Extra-ordinary session of the Intergovernmental Council (IGC) of the Management of Social Transformations (MOST) Programme

19 October 2005
from 9:30 a.m. to 12 a.m., Room XIII, Bonvin Building, UNESCO Headquarters

Agenda and timetable [PDF, 14 KB]

Following the Recommendations adopted by the IGC member-states at the sixth and seventh session of the MOST Intergovernmental Council (Documents 166 EX/41, 32 C/ Rep/18 and 33 C/Rep 18), the IGC structure and governance for MOST Phase 2 was considerably strengthened. Consequently, the member states approved, at the seventh MOST IGC session (25–27 July 2005, Paris), the proposal to proceed to Bureau elections right after completion of the elections to the subsidiary organs of the 33rd General Conference. An extra-ordinary session of the IGC will therefore be held, in line with Article III of the Statutes of the MOST IGC that foresees that: “The Council… may meet in an extraordinary session at the request of the Director-General, of the majority of its members, or by decision of the Bureau.”

The extraordinary session of the IGC was convened in the context of the 33rd General Conference of UNESCO, with the aim to provide the new member states with an “IGC MOST identity”; and to elect the new President as well as the new IGC Bureau members 2005-07. 17 seats on the 35-member Committee were filled by election on Monday, October 18. The incoming members are Afghanistan, Belgium, Congo, Costa Rica, Egypt, Israel, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Malaysia, Morocco, the Dominican Republic, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Thailand, Uganda, Uzbekistan and Venezuela.

The session was opened by Mr Koichiro Matsuura, Director General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization and provided an opportunity to salute the work of the outgoing IGC. Describing the MOST Programme as an “international platform”, the opening address [PDF, 18 KB] by the Director General of UNESCO underlined the growing necessity to provide decision-makers at all levels with relevant data and quality research results sensitive to the implications of research for enhanced policies. In this context, M. Matsuura expressed his conviction that “the MOST Programme has real potential to add a distinctive dimension to the social science research/policy-making nexus”.

After the Director-General, the outgoing IGC President, Professor Arie de Ruijter, Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities of University of Tilburg, The Netherlands, recalled [PDF, 34 KB] the 8 years during which he held different offices with MOST. During his last office, as IGC Chairperson (2003-2005), he led the programme into its new life cycle (2004-2013), after the thorough evaluation undertaken in 2002/03.

During the following election process, Dr. Zola S. Skweyiya, Minister of Social Development from South-Africa, was elected to the presidency of the Intergovernmental Council (IGC). Dr. Zola S. Skweyiya is the first African holding this office in the MOST Programme. He was born in 1942 and joined the African National Congress (ANC) at the age of 14, in the year when Nelson Mandela was arrested and tried for treason (1956). He has a doctorate in law from the University of Leipzig (1978). Dr Skweyiya established the ANC office in Addis Abeba (Ethiopia) and represented the ANC at the Organization of African Unity from 1982 to 1985 and at the United Nations Commission for Human Rights from 1984 to 1993. On returning from exile in 1990, he chaired the ANC Constitution Committee and participated in the ANC Negotiations Commissions. He is a former Chairperson of the United Nations Commission for Social Development. Dr Skweyiya was Minister of Public Service and Administration from 1994 to 1999 and has been Minister of Social Development since 1999. He is a member of the Steering Committee of the “International Forum on the Social Science-Policy Nexus”, the MOST flagship activity to be held at Buenos Aires, Cordoba, Rosario and Montevideo simultaneously, in February 2006.

The ensuing election of the MOST IGC Bureau led to a new composition for the term of office 2005-2007. 

The agenda of this extra-ordinary session was also comprising the presentation of the final evaluation report [PDF, 1014 KB] on the MOST National Liaison Committees; and an update on preparations for the International Forum on the Social Science – Policy Nexus, which will meet in Argentina and Uruguay from February 20 to 24 2006.

During the final discussion, numerous representatives from member states took the floor to express their appreciation for the reorientation of the MOST programme; and their interest in close cooperation. Cooperation has been greatly revived through the “formative evaluation exercise” on and with the MOST National Liaison Committees, undertaken in 2005 by the officially appointed evaluator, Professor Dumitru Chitoran. Representatives from member states also warmly congratulated H.E. Dr. Zola S. Skweyiya to his election as Chairperson of MOST.

No decision was required at the end of this extra-ordinary session.

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