UNESCO Social and Human Sciences
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MOST Newsletter No. 9 - October 1998

Table of Contents


Growing up in Cities (GUIC), South Africa
The Story so Far...

The relevance of GUIC in South Africa

The resuscitation of the 1970s UNESCO project -- Growing up in Cities -- in 1994, was based on the premise that since children had been acknowledged in various international agreements (1) as having a right to be heard in matters concerning their welfare, countries would be willing and eager to hear what they had to say regarding the urban settings in which they lived.

The purpose of GUIC is to engender children's participation, not only in the evaluation of urban environments, but also in the articulation and recommendation of improvements in these environments. It seemed especially relevant for South Africa since the new constitution enshrined individual rights for all. Children had forced their voices to be heard concerning schooling and other issues prior to the change of government in 1994; it seemed sensible to develop mechanisms for them to participate in urban policy and planning processes subsequently.

Choosing sites

The lack of adequate housing in South Africa had created major problems of land invasion and mushrooming squatter settlements in and around major cities. It was felt that insights obtained from children in Canaansland, the largest of 61 squatter sites in inner-city Johannesburg, could provide a baseline for further studies at other similar sites. So far as could be ascertained, children in South African squatter camps had never been asked for views on their urban environment.


The children's viewpoints were obtained at Saturday morning workshops which combined fun activities with data collection. The children had little confidence initially that adults would find anything of worth in their drawings and opinions.

"Partners in Research and Planning"
Workshop, 17 May 1997

When initial data collection was complete, Clr Isaac Mogase, Mayor of the Greater Johannesburg Metropolitan Council, offered to host a one-day workshop at which the children could tell urban planners and policy makers about problems in their urban environments and suggest ways in which these could be improved.

Seeing their drawings discussed without ridicule and having their views sympathetically received, improved the children's self-confidence remarkably. Most have subsequently shown little shyness in putting forward their views and enjoy discussing their personal circumstances.


On 15 November 1997, before any of the children's recommendations had been implemented, the Canaansland community was forcibly relocated, without the knowledge of Mayor Mogase or the GUIC team, to a venue 40 km outside of the city.

Thula Mntwana ("Hush, my child")

Canaansland was relocated to Thula Mntwana amongst thousands of other displaced persons, far from previous small employment opportunities, state schools, medical and social facilities. The site has insufficient chemical toilets, basic roads and irregular mobile water carrier deliveries.

Mayor and Mrs Mogase visited the residents on 22 December 1997 and were warmly welcomed with ululations and praise songs. They brought family grocery parcels in useful plastic buckets, toys for the children, and warm reassurance that problems would be brought to the attention of local officials.

There is a concern, however, that Thula Mntwana could be a "transit site" where people may be left without basic services until they have resided there for many years.

Helping the children and their community

Soon after the relocation Mayor Mogase set up a Task Team comprising GUIC representatives and local government officials to attend to the needs of the children.

Local government was asked in November 1997 to guarantee security of tenure and to allocate land for a community food garden and children's play-cum-educational area. This has now been granted.

During 1997, the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund (NMCF) financed a nutrition scheme. Money has been received from the Barnetimefondet and the Netherlands Embassy to develop a children's playground and creche and homework facilities on the allocated land. Staff and students from the Architecture Department at Wits University will design and build these facilities. One shipping container, purchased with Barnetimefondet funds, serves meanwhile to store NMCF food. It has become a central meeting place for women and a favourite play area for girls and young children.

At a weekend workshop, the Canaansland committee received empowerment training in community service from the Adult Basic Education and Training department at the University of South Africa (UNISA).

In an enlightened South Africa, the partnerships built between local government, researchers and the community will contribute to upholding the rights of the Canaansland children and youth.

NA & GUIC SA Directors: Jill Swart-Kruger FRAI, Peter Rich ISAA

Home Page: http://home.global.co.za/~sjk/guic.htm

Canaansland children portray
the features which are important in their daily environment

Sibusiso's home is his "castle" and the most important road from it leads to a larger-than-life toilet. Alongside is the Barnetimefondet shipping container. The water carrier is arriving and a small maize garden flourishes. The men's shebeen is in the foreground and a battery-run TV. Dominating the drawing is the city park (now 40km away) with grass, trees, swings and slide, visited daily by the Canaansland children before their relocation.


