Ministers from Southeast Europe to speak with one voice to further regional science agenda
Ministers and high-level representatives responsible for science in Southeast Europe have agreed on the importance for South-East Europe of speaking with one voice at the European level on issues of consensus, in order to further their common objective of integrating the European Research Area.
Meeting in Sarajevo on 23 November for a Ministerial Roundtable on Science, Technology and Innovation organized jointly by the Ministry of Civil Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the UNESCO Regional Bureau for Science and Culture in Europe (Venice, Italy), the ministers issued a Declaration in which they commit to coordinating their positions prior to meetings at the European Commission in Brussels, in order to push through macro-regional agendas.
The ministers acknowledge the relevance of the European Union (EU) Framework Programmes and other EU funding schemes, as well as the activities of UNESCO and other international organizations, for developing scientific collaboration and synergies among South-East European countries. In this regard, the ministers acknowledge the continuous support and encouragement provided by UNESCO for the creation and development of scientific collaborative networks in fields of high regional importance.
The ministers also ‘welcome the opportunity afforded by UNESCO to Member States from Southeast Europe to meet periodically to discuss major issues in science technology and innovation and higher education policies.’ Indeed, this was the eighth in a series of high-level meetings organized by UNESCO’s Venice Office within the Venice Process. This process was launched in 2001 by UNESCO to build scientific cooperation between Southeast Europe and the rest of Europe, in order to prepare countries for integration into the European Research Area.
The joint declaration that outlines a roadmap for developing priorities at both national and regional levels and enhancing the science-policy-society interface based upon equity, inclusion, participation and knowledge-sharing.
Acknowledging that science transcends political borders, enhancing cooperation and acting as a catalyst for consolidating stability in Southeast Europe, the ministers commit to strengthening regional cooperation in science, technology and innovation.
The joint declaration highlights the role played by UNESCO’s Venice Office as a neutral broker in the region. For more than a decade, the office has encouraged the development and implementation of effective regional research policies, as well as infrastructure development and collaborative networks for qualitative science communication. In this regard, the UNESCO office has published a series of titles.
In Sarajevo this month, Gretchen Kalonji, UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Natural Sciences, attended the Ministerial Round Table and, together with Sredoje Novic, Minister of Civil Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina, chaired the encounter.
Ministers of Science and Education from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro and the Republic of Srpska also took the floor, as did the Deputy Minister from The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and the State Secretary of Serbia. Senior ministerial advisors and high-level dignitaries representing Albania, Bulgaria and Romania also spoke, as did the ambassadors of Greece and Turkey. Also present at the event were representatives of Austria, Italy and Switzerland, along with representatives of European and international organizations, including the European Commission.
The Ministerial Roundtable received support from the State Secretariat for Education and Research within the Swiss Federal Department of Home Affairs, the Italian Government and the Austrian Development Agency.
- South-eastern Europe to harmonise its science policy, innovation (Chemistry World, 29 November 2012)
- Moldova slashes science funds (Scilogs blog, 29 November 2012)
- SEE countries announce joint declaration on science policy (Today’s Zaman, 30 November 2012)
For background, see also: Ministers from Southeast Europe to discuss collaboration in STI (UNESCO, 12 November 2012)