MOST Regional and Sub-Regional Forums of Ministers of Social Development
In the framework of its Management of Social Transformations (MOST) Programme, UNESCO is serving as a facilitator for regular gatherings of Ministers of Social Development.
- Latin America
- the Caribbean
- Countries belonging to the Southern African Development Community (SADC)
- Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS)
- Countries belonging to the East African Community (EAC)
- South Asian countries
- Maghreb Region, Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon
The 12th session of the Intergovernmental Council of the Management of Social Transformations (MOST) Programme (1-2 June 2015, UNESCO Paris, France) adopted 11 decisions in which decision 5 “Reaffirms the flagship status of MOST Ministerial Forums as essential mechanisms to promote the link between science and policy decision-making, knowledge production, and mobilization, and encourages Member States to host and support their future organization and to promote effective follow-up of their decisions”.
The recommendations of the 10th session of the MOST Intergovernmental Council (March 2011, UNESCO Paris, France) stress the importance of enabling co-production of knowledge.
In line with these recommendations, the Forum of Ministers provides a platform for constructive dialogue between Ministers, researchers and other stakeholders that will identify research and policy trends, gaps and priorities for the region in which a Ministerial Forum takes place.
The MOST Forum of Ministers for Latin America was first institutionalized in 2004 in Peru. Since 2006, the Forums of Ministers created in Latin America have been spread to seval other regions (the Caribbean, the East (EAC) and West (ECOWAS ) African region, the Arab region and the South Asian (SAARC) region). This has been a step by step process, initiated by UNESCO’s Member States, with the support of the MOST Secretariat encouraging individual Member States to launch this initiative in their respective regions.
Objectives of the Regional Forums of Ministers of Social Development
The Regional and Sub-regional Forums of Ministers in charge of Social Development enable Ministers to meet and exchange their experiences on social development issues, as well as to dialogue with researchers and other important stakeholders in social development, including the UN system.
The goal of this process is to facilitate and support social policy formulation and enhanced capacity for integrated development planning. The Forum of Ministers is highly relevant in supporting Member States' responses to address major social transformation challenges, through evidence-informed policy-making.
The Forums of Ministers of Social Development provide:
- A space for regional dialogue at Ministerial level, and with the participation of social scientists, on regional social policy strategies;
- A platform enabling the exchange of experiences and successful practices in national policies;
- Opportunities for co-production of knowledge through presentations by, and discussions among, several key stakeholders;
- Opportunities to identify research gaps needed for social policies;
- Opportunities to influence international debate and policy formulation.
Expectations and outcome of the Forums of Ministers
The main outcome of each MOST Regional Forum of Ministers takes the form of a written Ministerial Declaration.The Declaration should provide:
- An overview of the key policy concerns and priority issues in terms of the theme of the Forum;
- Succinct policy recommendations for follow-up/implentation at regional and national level. It might also assign specific responsabilities, e.g. to specific Member States, researchers, the MOST secretariat and/or regional bodies or members of the UN system.
The follow-up of the recommendations of the Forum of Ministers is crucial to ensure that the political commitment, informed by research, is translated into tangible action and results.
- Cecilie Golden, c.golden(at)unesco.org, Tel.: 33 (0)1 45 68 45 23