Here Zukiswa and Thulelo have drawn larger-than-life shops where they and other girls go on daily errands. A toilet and the Barnetimefondet shipping container -- which even has its contents listed -- are also dominant. The water truck is doing its rounds. The boys whom one avoids and the girls who are one's friends, are out and about. Small patches of friendly green grass grow, in contrast to the tall yellow scratchy grass in the veld where people are mugged and snakes glide.


Creating Better Cities with Children and Youth

Second Training Seminar in cooperation with the Averroès Institute for Early Child-hood Development (20-25 July 1998) 

Soesterberg, Netherlands, was the site for this one week training in conducting urban participatory research and planning with children and youth. 
Training involved: 

  • Review of basic premises of creating better cities with youth;
  • Reports by participants of project development since the first training workshop held in November 1997. This consisted of analysing for each site obstacles to development in implemention of a participatory research-action project with young people;
  • Explanation of A Methods Tourkit for involving young people in urban design;
  • Site visits to Harlem and meeting with representatives from the Youth Council.
Among those attending this MOST training were Mayors from Rwanda and the Islamic Republic of Iran, representatives from the Goteborg City Council (Sweden), a university team from Brazil, a UNICEF team from Bangladesh, the Director of UNICEF Iran, a team from Rotterdam (Netherlands). This training programme will also be given in Saïda (Lebanon), Iran and South Africa (dates to be confirmed).

Asia Pacific Migration Research Network

Second International Conference of the APMRN
Over 30 researchers and NGO officials gathered in Hong Kong earlier this year for the 2nd International Conference of the Asia Pacific Migration Research Network (APMRN). The three day conference from the 23rd to 25th February, 1998 was held at Hong Kong University with the support of the University's Center of Asian Studies.

The APMRN was formed in 1995 by the MOST Programme to study migration and ethno-cultural diversity in the Asia Pacific region. Since its inception, the APMRN has worked to develop an effective operating structure to coordinate international research initiatives. The network produces a newsletter, a working papers series, has held a number of national and international conferences and workshops on migration issues, and established a world wide website to facilitate communication amongst the eleven countries involved. The Hong Kong conference reviewed the successes of APMRN's network-building and how to advance research projects.

The main aims of the network are to produce research relevant to public policy and to advance education in migration and ethnicity issues. There are at least seven research initiatives APMRN members are collaborating on. The Korean Migration Team, for example is undertaking a four-country study investigating cross cultural labour relations and social adjustment of labour migrants. It will involve case studies of migrant community formation in Korea, and of Koreans in Vietnam, Indonesia, Philippines and China. The Aotearoa/New Zealand Migration Research Network, looking at environmental dimensions of migration is focusing on Polynesian and Pacific communities in New Zealand, Samoa, Tonga, Cook Islands, Nuie, Tokelaus and Tuvalu, researching the socio-environmental changes migrants bring to host countries. It will examine how community and environment are transformed in the migration process. This project will explore the core migrant experiences of employment and consumption and residential patterns in comparing environments and cultures.

The Asian regional economic crisis was also a key concern at the Hong Kong conference. Participants discussed the implications of the crisis for the huge number of migrants in the region, and how governments and societies were reacting to the downturn in demand for migrant labour. It is clear that while demand for migrant labour may have subsided, the desire or pressure to migrate remains. There have already been numerous reports of deportations and ethnic conflict arising from this contradiction.

Analysing the crisis will be a theme that APMRN will develop in coming months. A proposal by the Association of Asian Social Science Research Councils and supported by the APMRN will address the crisis in detail at a conference in Manila later this year.

While labour migration is still a central issue of the Network, delegates to the Hong Kong meeting outlined a number of other areas of concern. The team of researchers from Thailand, for example, recently studied HIV/AIDS and the problems of controlling the spread of such diseases in Thailand's northern border regions where population mobility is high. Border regions are especially difficult to monitor as people cross back and forth. Community formation along borders is much more transient, and conducting research and addressing migration issues is significantly harder. The Thai researchers are now planning a project assessing the educational needs of children of migrants in Thailand, focussing on the Myanmar community.

