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The future of UNESCO’s Management of Social Transformations (MOST) Programme



On 10 and 11 June 2014, a joint meeting of the Bureau of the Intergovernmental Council (IGC) and the Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) of the Management of Social Transformations (MOST) Programme took place at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, to discuss the future orientations of the Programme. The meeting was chaired by the President of the MOST-IGC, H.E. Ms Alicia Kirchner, Minister of Social Development of the Republic of Argentina.

Among the participants were H.E. Beatriz Tola, Minister of Economic and Social Inclusion of Ecuador, representing the Vice-Presidency of the IGC for the Latin American and Caribbean region; the Vice-Presidents of the IGC of the other regions; Professor Emir Sader, President of the SAC; and representatives of Permanent Delegations to UNESCO and of the International Social Science Council (ISSC).

Special attention was given to the need to strengthen inter-regional exchanges in the context of the Forums of Ministers of Social Development, the relevance of expanding the geographical scope of MOST Summer Schools, and the contribution of the MOST Programme to the preparation of the next UNESCO Youth Forum, organized at the occasion of the 38th General Conference of the Organization, to be held in the autumn of 2015.

It was agreed that the integration of intercultural dialogue and foresight into MOST activities, as well as initiatives on equality, poverty eradication and social justice will be prioritized in the context of revised work plans aimed at strengthening the scientific advisory functions of SAC. The meeting decided to reinforce the collaboration between MOST and the ISSC, involving also the main regional social science networks, especially concerning opportunities arising from the preparation of the World Social Sciences Forum 2015 and the World Social Science Report 2016.

Participants in the meeting reiterated the positive role that MOST can play in facilitating the contribution of Member States to the construction of the post-2015 development agenda, especially taking into consideration the synthesis that MOST can deliver based on the unique experience that UNESCO can provide to the new international development agenda in terms of inter-sectoriality and given the crosscutting relevance of themes such as education and culture which are central to development, a point that was highlighted in the presentation made by the Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, who recalled that MOST is the only intergovernmental social science programme within the United Nations.

The Director-General of UNESCO also expressed her support to the initiatives being envisioned, including the planned contributions of MOST to the session of the Commission for Social Development of the United Nations, to be held in New York in February 2015, and its collaboration with the United Nations Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) established to provide advice on sustainable development to the UN Secretary-General and the Executive Heads of UN organizations, of which UNESCO functions as the secretariat.

The IGC Bureau and SAC members reaffirmed the necessity of mobilizing the social and human sciences through the MOST Programme to assist Member States more effectively in the design and implementation of public policies for social development. They considered that the meeting presented a timely opportunity to better orient the MOST Programme to that end.

UNESCO’s MOST Programme focuses on building efficient bridges between research, policy and practice, and promotes a culture of evidence-based policy-making. As the only UNESCO programme that fosters and promotes social science research, it is placed in a pivotal position in the overall promotion of UNESCO's goals.