Inventing a Better Future

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  • InterAcademy Council

    Sound scientific knowledge is fundamental to addressing the critical issues - such as economic transformation and globalization; reduction of poverty, hunger, and disease; and the sustainable use of natural resources - facing the world today. The InterAcademy Council (IAC) was created by national science academies to mobilize the world's best scientists for providing expert knowledge and advice to international bodies, such as the United Nations and the World Bank, charged with addressing these issues. The IAC aims to complement, rather than duplicate, the advisory roles of other scientific institutions.

    The IAC brings together the collective advisory expertise and experience of a truly worldwide group of national academies. Headquartered at the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences in Amsterdam, the IAC governing Board is composed of the Presidents of 15 national academies of science and equivalent organi-zations representing Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Israel, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States, plus the Third World Academy of Sciences. Ad-ditional programmatic consultation is provided through the InterAcademy Panel on International Issues, representing over 90 national science academies

    As a nongovernmental organization, the IAC works on a project-by-project basis. When it receives a request to advise, the IAC assembles an international study panel to examine the issue at hand. Panel members serve on a voluntary basis and are selected solely for their expertise. Each study panel prepares a draft report of its findings, conclusions, and recommendations. This draft is subjected to an intensive process of peer-review by experts in the field. When the IAC Board is satisfied that the study panel has adequately responded to this outside review, a final report is then released to the requesting organization and to the public. Every effort is made to ensure that IAC reports represent a scientific consensus across the globe, and are free from national or regional bias.

    IAC projects are funded individually by multiple sponsors, including interested foundations and interna-tional organizations. Administrative overhead is covered by special grants from the Netherlands government and the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. Participating academies not only contribute time and ideas, but also funding for developing new projects and other special activities. The United Nations SecretaryGeneral, Kofi Annan, has been a strong supporter of the IAC and its mission. When the IAC was established in May 2000 he sent the following message: 'I welcome your initiative to create an InterAcademy Council for providing advisory studies and reports on issues of concern to the United Nations system and other international organizations'.

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