The third day of the Conference was devoted to papers on legal aspects of migration. Each of the country delegates presented a paper discussing issues of citizenship, visa regulations, illegal migrants, the protection of migrants overseas, and the social and civil rights of migrants and nationals. Comparing migration regulations and codes among the many countries of the region highlighted the complexities of regional population mobility and political processes which govern them. The papers will be published by the APMRN, available from the MOST Secretariat as of September 1998.

Overall, there were a range of positive research initiatives presented at the Hong Kong conference. There was still a need to increase multi-country collaborations and attract more substantial funding.However, it was clear from the conference that the APMRN is developing into a solid platform for cooperation with a coherent research agenda. There are other international networks and organisations doing similar work.
What distinguishes the APMRN is its approach to migration and ethnic relations issues with a longer term social scientific perspective. APMRN members can benefit from the good work being done by other organisations and extend this within a broader collaborative analytical framework for research.

N.A./P. Brownlee, APMRN Secretariat

Newly published:
APMRN Working Paper No. 3: Migration Research in the Asia Pacific Theoretical and Empirical Issues (1998). Patrick Brownlee, Colleen Mitchell (Eds.). Available from the APMRN and MOST Secretariat. E-mail: apmrn@uow.edu.a

APMRN Wins UNESCO Participation Program Grants

UNESCO's Participation Program grants are awarded to proposals from UNESCO Member States on a biennial basis. For the 1998-99 biennium, APMRN members from seven countries submitted project proposals on a range of issues related to migration and ethnicity in the Asia Pacific region. To date, five proposals have been awarded funds
  • New Zealand: 

  • International Migration and Environmental Transformations in Polynesian Communities in New Zealand and the Pacific Islands (US$26,000)
This project will assess the ways in which international migration contributes to environmental transformation in countries which are significant sources and destinations for migrants. The concept of environment is a broad one encompassing residential and workplace, as well as the more narrowly defined 'physical environment' or biosphere. Referring to the UN's de Cuellar report (1996) the project will explore the impact of migration on how "societies themselves create elaborate, culturally-rooted procedures to protect and manage their resources." 
  • Republic of Korea: 

  • International Labour Migration in the Republic of Korea: Labour Relations and Social Adjustment (US$25,000)
The Republic of Korea has experienced a migration transition from a labour importing country to an exporter of labour and capital in recent years. This timely social scientific study will focus on labour relations and social adjustment problems of Korean migrant workers abroad and of foreign workers at home. It will involve case studies and interviews of migrant worker communities and a comparative analysis of social policy and cross-cultural analysis of community attitudes to the presence of migrant workers. 

It is anticipated that the Construction and Economy Research Institute of Korea, the Korea Research Foundation and the Korean Center for Future Human Resource Studies will support the project. 

  • People's Republic of China: 

  • APMRN China Network (US$20,000) 
China has won funds to set up a formal migration research network. Migration research is a significant issue for China and is becoming more complex. It is expected that the Chinese Network will set up structures to facilitate research between institutions, including a migration research database for China. 
  • Thailand: 

  • International Migration Bibliography/Educational needs of Myanmar Migrant Children (US$20,000) 
The Asian Research Center for Migration (ARCM) at Chulalongkorn University has submitted a proposal to publish an annotated bibliography of scholarly literature on international migration concerning Thailand. Material in Thai as well as other languages will be included. The project is expected to take 1 year to complete. Within this proposal, the ARCM has also put forward a project to address the educational needs of children of Myanmar migrants. Peoples from Myanmar are the single largest group of foreign migrants in Thailand, numbering at least 800,000. The majority occupy some of the lowest paid and labour intensive jobs. Many migrants from Myanmar have family members and children with them and although their children are entitled to enrol in Thai schools, many are unable or unwilling to do so. This project aims to increase understanding of how migrant children from Myanmar interact with Thai society and ascertain what sorts of educational programs might serve them and their families best. 
  • Philippines: 
A request was approved for the Philippines for the installation of a migration data banking facility for APMRN (US$20,000). 


New Regional Migration Research Networks

As international mobility is a key factor in current social transformations throughout the world, UNESCO is launching three new migration research networks in Africa, Central and Eastern Europe and Latin America and the Caribbean.

