Friday, October 26, 2007

The revised Science program

There was a major evaluation of the UNESCO science programs done over the last two years. The Director General of UNESCO has submitted a report to the General Conference (34C/13) detailing how UNSCO will
redo the Science programs to conform to the Science Review Group's

I quote at length from the report:
UNESCO’s leadership enhanced through new global initiatives (Recommendation 8)

In the coming years there must be increased proactive engagement on the part of UNESCO at the highest levels of the United Nations as well as with its specialized agencies and programmes, demonstrating UNESCO’s real comparative advantage within the United Nations system – being the only agency which, through its mission, is able to bring together the sciences, education and culture.

This comparative advantage may prove crucial, for instance, within the United Nations system’s response to global climate change. The Natural Sciences Sector – largely through the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) – contributed background scientific data and monitoring to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC). However, UNESCO’s role in education and the social sciences will be equally critical as the Organization contributes to mitigation and adaptation to global climate change.

The Science Sectors will seek to take advantage of UNESCO’s respected global outreach and convening power with both governments and civil society to assure the Organization’s major advocacy role within the United Nations system for science and the use of scientific knowledge. “Science for science’s sake” is no longer a viable option; science must be a key component of sustainable development and poverty eradication, peace, intercultural dialogue and in addressing the challenges of emerging issues such as global climate change and their consequences. Investment in science and technology is not a luxury, but vital to sustainable development.

Ministers of Science, Technology and Higher Education will be invited periodically to round table events (see Recommendation 1) to discuss new and emerging issues in the sciences, their Member States’ science needs, and the formulation of common approaches, thus reinforcing UNESCO’s legitimacy as the global meeting point and forum on science at the intergovernmental level. In addition, other dialogues and debates on new fields of research and emerging ethical and societal issues will be convened.

Organization-wide actions will be formulated on future-oriented studies concerning emerging issues of relevance to UNESCO’s fields of competence.

Consultations will be held on the feasibility of convening, in 2009, a major review of followup to the UNESCO-ICSU World Conference on Science (Budapest, 1999) and its two principal documents: the Declaration on Science and the Use of Scientific Knowledge and the Science Agenda – Framework for Action.

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