19 December 2013

Ghana Elected President of the Bureau of Unesco's Most Intergovernmental Council

press release

Ghana has been elected President of the Bureau of UNESCO's Management of Social Transformation (MOST) Programme's Intergovernmental Council.

She will be assisted by Senegal, which got the Vice Presidency slot, while Liberia will serve as Rapporteurs and La Cote d'Ivoire and Cape Verde as Vice Rapporteurs.

Hon. Nana Oye Lithur, Ghana's Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, disclosed these at the end of a two-day Forum for Ministers of Social Development for the ECOWAS countries in Accra. Nana Lithur said the active participation by representatives at the Forum was a clear manifestation of the resolve to fully support the initiative of developing a common framework for developing policies and programmes that addressed environmental change in West Africa and to use social protection to break the vicious cycle of environmental degradation in order to cushion vulnerable people from the shocks of climate change and to effectively extricate them from extreme poverty in the communities.

She said the Forum had agreed to create a strong link between research and policy, institutionalise the forum and make it a permanent platform for addressing social vulnerability, in which the ECOWAS Commission would play an active role.

In an address, Angela Melo, Executive Secretary of the MOST Programme and the Director, United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) Division for Social Inclusion and Youth, expressed appreciation for the work of researchers in the fight for social inclusion and the commitment of the Ministers of Social Development for the ECOWAS countries to the eradication of poverty and social vulnerability.

Ms Melo said the Forum had been successful, considering the long lapse between the second meeting and the just-ended one.

The first and second meetings were held in Burkina Faso and Cote d'Ivoire in January 2006 and September 2008, respectively.

The two-day Forum, dubbed 'The Forum for Ministers of Social Development for the ECOWAS countries,' was on the theme: 'Societal Vulnerability--The Social Inclusion Challenges of Environmental Change.' Organised by the Government of Ghana in collaboration with UNESCO, the Forum, discussed issues concerning the challenges and impact of environmental change on social institutions and vulnerability.

Representatives from national governments―made up of social development actors and policy makers from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), representatives from the ECOWAS Commission, United Nations (UN) entities, other inter-governmental organisations, regional research institutions and social sciences networks attended the meeting which formed part of a series of Forums of Ministers of Social Development under the auspices of the MOST Programme.

The MOST Programme is the only UNESCO programme that fosters and promotes social science research, thereby placing MOST in a pivotal position in the overall promotion of UNESCO's goals.

The overall purpose of the MOST Forums, globally, is to facilitate policy design and implementation on the basis of rigorous social science knowledge by creating an innovative space for policy-oriented dialogue involving experts and high-level decision-makers.

A Declaration at the end of the forum requested UNESCO to maintain its support consistently with the Budget (2014-2015), Programme (2014-2017) and Medium-Term Strategy (2014-2021) which were adopted by the General Conference at its 37th session in November 2013 for the series of UNESCO's MOST Ministerial Forums in Charge of Social Development for the ECOWAS countries, to be held as far as possible on a biennial basis.

The Declaration also invited UNESCO and ECOWAS to co-operate closely with a view to providing the series of UNESCO's MOST Forums of Ministers in Charge of Social Development for the ECOWAS countries with solid secretarial support, including proposing terms of reference for the functioning of the Bureau and favouring access on an on-going basis to relevant research results in the social and human sciences.

The Declaration also called on UNESCO and ECOWAS to provide support to national and regional activities, both at research and at policy level, to fulfil the objectives set in the present Declaration.

The Declaration stressed the need to be committed to effectively following up of the present Declaration, through the Bureau and in relation with UNESCO, and ECOWAS, in particular by appointing within the Ministries in charge of Social Development, a focal point for technical liaison with UNESCO and ECOWAS and by establishing, or where relevant, revitalising MOST National Liaison Committees.

It also agreed that the present Declaration should be brought to the attention of the Conference of ECOWAS Heads of State to be held in February 2014, with a view to ensuring ECOWAS's commitment to the objectives stated in the Declaration.

Source: ISD (G.D. Zaney & Karimatu Anas)

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