The Regional Migration Research Networks constitutes " centres of expertise " to provide research and advisory services for policy makers on the role of migration and ethno-cultural diversity. They carry out comparative national and sub-regional research projects on various aspects of migration; develop research capacities in the regions and enhance theoretical, methodological and empirical knowledge on migration through international seminars and in-service training courses for researchers; provide high-level research and advisory services for policy-makers; and assist in raising the quality of international migration data collection.

  • Africa
The Network on Migration Research in Africa (NOMRA) launched at a regional UNESCO meeting in Gaborone, Botswana (June 1998) focuses on the complex causes of population movements, especially those related to poverty, structural adjustment programmes and migration as a survival strategy in Africa. Comparative national and sub-regional projects on emerging trends are undertaken, including increasing autonomous migration of women, return migration, and issues related to re-integration, refugee flows/asylum seekers and internally displaced populations: dimensions and the search for enduring solutions.
  • Central and Eastern Europe
The massive migration from Central and Eastern Europe which was feared by some at the beginning of the 90s has not actually occured, but international migration within the region increased considerably. As migration flows become an integral part of the economic, political and cultural life in Central and Eastern Europe, new characteristics and patterns have emerged, and new problems generated which need more intensive research and exchange of information as a basis for policy formulation. Considering the importance of emerging migration flows and the need to provide urgent policy responses, a UNESCO regional meeting of experts was convened (Moscow, 8-10 September 1998) to finalize the modalities for setting up a Network on Migration Research in Central and Eastern Europe. The report is available from the MOST Secretariat.
  • Latin America and the Caribbean
The determinants and consequences of migration in Latin America and the Caribbean have been on the agenda of policy makers and social scientists as important components of development policies and strategies. Globalization and international market-centered economic strategies have modified previous migration patterns resulting in an urgent need for exchange of knowledge, information and policy proposals on the subject. A UNESCO regional meeting was held (Santiago, Chile, 27-29 October 1998) to review emerging trends in migration at the threshold of the XXI century and to establish a Migration Research Network in Latin America and the Caribbean. S.T.

"Mercosur: spaces of interaction and integration"

Second Seminar, October 1997

The network of researchers engaged in the MOST project "Mercosur: spaces of interaction and integration" held its second meeting in Brazil in October 1997, in association with the the twenty-first congress of ANPOCS.

This MOST project is dedicated to the analysis of social transformations associated with the Mercosur agreement. The meeting had as its goals to communicate results of empirical studies undertaken since the first meeting in Buenos Aires in November 1996, and to discuss future perspectives of research in the area. Three main themes dominated the discussions.

    (1) Integration and social participation. Of particular interest were the role of the media in influencing attitudes, and the transformation of cultural identities, especially along the borders between Mercosur countries.

    (2) Modes of interaction. As would be expected, the impact of electronic technology and in particular the internet formed an important subject of debate. But also, the role of social movements in encouraging "bottom up" integration was a central issue.

    (3) Sociocultural dimensions. In this connection, gender issues, environmental questions, and the relations between economy and culture were in the foreground.

The meeting outlined directions for continued research by the network in 1998. On the substantive level, it was agreed that the themes of social movements and of borders should continue to take a central place. On the level of access to data and means of communication, it was agreed that the construction of a bibliographic database, begun in 1997, should be continued, and that electronic contacts between researchers should be maintained and extended. C.M.
Forthcoming Discussion Papers

Multicultural Policies
and Modes of Citizenship in European Cities (MPMC)

The MPMC undertakes research and comparative analyses, within selected urban contexts, of the development and interplay of "bottom-up" (community led) initiatives and "top-down" (municipality created) policies aimed at better integrating immigrant and ethnic minorities in public decision-making processes. The project, adopted by the MOST Programme in July 1996, held a seminar in Amsterdam from 9 to11 October 1997 at the Institute for Migration and Ethnic Studies (IMES) of the University of Amsterdam to further develop its research framework and organisational structure.

The seminar sought to achieve some measure of conceptual clarity in the analysis of citizenship by distinguishing between its juridical/political, socio-economic, and cultural and religious aspects. It also reaffirmed the necessity of examining the practice of citizenship and participation by studying both institutional frameworks and community actions. In order to ensure the integration of both elements into the research, and to allow for real comparativity between the studies, the model for a "City Template" was refined. The template enables researchers to pinpoint the historical, cultural, political and economic specificities of the urban context studied. It focuses on five areas: basic geographical and demographic data; relevant political structures including those specifically related to immigrant or ethnic minorities ("top-down" approach); features of the communities concerned ("bottom-up" approach); relevant existing research; and any other information supporting comparison - such as twinning arrangements between cities, or membership in inter-city policy networks.

