Updated: 25-Oct-2002 NATO Speeches


24 October 2002

Opening Remarks

by Mr. Jean Fournet, Assistant Secretary General for
Scientific and Environmental Affairs

Monsieur le secrétaire général,
Mesdames et messieurs les Ambassadeurs,
Mesdames et messieurs les Professeurs,
Chers collègues

It is a great pleasure for me to welcome you, today, in these NATO premises, for this exceptional meeting which we now call: GRAND GATHERING or GRAND RASSEMBLEMENT.

The general outline of this gathering is detailed in the programme that you received and that we will be strictly following, however tight the schedule might appear.

This Grand Gathering is a sort of keystone of an architecture of meetings, which started on Tuesday and will end on Saturday, with the purpose of bringing together all the scientists and experts involved in the policy, the advisory, or the management aspects of the NATO Science Programme.

The policy is the responsibility of the Science Committee which met yesterday afternoon and this morning in its " NATO format " that is to say with representatives of the 19 nations. The Science Committee is the backbone of our programme, providing guidance and shaping the missions.

Our Russian colleagues joined us before lunch for a special session under the auspices of the NATO-Russia Council (NRC).

Tomorrow we will convene a Science Committee " in EAPC format " with representatives of the 46 nations of the partnership. This is a yearly event, more and more appreciated by the attendees

The advisory role for quality and ranking of scientific applications is played by different Panels which were asked to convene all their Fall meetings at the same time in Brussels. This year I have also suggested that they devote part of their time to thinking about the future of our science programme, be it of its substance or of its organization. And I have got from them a lot of ideas which, mingled with those of the science committee, will provide food for thought and for action this week and in the months to come.

The management is the daily task of the Scientific and Environmental Affairs Division, dedicated since its inception 44 years ago to the good functioning of an administratively challenging but politically efficient tool. Organizing all these events has been a new challenge which has been enthusiastically met.

This Grand Gathering will also be the occasion for awarding the first NATO Science Partnership Prize to recognize excellence in scientific collaboration. I am extremely happy with this year's selection but you will learn more in a moment.

All together for the first time and following a recommendation by the High Level Review Group in 1999 to organize a yearly science forum.

All together to share experiences through dialogue.

All together to think about the necessary adjustments of the Science Programme in the light of the many changes that are expected within NATO following the summit meeting of Heads of State and Government at Prague in November.

All together with you, Monsieur le Secrétaire général, to better understand these new goals and challenges.

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