4th World Science Forum "Knowledge and Future"

World of Science 2009

© Hungarian Academy of Sciences

From 5 to 7 November 2009, UNESCO organized the fourth World Science Forum in Budapest (Hungary), in cooperation with the Hungarian Academy of Science (HAS), International Council for Science (ICSU) and the Academy of Sciences for the Developing World (TWAS), among other partners. The Forum marked the tenth anniversary of the World Conference on Science for the 21st Century: A new Commitment, convened by UNESCO and ICSU in Budapest in 1999.

The theme of this World Science Forum was a 10-year review of the follow-up to the World Conference on Science. Within its Science Agenda-Framework for Action, the World Conference on Science made a series of recommendations for instigating a new ‘social contract’ for science in the twenty-first century. While ten years after their adoption the Declaration on Science and the Use of Scientific Knowledge and Science Agenda - Framework for Action (1999), remain visionary documents guiding policy makers through the world, the time has now come to take stock of what has been achieved as well as to assess the accomplishments and drawbacks of the follow-up process. Therefore, in order to assess policy changes in UNESCO Member States concerning scientific research and innovation and higher education, UNESCO prepared a questionnaire, which was used to identify current challenges and define orientations for future action.

The information supplied was analysed and compiled for the comprehensive review and assessment which was presented at the two major events organized by UNESCO in 2009: the “World Conference on Higher Education: The New Dynamics of Higher Education” that was held in Paris from 6 to 8 July 2009 and the “World Science Forum, Budapest+10” that took place in Budapest from 5 to 7 November 2009.

Every two years, the World Science Forum provides a platform for international debate among leading scientists, policy-makers, non-governmental organizations, educational institutions and research bodies, leaders of culture and industry, and the general public. Keynote speakers initiate discussion on science-related themes which is then further encouraged by follow-up sessions.

The theme of the Forum in 2007 was “Investing in Knowledge: Investing in the Future”. A ‘Heads of State Panel’ addressed the issue of the Responsibility for Future Generations, while separate sessions focused on such topics as Science and Innovation as a Global Enterprise or Investment in Knowledge of our Environment. UNESCO and the Academy of Sciences for the Developing World organized a session on The Role of Science, Technology and Innovation in achieving the Millennium Development Goals: from Policy to Action.

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