25 June 2010Disparities in research capacity among social scientists across the world have reduced the capacity of the field to contribute to human welfare, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) said in a report launched today. Disparities in research capacity among social scientists across the world have reduced the capacity of the field to contribute to human welfare, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) said in a report launched today.Social science from Western countries continues to have the greatest global influence, although the field is expanding rapidly in Asia and Latin America, particularly in China and Brazil, UNESCO says in this year’s World Social Science Report: Knowledge divides, launched at the agency’s headquarters in Paris.In sub-Saharan Africa, social scientists from South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya produce 75 per cent of the academic publications. In South Asia, barring some centres of excellence in India, social sciences as a whole have low priority, according to the report.The report stresses that the world needs social science to effectively deal with the major challenges such as poverty, diseases and climate change.“Social scientists produce work of outstanding quality and tremendous practical value, but as this report illustrates, social scientific knowledge is often the least developed in those parts of the world where it is most keenly needed,” said Irina Bokova, the Director-General of UNESCO, in her foreword to the report.“Social scientific endeavour is also poorer for its bias towards English and English-speaking, developed countries. This is a missed opportunity to explore perspectives and paradigms that are embedded in other cultural and linguistic traditions,” she added.Published by UNESCO and the International Social Science Council (ISSC), the report is the first comprehensive overview of the field in more than a decade. Hundreds of social scientists from around the world contributed their expertise to the publication.The report is in part descriptive, giving facts and figures on the production and transmission of the social sciences throughout the world; in part problem-oriented, examining their application to social problems of the world today; and in part reflective, with essays discussing general perspectives and regional concerns.It covers such topics as social sciences and global challenges; the social science landscape in different regions; research capacities and brain drain; internationalization; competing in the knowledge society; and policymaking.The final chapter suggests ways of reinforcing the social sciences, including more funding, targeted research, better dissemination, and the promotion of multilingualism and multidisciplinary approaches.“The report reaffirms UNESCO’s commitment to the social sciences, and our desire to set a new global agenda to promote them as an invaluable tool for the advancement of the internationally agreed development goals,” said Ms. Bokova.
26 September 2011The political transitions in various Arab countries this year demonstrate that Islam is compatible with human rights and democracy, the Vice-President of the Maldives Mohamed Waheed told the General Assembly today. The political transitions in various Arab countries this year demonstrate that Islam is compatible with human rights and democracy, the Vice-President of the Maldives Mohamed Waheed told the General Assembly today.“The democratic uprisings across the Middle East prove that Muslims yearn for democratic rights just as much as non-Muslims,” he said.Dr. Waheed also said that the Maldives, a Muslim country that went through its own democratic transition in 2008, putting an end to “a 30-year authoritarian regime,” would organize an international conference next year on progressive Islamic jurisprudence and human rights to support the movement. “We must counter the false perception that people must make the choice between devotion to Islam on the one hand, and the full enjoyment of human rights on the other. We strongly believe in the compatibility of Islam and human rights and seek to do our part to promote understanding and tolerance. “With this conference, we hope to renew the concepts of peace and tolerance, co-existence and inter-faith harmony that exist in Islam,” he added.In his address, Dr. Waheed also spoke about the urgency of climate change reform in the UN, echoing previous statements from other Small Island Developing States (SIDS), urging countries to act immediately so they can respond swiftly and adequately to natural disasters.“The Maldives believes that three issues should form some of the key pillars to be discussed and acted upon in Rio [de Janeiro] next year,” he said, referring to the sustainable development conference to be held in the Brazilian city in June 2012.“These issues are firstly, reform of UN support for the sustainable development of SIDS; a political declaration and strategy to give impetus to the roll-out and mobilization of renewable energy and green technologies; and finally, improvements in the integration of sustainable development principles into international and domestic policy at both strategic and project levels,” he said.He also called for a shift in seeing climate change as an environmental issue to a security one, as well as an economic opportunity.“We do not view cutting carbon emissions as a burden but rather as an opportunity – an opportunity, not just to protect the climate, but also to create new jobs and grow our economies.”
17 January 2012Representatives of Greece and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia have wrapped up two days of United Nations-mediated talks on the dispute over the official name of the latter country, the Personal Envoy of the Secretary-General announced today. Matthew Nimetz said the discussions in New York were helpful and focused on the optimal way to move the process forward in a constructive manner. He added that he was given firm assurances that each Government is sincere in its interest in finding a solution and that they fully respect the UN process. A UN-brokered interim accord in 1995 details the differences between the two countries over the name of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. It obliges both Athens and Skopje to continue negotiations under the auspices of the Secretary-General to try to reach an agreement, but so far they have not succeeded.Mr. Nimetz met separately with Ambassador Adamantios Vassilakis of Greece and Ambassador Zoran Jolevski of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia over the two days. Both sides presented the positions of their respective Governments on the name issue as they stand at the present time. He said he will consult further with the representatives regarding arranging a visit to the two capitals to continue the discussions. “As we move forward, I have asked the parties to demonstrate their commitment to the resolution of their difference by promoting a positive atmosphere through their actions and public statements,” he stated.