Friday, September 03, 2010

The U.K. National Commission for UNESCO is more active than the U.S. NatCom

For example, the U.K. NatCom has the following working groups in the area of science:
  • Working Group for Input to Development of UNESCO's Science Programs
  • Working Group for Increased Cooperation Among UNESCO Intergovernmental and International Scientific Programmes in the UK
  • Working Group for Improving Access to Scientific Information in Developing Countries
  • Engineering Education in Africa
The UK National Commission for UNESCO (UKNC) is also working in a number of areas to support science, engineering and technology capacity building in developing countries, especially those in sub-Saharan Africa.

The U.S. National Commission has had a committee on UNESCO's Natural Science program, and it annually reviews reports from U.S. scientists following the work of UNESCO natural science sub-programs. Since the U.S. reentry into UNESCO, the natural science experts on the U.S. National Commission have been primarily involved in responding to (infrequent) requests for advice from the State Department. It does not have a significant role in promoting input to UNESCO's programs or increasing cooperation between U.S. scientific programs and those of UNESCO. Neither does it work on scientific information for developing countries, building African scientific capacity, nor science and engineering education in Africa.

It is my opinion that the U.S. National Commission should be asked to do more in the area of natural sciences, perhaps on the model of the U.K. National Commission, or those of other developed nations such as AustraliaJapan, Germany, France or Canada.

John Daly
The opinions expressed in this posting are mine alone, and do not necessarily represent those of Americans for UNESCO.

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