Sunday, December 19, 2004

UNESCO: Progress in the Social and Human Sciences Program

Progress Report for the 170th UNESCO Exec Board Meeting (The meeting was held in October, 2004; the next Exec. Board meeting is in January, 2005.)


"94. The implementation of the programme has proceeded smoothly and at a reasonable pace during the first six months of the biennium. Moreover, efforts continued to increase the visibility of UNESCO action under the principal priority, ethics of science and technology, with emphasis on bioethics and under the other priorities. Under the principal priority, for example, brochures on the International Declaration on Human Genetic Data and on the General Conference resolution for its implementation were disseminated widely, in particular to Permanent Delegations and National Commissions for UNESCO in all regions. Under the second dimension of the principal priority, the work of the World Commission of Ethics of Scientific Knowledge and Technology (COMEST), action was initiated to implement the new orientations of the programme approved by the 32nd session of the General Conference intended to bring the global debate on ethics of science and technology to the regional level, as well as the new emphasis placed by COMEST on the importance of the teaching of ethics.

"95. The objectives of UNESCO under its action on promotion of human rights and the fight against discrimination were significantly furthered by the successful organization of the World Forum on Human Rights by the City of Nantes in cooperation with UNESCO and the French National Commission for UNESCO (Nantes, France, May 2004), which brought together all actors working in the field of human rights. The Forum responded to the need for an open and free dialogue on contemporary priority human rights issues, such as terrorism and human rights, globalization and the struggle against all forms of discrimination and exclusion, and poverty as a violation of human rights.

"96. Under other priority areas of the programme, such as Foresight, Philosophy, Human Sciences and Human Security, or Management of Social Transformations (MOST – Phase II), efforts continued during the past six months in promoting better research-policy linkages. The first brainstorming session on the UNESCO Strategy on Philosophy was organized at Headquarters with the participation of representatives of 53 Permanent Delegations to identify the key issues which should be included in the Strategy.

"97. Support was consolidated to the Forum of Social Development Ministers linking 17 Member States of Latin America and the Caribbean and progress was made towards linking this network with similar entities proposed in Africa and Asia. With regard to Africa, progress was made in explorations with interested Member States towards establishing and institutionalizing a network of African Ministers of Social Development, beginning with a meeting of the Ministers of the 14 Member States of SADC (Southern African Development Community) planned in Cape Town, South Africa, on 28 and 29 October 2004.

"98. The Sector continued to improve its implementation of the decentralization strategy through the posting of more staff to field offices, subject to the constraints imposed by the relative size of the Sector and the proportion of its Staff establishment that can be posted in the field."

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