Three groups of research teams concentrating on comparative analyses of specific themes ("clusters") were presented at the seminar. They focus on immigrant and ethnic minority organisational networks and liaison with city officials, the role of immigrant or ethnic minority politicians, and city neighbourhoods as sites of interaction amongst immigrant or ethnic minorities and autochtonous communities.

Publication of the City Templates is scheduled for the end of December 1998. Following this, preparation will begin for workshops involving municipal policy makers and partner institutions such as WOHNBUND network for Urban studies, the Council of Europe, ELAINE, Local Government Centre (UK), Fondazione Censis (Italy) and Deutsches Institut für Urbanistik (Germany). NA

MPMC and the Participation Programme:
MPMC project leaders have submitted PP requests from Italy, Greece, The Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the Kingdom of Belgium. The Netherlands and Switzerland have been awarded US$25,000 respectively. Decisions are pending for the other requests.

Negotiated Management of Societal Transformations:
National Reconciliation Pacts

This MOST project, in which a network of Egyptian, French, Italian, Lebanese, Spanish and Tunisian researchers participates, and that benefits from the financial support of the Ford Foundation, the logistic support of the UNESCO Office in Tunis and the Arab Sociological Association, is a comparative and interdisciplinary research project on the social and transcultural logic of national reconciliation pacts. National reconciliation pact is understood as a series of strategic choices that conform with values anchored in the concept of tolerance. The pact's goal is to replace, through negotiations, the violence provoked by exacerbation of the constitutive tension within all nation-states. This tension is a product of the universalistic principle of citizenship in accordance with the values of human rights, and the particularist principle of cultural identity and cultural homogeneity of nation-states.

These pacts can be formal or informal. They have in common a discourse which refers, explicitly or implicitly, to the concept of tolerance. They propose a solution of compromise that, as far as possible, takes into account considerations based on liberal principles of citizenship and human rights and those founded on antipluralist principles of nationality and national identity.

The main scientific challenge of this project is to demonstrate the transcultural character of the concepts of tolerance and human rights and of the underlying social logic within the national reconciliation pacts independently of the social-historic, social-political and social-cultural context of each pact.

To test this hypothesis, six case studies were chosen to compare three different periods during which the problem of the constitution of modern citizenship has been raised:

  • Firstly: France, the secular pact of 1905;
  • Secondly: Italy, 1948 Constitution, after the defeat of facism; Spain, the 1978 Constitution, after the end of the Franco dictatorship;
  • Thirdly: Tunisia, 1988 national pact after Bourguiba was deposed; Lebanon, 1989 El Taef pact, ending the civil war; Egypt: recent controversies (1995-1996) of the Egyptian political class concerning the elaboration of a national pact.
For more information on this project please contact
the UNESCO Office in Tunis (Social Science Adviser: Mr. Francisco Carrillo Montesinos); address: 12, rue de Rhodes, P.O. Box 363, 1002 Tunis; tel: (216-1) 79 09 47; fax: (216-1) 79 15 88.

City words

Initiated in co-operation with the French CNRS (National Centre for Scientific Research - Interdisciplinary research programme on the city), this project has been a CNRS research group since January 1995. It benefits from the support of a conglomerate of several French Ministries, the Maison des sciences de l'homme (Paris) and the Maison méditerranéenne des sciences de l'homme (Aix-en-Provence).

It is based on a network of networks involving institutions covering 12 linguistic areas: Africa, Arab States region, China, Czech Republic, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Latin America, North America, Russian Federation and Spain. The 1996 call for proposals extended the project´s international coverage. The project looks at themes such as: " Naming the new urban areas ", " Town and city, urbanism categorized ", " Socio-linguistic registers and urban language production ", " Learned and technical languages " and " City divisions ".

New publication
Volume no. 3 "Name the town and its territories" (200 pp) will be published shortly. It contains the main results of the December 1997 international seminar as well as a summary of the presentations made in each workshop.

