06.05.2009 - UNESCO Social and Human Sciences

UNESCO a partner of 1st World Social Sciences Forum in Bergen (Norway) from 10 to 12 May

The 1st World Social Science Forum, organized by the International Social Science Council (ISSC) in cooperation with the University of Bergen and the Stein Rokkan Centre and supported by more than 30 partners including UNESCO, met in Bergen (Norway) from 10 to 12 May 2009, with more than 800 participants from some 40 countries*.

Entitled “One Planet – Worlds Apart?” the conference provided a unique opportunity to discuss the relevance of social sciences in these times of crisis. There were six plenary sessions, 30 parallel sessions and a space open to young researchers, which made it possible to form links between disciplines and express very many different points of view. Among the many renowned specialists who participated in the Forum were two Nobel Prize winners: the Indian economist Amartya Sen, Nobel Prize Laureate in Economics in 1998, and Rajendra Kumar Pachauri, Chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, who shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore.

Three sessions were organized by the UNESCO Social and Human Sciences Sector.

The first, on Sunday 10 May (17.00), had the title “Migration, the missing link in globalization”. It dealt with the migration of skilled persons and the brain drain issue, social assistance and the particular health needs of migrants, as well as the concerns of States about controlling migration flows and reinforcing security, with several speakers from the United States, India, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.

The second session, organized by the World Commission on the Ethics of Scientific Knowledge and Technology (COMEST) in association with the UK Economic and Social Research Council, took place on Monday 11 May. It allowed UNESCO to promote its standard-setting framework for research ethics, especially the Recommendation adopted by the UNESCO General Conference in 1974 on the Status of Scientific Researchers; the Declaration on Science and the Use of Scientific Knowledge and the action plan adopted at the World Conference on Science, organized in 1999 in Budapest (Hungary); and other sources relevant to national and regional levels, such as Article 13 of the European Union Charter of Fundamental Rights about the Freedom of the Arts and Sciences.

A third session, organized on Tuesday 12 May by the Management of Social Transformations (MOST) Programme, was entitled “Rethinking Social Policies in Light of the Response to the Financial Crisis: How to turn Crisis into Opportunity for Social Development and Policies”. This session was co-organized with the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) of South Africa, and chaired by Pierre Sané, UNESCO’s Assistant Director-General for Social and Human Sciences. Several ministers participated, including Zola S. Skweyiya, President of the Intergovernmental Council of MOST and Minister of Social Development of South Africa, Elisabeth Walaas, Secretary of State, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway, and Hala Bsaisu Lattouf, Minister of Social Development of Jordan.

For more information:

Forum website: www.rokkan.uib.no/wssf

* Germany, South Africa, Argentina, Bangladesh, Belgium, Brazil, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, China, Costa Rica, Cuba, France, Hungary, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Ireland, Liberia, Malaysia, Malawi, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Netherlands, Peru, Qatar, Russia, Senegal, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States, Zimbabwe and the Palestinian territories. 

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