03.04.2012 - ODG

Irina Bokova: Harness the power of science to empower people

© Jean Bosco Ki - UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova visiting the Africa on the move exhibition with President of Kenya Mwai Kibaki and Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology Margaret Kamar, April 2012

On 3 April, UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova opened the Ministerial Conference in the framework of the First Africa Forum on Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) for Youth Employment, Human Capital Development and Inclusive Growth. The Ministerial Conference was held in Nairobi, was also opened by the President of Kenya, Mwai Kibaki, the President of the African Development Bank Donald Kaberuka, and the Vice-President of the African Union Commission, Erasmus Mwencha.

In her speech to the Ministerial Conference, the Director-General called for “more effective linkages between science and policy,” and underlined the “need for an integrated scientific research agenda to harness the power of science for sustainable development”. “Science is the engine, fuel and accelerator for sustainable development”, said Irina Bokova. “This is the message I will bring to Rio+20”.  

The Forum, hosted by the Kenyan government through its Ministry of Higher Science and Technology, brought together more than 500 experts and policy-makers as well as 57 Ministers. It is a major opportunity to join scientific forces for Africa and to prepare for the UN conference Rio + 20.

The Forum was organized by UNESCO with the African Union Commission (AU), African Development Bank (AfDB), the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), and the Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA).   

The objective is to highlight the importance of STI strategies in propelling sustainable and inclusive growth and development in Africa. The Forum sought also to facilitate the sharing of experiences and best practices in strengthening STI mechanisms, to design more effective national and regional policies for the promotion of science and technology, harness the role of innovation for entrepreneurship, youth employment and the participation of women.

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