this topic, remembering that this is a proposal that was raised during the IANAS General Assembly. He noted that decision makers have a hard time to decide on how to spend the money that is available in national budgets for S&T, once they have to decide the allocation of funds under the pressure of different researchers stating that their research is the most important. The workshop would bring together scientists that lived success stories to discuss their experiences with decision makers, also involving representatives from the private sector in the discussion. This debate should be a multilateral process, where participants would learn from the experiences of different countries. M. Clegg agreed on the importance of the workshop, but he pondered that discussion should focus on specific issues and not on telling how should decision makers take their decisions. Additionally, he stressed that learning from the mistakes can be as important as learning from successful experiences. Clegg stated that the Amazon scientific workshop could be a got topic for a follow-up workshop with decision makers. The EC agreed that different thematic workshops with decision makers should be organized by IANAS, and that the IAC studies, which already have the scientific background developed, should be used as basis for these workshops. The following topics were listed as potential workshops that could be organized: a - Setting Priorities in Science and Achieving Excellence (Policy for Science); b - Energy (as a thematic example for S,T&I decision making); c- From Science to Policy: the Amazon Example; d ? Biodiversity and Natural Products. These workshops can be organized during the next three years and the co-chairs will appraise the feasibility of each.

•  functions and responsibilities of the members of the ec

The co-chairs stressed that the success of IANAS, to a big extent, was due to the capacity of the members of the former EC to work together and collectively formulate the actions of the network. This spirit must be preserved, for it was responsible for the consolidation and strengthening of the organization. But if in the past the co-chairs were able to be present and represent IANAS in most of the activities in which the network was involved, the growth and the increasing challenges of the organization will demand from all a stronger commitment. A specific issue that the co-chairs considered important was the relationship of IANAS with the OAS. To assure that the contact with this key partner will be permanent, it was decided that besides the co-chairs, J. Asenjo will be responsible for representing the EC in OAS activities where the co-chairs cannot be present. Additionally, the co-chairs stressed the importance of having all members of the EC directly involved and being responsible for specific activities.

•  iap / iac / ianas Regional Workshops on ?Women for Science? and ?energy?

This topic was included in the agenda due to a letter sent by the IAP co-chairs to IANAS, proposing the organization of two regional workshops focused on the latest IAC reports. M. Cortesão informed that funding for these workshops will be provided by IAP and IAC. Clegg informed that the NAS could eventually provide additional support. Considering that this proposal was in correspondence to the previous discussion, the EC agreed to organize both workshops. The first to be organized will be focused on the Energy study, and will take place in Argentina . José Goldenberg, who is one of the co-chairs of this IAC study, shall be invited to be involved in the organization of this meeting. H. Chaimovich, J. Crisci and J. Boright will identify potential participants and draw a first outline to this workshop. The workshop on Women for Science will possibly be held in Mexico , in a partnership with TWAS, as a satellite event to the 25th TWAS General Assembly. M.d.C. Samayoa and Rosaura Ruiz Gutiérrez (vice-president of the AMC) will be responsible for preparing a proposal for the organization of this workshop.

•  other business

Having covered all the agenda and having no other business to discuss, t he co-chairs congratulated the members of the EC for the accomplishment of a productive meeting and thanked the Academy of Medical , Physical and Natural Sciences of Guatemala for the excellent job in organizing the first meeting of the new EC elected in Venezuela . A special thanks was made to Maria del Carmen Samayoa and her sons (Luis and Julio Arriola), who efficiently interacted with the members of the EC making everything easier for all.


It was proposed that the next meeting of the IANAS Executive Committee should take place in Costa Rica , on June 16-17, 2008. The co-chairs will be contacting the National Academy of Sciences of Costa Rica to discuss this possibility and will soon be contacting the members of the Executive Committee to provide further details.