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Address delivered during FORUM III

by H.E. Professor Yehia M. AL-SHABI
Minister of Education of Yemen

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In the name of the Government of the Republic of Yemen, it is an honor and a source of pleasure for me to greet the convening of the World Conference on Science under the auspices of UNESCO and the International Council of Science, and which is gratefully hosted by the Hungarian Academy.

This Conference represents humanity’s conscience. It also personifies the hope of the nations of the world for developing life by realizing prosperity, establishing and protecting justice, strengthening the foundations of peace, disseminating the principles of human fraternity and strengthening the foundations of international co-operation. This is to be achieved through the upgrading of the human being’s capabilities and skills through education, science and research. This should seek to express the human being’s relations with the natural environment by developing cognizance of its wealth and the wise devotion thereof for the benefit of the human being. This should be followed by valuable care for the scientist and rationalizing his moral conduct. This ought to be through honest culture and creative thought that expresses relations between the scientist and the social environment. It should be the formulation of sound relations within the international community based on common understanding, mutual respect and responsible appreciation for the rights and duties of nations. This has to be effected in a manner that leads to the disappearance of the reasons behind material conflict, motivations for intellectual bigotry, and manifestations of social differentiation. Thus is peace that builds and develops life is realized and is protected in consciences and minds. This is our common mission.

For the first time in the history of humanity, time and place retreat before the human being’s potentials and strivings. A gigantic global civilization depending on the scientific and technological revolution is founded. It establishes a unique human symmetry of perceptions, values, purposes, relations and means. The international organizations and the world community are one of its features. Such unique specifics of this global civilization have led to the human race sharing a common existence and a single destiny. Thus, the new problems are of the same global level as regards their nature and size. The astounding differences have clarified within the context of this civilization and its values that have adopted human rights, its spheres and levels, reality and the possible, and the possible and that, which should be. The gap between the strong and the weak, the rich and the poor and the exploited and the exploiters has widened.

Today, the world has become a big global village whose people reconcile and differ. However, it remains a village that is crushed by contradictions of all types. If this age is the age of groupings, then and for the same reason it is the age of blocs and the age of solutions as well. This is so because these problems are general. The rich and the powerful have their problems as well and these cannot be separated from the problems of the poor and the weak within the comprehensive objective of dealing with such problems.

To traverse the difficult stage of travail to the birth of the New World of the twenty first century has to be based on prosperity, justice and security. This is dependent on genuine and wise international co-operation in the spheres of comprehensive development and perpetual peace. This will not be realized except through the reinforcement of partnerships between scientific circles, governments, international organizations, industry and society in the twenty first century.

Today’s world confronts various increasing disparities on all fronts. This contributes to the arousing of new tensions and disputes. It is now noted that more complexity and difference now characterize the patterns of disparity and inequity. If we wish to cite one example from among numerous ones that feature this situation on the international plane, we can cite that 20% of humans account for 86% of total private consumption. It is also noted that education, culture and health services and other elements of human and social prosperity are characterized by ill distribution on an increasing scale. In general, it is noted that while the nations more advanced on the industrial front have built for themselves a strong capability in the fields of scientific research and technological renovation, the other countries – and they are the majority – still struggle to solve the basic problems of their populations. The disparate capabilities of countries and regions to keep pace with scientific and technological change are a matter that threatens with increased imbalance in benefiting from scientific knowledge and technological expertise. This is apart from the doubling of environmental problems and so on.

It can be said that UNESCO has born the human mission with capability and courage since its inception. It has rendered humanity invaluable services in defense of human rights. In this it has qualified the human being wherever he may be without discrimination or differentiation. It has based this on his cultural values and civilization heritage. It has built his knowledge and prepared him through scientific experience. It has strengthened the freedom of thought and expanded the sphere of international co-operation between the member states, regional and international organizations and other scientific bodies.

Developing societies represent the overwhelming majority of contemporary humanity from the geographic and population aspects. They are the ones who pay the price of the scientific and technological revolution. They bear its effects and lag behind in benefiting from and enjoying its fruits. Its spiritual and cultural values, political existence and social and economic standards are subjected to far-reaching dangers. They are in need of developing their human and material resources to realize justice and establish the foundations of peace among nations.

We, in Yemen, belong to these societies. Our people struggle in various fields to confront the challenges facing civilization. To realize that we enlist the help of regional and international co-operation to support the building of our scientific capabilities and ensure comprehensive development.

It is imperative that the advanced nations set aside their present reservations as regards the transfer of technology to the developing countries. It is essential that they provide more aid to the developing world to improve its industrial base. This will create the need for technological knowledge and better scientific education. However, to retain the developing world as a market for the products of the industrialized world can only be self-defeating and counter-productive. There is dire need for a change in perceptions and stands. This should permit greater industrial advance in the developing countries. The donor states and organizations can play a crucial role in developing scientific and technological knowledge in the developing world if they rid themselves of their unfounded fears. There is much benefit for all and there is much to be done by all.

International co-operation should be based on give and take. Arab civilization has much to give and it needs much that is with the world. It practices the life of international co-operation with objectivity, toleration and genuine will.

In conclusion, I express my government’s support for the Declaration on Science the Use of Scientific Knowledge and the Science Agenda – Framework for Action. Indeed, there is an affirmed and necessary need for a new commitment for the twenty first century. Mr President, we affirm to you that the principles and proposals incorporated in the Declaration and the Agenda will receive our sincere attention and together we shall do all that we can to implement them.


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