It was decided at the 24th General Assembly of ICSU in 1993 to merge the ICSU Committee on Science and Technology in Developing Countries (COSTED) and the International Biosciences Network (IBN), which is a joint ICSU-UNESCO undertaking established to assist developing countries build up their capacities in the biosciences.
The first joint meeting was held in Ghana in April 1994 where it was decided that COSTED-IBN, which will be cosponsored by UNESCO, would, in the future, work along the lines of the IBN, by allowing the regional networks to set their own priorities and their own modalities for actions. These regional offices will be located in Accra and Dakar for Africa, Amman for the Arab Region, Madras for Asia, and Santiago de Chile for Latin America. A regional Secretariat was also opened in South Africa in 1995. The Central Secretariat is located in Madras (India) where a new building is being funded by the government of India. The new officers as of 1 January 1996 are: R. Nichols (USA), Chairman, A.-M. Cetto (Mexico), Vice-Chair, G. T. Thyagarajan (India), Scientific Secretary. Modest support may be made available by COSTED-IBN for one or two participants from developing countries at meetings such as those organized by the IUCr, depending on the priorities of the regional offices, which should be directly contacted by the organizers of these meetings. A certain lack of communication has been noted in the past in COSTED. The President of the new organization has promised an improvement in this direction. Guidelines for applicants of grants will be prepared. The Visiting Professorships Scheme (similar to the IUCr Visiting Professorship Programme) is working well, and could be used by the IUCr as a complement to its own programme. The question of including the countries of Central and Eastern Europe in the activities of COSTED-IBN was raised and it was agreed that this should be pursued as a matter of urgency.
17 May 1996 A. AUTHIER, Representative
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