"City words" receives
the Philip Morris Scientific Prize, 1997

The Philip Morris Scientific Prize 1997 was awarded to Jean-Charles Depaule, scientific coordinator of the MOST-CNRS project "City words", and to Gérard Chastagnaret and to Robert Ilbert, for the study undertaken on the everyday contacts, circulation and exchanges of city words in the Mediterranean based in the Maison méditerranéenne des sciences de l'homme (Aix-en-Provence). Congratulations from the MOST Secretariat! G.S.

Globalisation and Local Development

The ALFA network is currently designing a research project on " Sustainability and Development: Economic and Social Actors ". This theme is entrenched in the dual nature of current globalisation processes: on the one hand they produce homogenisation of consumer patterns and population behaviour, and on the other, they open new spaces to local level development strategies, that are culturally specific.

Globalisation reveals interesting experiments in local rural development, in which endogenous resources are mobilised in order to diversify economic activity and to offer new possibilities of employment and income generation to local residents.

The idea of sustainability - the balance between economic development, social welfare and preservation of natural resources - is present in any development strategy that seeks social legitimacy in contemporary society. Thus, development and sustainability constitute the inescapable elements of local development strategies. The principle concerns of the ALFA network are therefore to study the genesis of such development strategies, and to analyse the roles of the different economic and social actors involved.

The first meeting of the network was held in Córdoba, Spain, from 26 to 28 January 1998. The second meeting is to be held in La Sevena, Chile, in December 1998. PdG


Ethno-Net Africa

Ethno-Net Africa began its activities in 1997 by holding two workshops on "Tribalism, Nationalism and Democracy". The first was a forum held in Yaoundé, Cameroon, 1-4 September 1997, and the second a workshop held during the Annual Conference of the Pan-African Association of Anthropologists at the University of Ghana, Legon, 9-11 September 1997, in collaboration with the International Centre for Applied Social Science Research and Training (ICASSRT).

The purpose of the Yaoundé forum was to establish national networks for the study of ethnic conflicts in the Central African region. The workshop reaffirmed the objectives of the network which are: the evaluation of all forms of ethnic conflict, research capacity building, dissemination of findings and establishment of a web-site for information sharing. Participants were trained in the collection and analysis of information, including study of the significance of environmental, demographic, social and cultural factors, and the influence of education and the media. Indicators were presented for preparing the historical background to conflict, notably triggering factors and risk assessment of ethnic conflict.

The aim of the Ghana workshop was to promote the activities of Ethno-Net Africa (ENA) amongst a specialised audience.

Some of the recommendations were:

  • that studies are needed on "ethnicity, democracy and development".
  • that a UNESCO Chair on Ethnicity, Nationalism and Democracy be created in one of the universities of the Central African region.
  • that UNESCO assist Women and Youth NGOs in the region in organising more meetings of a multi-ethnic nature and field days on ethnocentrism and democracy.
  • that UNESCO work closely with the region's governments for the creation of radio and television air time through which messages on ethnic conviviality, democracy and nationalism could be disseminated, and a culture of peace promoted.
  • that comparative studies be carried out in African Member states of UNESCO on "Ethnicity, Power and Development" in order to underscore the role ethnicity has played in the course of the continent’s development.
  • that, since the future of current efforts depends on the young, capacity building should become a major activity of ENA in order to equip junior scholars with skills and competence to carry out research and to harness the positive aspects of ethnicity to build a culture of peace.
  • that each team of participants should report to their respective UNESCO national Commissions about the results of these workshops and request their support for the execution of the activities of national ENA.
  • that the network use in an optimal way new forms of technology for the dissemination of the findings of the network. In this respect it was recommended that ENA establish a web-site. NA

Globalisation and Transformation
in Rural Societies in Arab Countries

The MOST/Institut de Recherche sur le Maghreb Contemporain project on "Globalisation and Transformation in Rural Societies in Arab Countries: Comparative Research with the Northern Mediterranean Coast".

An international seminar on Rural Society in Southern Mediterranean countries was held on 15 and 16 December 1997 as part of the Centenary celebrations of the Tunisian National Agronomic Institute (INAT). Two research themes were emphasized: "Globalization from the viewpoint of rural societies and the role of organizations in managing the changes caused by globalization". The seminar also launched a network for the support of doctoral students and studies and will establish a Doctoral Program on the "Impact of Globalization on Mediterranean Rural Societies". Countries participating in this activity are Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan, Palestine, Turkey, Albany, Spain, Greece, Italy, France and Portugal. CM

Don't forget to communicate with your local media on your activities with the MOST Programme: give your scientific result a broad audience.

