Monday, October 09, 2006

Unesco should plan members' strategies and set holistic goals for science

Read the full piece by David Dickson in the Cape Times of October 09, 2006.

"The United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) is not a science funding agency. The size of its budget alone precludes this responsibility. At present the agency spends less on science every year than a small university in the United States. This means it cannot implement even relatively small scientific projects.

"In contrast, Unesco has a major role to play in guiding governments - particularly in the developing world - on how they should spend their money on science. A good example is the agency's recent work in Nigeria, which has led directly to the proposed creation of a National Science Foundation with an endowment of $5 billion."

Comment: It is important, while the evaluation committee is reviewing UNESCO's science programs, and while member nation delegations are preparing for a debate on these programs next year, that there be a public discussion of UNESCO's role and its performance in science. My thanks to David Dickson for stimulating such discussion. JAD

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