PARIS-The corridors and elevators were visibly less crowded than in past years this fail at UNESCO headquarters here. But the shrinking staff is only one sign of the withdrawal of the United States, the United Kingdom and Singapore from the United Nations' principal educational and scientific agency.

The agency's science and engineering programs have been cut by 37 percent, and its staff reduced from 167 to 126 professionals. Its $16 million budget, rather less than that available to the science faculty at a typical Western university, must be spread even more thinly among its 158 member states.

The agency hopes to continue as many of its present programs as possible, says Syrian physicist Abdul-Razzak Kaddoura, who has led the science and engineering sector since 1976. That means maintaining the present equilibrium among training, research and international collaboration in biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics and such selected applications as freshwater planning and...

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