Circumpolar Coping Processes Project (CCPP)

The pilot phase of the MOST Circumpolar Coping Processes Project (CCPP) finished in December 1997 : nine networks have been established in Russia, Canada, Norway, Finland, Denmark, the Faroes Islands, Greenland, Iceland and Sweden. Since April 97, an electronic conference system ensures the connection between the steering committee and the research team. Today the system counts 75 participants from the different countries involved.

Four funding partners contribute to this project: the Norwegian Research Council, the North-Atlantic Committee of the Nordic Ministerial Council (NORA), the Nordic institution for promoting doctoral studies (NorFa) and the Nordic Social Science Committee (NOS-S). At the workshop in April 97, the CCPP steering committee decided that its members will financially contribute to the project. The Nordic Social Science Council supports the CCPP in its Secretariat coordination activities.

A Users-Conference was organised in Isafjordur (Iceland) on 18-22 March 98 concentrating on "Local coping strategies - a process of learning" from the perspective of local planners. In addition to the research team and the steering committee, representatives from local communities (politicians, business, public administration and voluntary organisations) joined academics in designing the research study around practical policy questions. CM

MOST and CSI (Coastal Regions and Small Islands Platform) have joined focus to support CCPP. In 1998, CCPP will choose three coastal areas and apply methodology developed in previous pilot-activities (case-studies, for instance, on fisheries in Northern Iceland, and on ecotourism in Arjeplog). CCPP members will assess living conditions and local environmental management issues with a view to guaranteeing the stakeholder´s participation in, and evaluation of, development policies, thus contributing to the elaboration of ‘wise practices’ for sustainable local development.

Last March CCPP launched its first publication entitled "Coping Strategies in the North, Local Practices in the Context of Global Restructuring", in cooperation with the Nordic Council of Ministers (Copenhagen, 1998, 227 p.). This study contributes to a deeper understanding of the ways that people living and working in circumpolar localities act and react at a time when the overall economic, environmental and political situation is undergoing important turbulence. The problems people in Isafjordur (Iceland) try to solve may be highly different from those of Batsfjord (Norway) or Digby Neck (Canada), but they all face problems related to dwindling cod resources in the Northern area. People in Vagur and Klaksvik (the Faroe Islands), in Tiriberka in the Kola Peninsula (Russia) in Uummannaq (Greenland) as well as those living in Salla, Finland or Arjeplog, Sweden, have more in common than their shared belonging to the same region: they all have vital links to the global economy; they all face a harsh climate; costs related to travel and freight are high; natural resources constitute an important economic sector; they live in small scale settlements; they have been modernized through an industrial process and the advent of the Welfare State; and finally, they are all today threatened by marginalization due to globalization and macro-economic trends

This book is available in main libraries in Europe and North America. 

For more information, please contact the MOST Secretariat.

A Conference on Social Science in Africa: 
Assessment and Prospects 

The French national commission for UNESCO and the MOST Programme are organising this meeting in February 1999 in Libreville, Gabon, with the participation of social scientists from French, English and Portuguese-speeking African countries to assess the current issues and future prospects of social science research, teaching and training in tthe continent. 
Meeting output will be proposals for capacity building in terms of research infrastructure and training. A.K.

City, environment and gender

In attempting to understand the way in which social relationships are formed and especially gender relations with regard to city environmental problems, the project presented by the Swiss Liaison Committee for MOST investigages the practices adopted by political and technical authorities to encourage the involvement of citizens in decision-making. Its purpose is to transform these relations to "build" livable places in which men and women have equal access to decision-making.

The three-prong approach suggested in the three themes of the projects´s title brings a new perspective to the problematic analysis of urban social movements. It concentrates on medium-sized towns located mainly in developing countries.

A network for implementing the project consists of research institutions in Eastern Europe, Latin America and West Africa. The project, launched with research funds from the Swiss Co-operation Department and obtained in July 1997, has an initial duration of two and a half years. The co-ordination team consisting of researchers from the University of Neuchâtel and the Institut universitaire d'études du développement, Geneva, has devoted the first stage to setting up the network and to finalizing a working method in such a way as to guarantee the coherence of the project as a whole. 

