01.07.2008 -

UNESCO Venice Director introducing the SEE Higher Education, Science and Innovation Policy Forum

Engelbert Ruoss, Director, UNESCO Venice Office's Opening speech to South Eastern European Higher Education, Science and Innovation Policy Forum to be held in Budva (Montenegro) over 1-3 July 2008


UNESCOVENICE News (Montenegro) 1/07/2008 :

"Your Excellency, dear Ministers, dear representatives and dear participants

I have the great honour to welcome you on behalf of UNESCO Director General and the Assistants Director General for Science and Education to the first outstanding conference in Montenegro, which joined the UNESCO the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization as its 193rd member state in 2007.

In a very short period Montenegro and UNESCO have established an intensive cooperation and we are eager to present shortly today measurable results. The conference here in Budva is a further step towards reaching sustainable development of the South East European countries, their integration into the European Community and the strengthening of regional and international cooperation.

Building the future through Science, Higher Education and Innovation represents a major challenge for all countries, and especially for South Eastern European (SEE) countries. In fact, during the last years the SEE sub-region has been marked by profound, even dramatic process of transformations that have led to the emergence of substantially different societies and economies. In these processes Science, Higher Education and Innovation appears to act as an effective tool in facing national and regional challenges such as improving the quality of life, environmental sustainability, health conditions, economic stabilization and growth as well as integration into European and world cooperation.

The transformation of society, which is a common feature of almost all countries of South-Eastern Europe, has given additional weight to the role of national policy, which now has a new opportunity to contribute with its legislative work on S&T issues to the common task of bringing enhanced economic and social progress in the entire region. The task ahead for SEE countries is the adoption of reforms that address new dimensions of Science, higher Education and Innovation systems and by means of this also, the responsibility for directing the entire development of societies.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Modern Science, Higher Education and Innovation governance is characterised nowadays, at national and international levels, by a number of serious challenges for policy-making, such as: • understanding and managing the complexity and uncertainty of science; • responding to a new environmental, ethical and societal demands that require a reorientation of R&D efforts as well as new approaches; • finding an appropriate balance between public and private funding of R&D efforts; • ensuring an adequate infrastructure for the development of science and technologies as well as the free flow and exchange of scientific information; • improve science and technology policy’s coherence and consistence through finding new forms of interaction between the scientific community, policy makers and society as well as new institutional arrangements between the different areas of governance • creating participatory processes in S&T decision-making, involving a large number of partners integrating both the infra-national and supra-national dimensions; • integrating future oriented, creative, non-linear thinking in decision making.

By re-establishing links between science and society as a means of coping with public fears and concerns, countries can address an increasing number of issues that require extensive knowledge of S&T for effective legislative process. These include issues on environment, new information and communication technologies, agriculture, energy, health care, to name a few.

Uncertainty and management of risk became fundamental components of the relationship between science and governance. Decision making needs to be able to cope with the fragmentation of the knowledge, which is an ever-important characteristic of the emerging environment. [...]"

Read [full introduction] in which Mr Ruoss briefly explains the above concepts.




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