UNESCO Executive Board: controversial award delayed pending ongoing consultations
At an information meeting of UNESCO’s Executive Board on 15 June, it was agreed that consultations should continue with all concerned parties on the future of the UNESCO-Obiang Nguema Mbasogo International Prize for Research in the Life Sciences.
“I have heard the voices of the many intellectuals, scientists, journalists and of course governments and parliamentarians who have appealed to me to protect and preserve the prestige of the organization,” Irina Bokova told the Board. “I have come to you with a strong message of alarm and anxiety. I am fully aware that the Executive Board made a decision two years ago (to establish the prize), but I believe that given the changing circumstances and the unprecedented developments of the past months, we must be courageous and recognize our responsibilities for it is our organization that is at stake. Therefore I will not set a date for awarding the UNESCO-Obiang Prize for the Life Sciences.”
“I appeal to the Executive Board to continue its consultations in a spirit of mutual respect and dignity for all partners concerned, taking all recent developments into consideration, so that the issue could be addressed in a constructive way at the next session of the Board,” said the Director-General.
The next session of the Executive Board will take place from 5-22 October this year.
The UNESCO-Obiang prize was established by UNESCO’s Executive Board in September 2008 to reward projects and activities of individuals, institutions, other entities or non-governmental organizations for scientific research in the life sciences leading to improving the quality of human life. It is an annual award consisting of a medal, a diploma and a sum of $300,000 which may be divided equally between three laureates.