Santo Domingo: The "Alternative City"  built by
the inhabitants of La Cienaga  and Los Gandules

First international seminar at Santo Domingo

A seminar held in Santo Domingo in September 1997, united members of the network and the co-ordination team.

The meeting included field trips and interviews with inhabitants and representatives from NGOs that centered discussion around building a framework for upgrading inhabitants’ quality of life.

Overview of recent progress:

  • Argentina: Project for the improvement of underprivileged districts in the town of Campana
This project studies the role of women’s organizations, looking at the nature and role of these groups, ranging from charitable associations, movements having a history of struggle under the period of dictatorship, or to women’s organizations for the protection of the environment. Analysis is made of the types of relationships that exist between these organizations and the decision-making bodies responsible for environmental programmes.

Surveys and meetings have been completed, district workshops organized and municipal authorities fully involved. A contribution by decision-making bodies to proposed recommendations is pending. This team benefits from the co-ordination of a specialist on gender relations.

  • Brazil: Cities, environment and gender relations: the case of the Brazilian municipality of Santo André
This project focuses on a community grass-roots movement working on issues of waste, "mananciais" (water points), transportation and youth environmental education. The new municipality, seeking partnerships  within the population, is proposing a municipal management structure in favor of the most underpriviledged inhabitants and is seeking to develop experience in environmental issues.

The project site of Santo André - a city with a strong industrial base - suffers from serious social and environmental problems, and the new municipality from relatively little experience in resolving them. The key question in this site is: Given the favorable political climate of participation, will the organised grass roots movements be able to intervene in redressing some of the most important environmental issues?

The project is gaining momentum and focusing on establishing regular contact with municipal authorities and other stake-holders. Survey work is planned to begin the moment the team has sufficient human resource capacity.

  • Dominican Republic: Environmental problems in the districts of La Cienaga y Los Guandules, Santo Domingo, and relationships between men and women. Study of the participation of women in the CODECIGUA organization
Specific to this project site are problems related to the squalid living conditions in certain areas characterised by insufficient services and infrastructure; and, the employment of children by local medium and large scale industries in "free zones". Similar to the above sites, the team is analysing the role women’s organisations can or may have in the urban socio-economic and environmental transformations of the area.

A strong team is present in this country. Surveys have been carried out and the report of the first phase is available in Spanish from the MOST Secretariat.

  • Burkina Faso: Project on the management of urban waste products in Ouagadougou
This project is studying an association working in the outskirts of Ouagadougou that is run by women and collects household waste within the community. This service was designed as a reponse to the municipality’s inability to provide the service itself, and has subsequently knitted a growing partnership between the association and the municipality. Interestingly, the association has developed an environmental youth education programme, and a cost recovery system for the waste collection.

The team for this fieldwork was strengthened, questionnaires were sent to households, public services and NGOs concerned with the project’s focus. Bibliographic research meetings were held and regular internet communication is established within the team.

  • Senegal: Research-action-outlook: City, gender and environment in Pikine
The issue of urban violence in Pikine, a satellite district of Dakar, is the heart of this study that develops participative methods with women and youth to identify its causes and propose solutions. The group of youth and women are designing projects for the improvement of women’s wages, training, environmental protection and improvement of services.

This project benefits from a strong institutional backing. Interviews have been conducted and focus is on increasing the gender and environmental dimension in the empirical work.

  • Bulgaria: the challenges of a society in transition to a market society: "disurbanisation and transformation of the identity of urban women and family relationships"
The city of Lambol is the site for this study which examines the impact of the economic transition on the environment, on relations between men and women, and on family structure. Particular attention is directed toward the presence - or absence - of organizations and associations working on environmental issues in the city, bearing in mind that organizations that existed prior to the 1990s have disintegrated. Further, the role or impact of the political and economic crises on changing gender relations is equally central to this analysis.

Surveys have been carried out with families, civil servants, professional people and NGOs and bibliographic research and data gathering is underway.

Recently joining the project:

  • Romania: environmental problems in a community in Bucharest. Participation of women and gender relations (to be developed)

1. Convention on the Rights of the Child, Habitat II, Agenda 21

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