I. The Declaration of Rio de Janeiro on Mathematics
On May 6th, 1992, in Rio de Janeiro, during the celebration of the 40th anniversary of the world-wide reputed Institute of Pure and Applied Mathematics (IMPA), Professor Jacques-Louis Lions, President of the International Mathematical Union (IMU) declared in the name of this Union, that the year 2000 will be the World Mathematical Year.
WMY 2000 is set under the sponsorship of UNESCO (Professor Federico Mayor), of the Third World Academy of Sciences (Professor Abdus Salam and Professor Carlos Chagas, who took part in the declaration of Rio de Janeiro), of the French Ministry of Research and Space (Professor Hubert Curien), of the Brazilean Academy of Sciences (Professor Israel Vargas) and of the Swiss Federal Counsellor (Dr. Flavio Cotti), the next International Congress of Mathematicians being organized in Zürich in August 1994.
The declaration of Rio de Janeiro sets three aims:
The great challenges of the 21st century,
Mathematics, keys for Development,
The Image of Mathematics.
1. First aim: the great challenges of the 21st century. During his conference in Paris in 1900, David Hilbert listed a series of the main problems that the then ending century had to challenge. The American Mathematical Society suggested in 1990, at the last General Assembly of IMU in Kobe (Japan), that first class mathematicians, to be represented within the Turn of the Century Committee, organize the efforts to envision what the great challenges of the year 2000 would be. This Committee is chaired by Professor Jacob Palis Jr, IMPA (Brazil), Secretary of IMU.
2. Second aim: Mathematics, keys for Development of Pure and Applied Mathematics are one of the main keys of the understanding of the world and of its development.
That is why it is essential that countries which are members of UNESCO be gradually encouraged to reach a level enabling their admission to IMU, of which there are 50 nations for the time being. Therefore, the second aim of the Declaration of Rio de Janeiro is that most countries which are members of UNESCO reach such level by the turn of century.
That implies great additional efforts in the fields of Education, of Training, and—a very sensitive point for countries that face difficulties in having currency resources—of access to Scientific Information.
Such efforts which have already been widely undertaken, will be confirmed and raised by the two main commissions of IMU: ICMI (International Commission on Mathematical Instruction), which is chaired by Professor M. de Guzman from Madrid and whose Secretary is Professor M. Niss from Denmark, and the CDE (Commission on Development and Exchange), whose president is Professor M.S. Narasimhan from Bombay and whose Secretary is Professor P. Bérard from Grenoble, France. Both commissions are linked with UNESCO which was represented in Rio de Janeiro by Professor A. Marzollo, responsible for mathematics.
3. Third aim: the Image of Mathematics. The Declaration of Rio de Janeiro sets as its third goal, which is also of great importance, a systematic presence of mathematics in the “Information Society” thanks to examples and applications which will be scientifically exact and open to the largest number.
That will be developed in connection with such efforts which have already been undertaken by many countries that are members of IMU. The declaration of Rio de Janeiro on Mathematics announcing the World Mathematical Year 2000 was warmly supported not only by all the mathematicians present in Rio and who had come from all continents, and of course many of Brazil’s most eminent mathematicians, but also by professors in other subjects too, and especially Professor Carlos Chagas, former President of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.
II. The UNESCO Resolution
In its November 11, 1997 plenary meeting, the UNESCO General Conference followed the recommendations of Commission III and approved draft resolution 29 C/DR126 related to the World Mathematical Year 2000, allocating 20,000 US dollars to this series of events. The following 15 countries co-sponsored the draft resolution: Belgium, Benin, Brazil, Colombia, Cote d’Ivoire, Denmark, France, Ireland, Luxembourg, Philippines, Netherlands, Russian Federation, Spain, Thailand, Uzbekistan.
The General Conference
Considers the central importance of mathematics and its applications in today’s world with regard to science, technology, communications, economics and numerous other fields;
Is aware that mathematics has deep roots in many cultures and that the most outstanding thinkers over several thousand years contributed significantly to their development, and numerous other fields;
Is aware that the language and the values of mathematics are universal, thus encouraging and making it ideally suited for international cooperation;
Stresses the key role of mathematics education, in particular at primary and secondary school level, both for the understanding of basic mathematical concepts and for the development of rational thinking;
Welcomes the initiative of the International Mathematical Union (IMU) to declare the year 2000 the World Mathematical Year and carry out, within this framework, activities to promote Mathematics at all levels world-wide;
Decides to support the World Mathematical Year 2000 initiative;
Requests the Director General to collaborate with the international mathematics community in planning the World Mathematical Year 2000 and to contribute during 1998–1999 funds of 20.000 US dollars from the Regular Programme and Budget in support of preparatory activities.