ISSC statement to UNESCO General Conferencepublished: November 13, 2013
On the occasion of the 37th Session of the UNESCO General Conference, the ISSC addressed member states of UNESCO.
Mr President of the General Conference, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
On behalf of Alberto Martinelli, President of the International Social Science Council, and the Council’s many members from all corners of the world, we thank you for this opportunity to address the UNESCO General Conference. Ladies and gentlemen, we live in a world of complexity; a time of converging global problems. Environmental change, poverty, inequality in its countless forms, corruption and social discontent: each one of these complex issues are intricately linked; they cannot be disentangled or addressed in isolation. Undoubtedly the biggest challenge we now face is to secure the transition of societies to global sustainability. This requires us to integrate respect for the Earth’s resources with the need for human security and global social equity. And as more people realize that meeting this challenge requires new ways of conceiving the role of science to contribute solutions, demand for social science knowledge is increasing.
The International Social Science Council, working strategically with our colleagues in UNESCO’s Social and Human Sciences Sector, is taking bold and decisive steps to respond to these demands. Our mission is to advance the global presence, authority and capacities of the social, behavioural and economic sciences; we use flagship activities to strengthen them to help solve global problems. In the last year, the ISSC has prepared the second edition of its World Social Science Report on the theme “Changing Global Environments”. The report is co-published with UNESCO and the OECD and we are proud to announce that it will be launched during this General Conference on 15 November, at 12:00, in room XII. You are all warmly invited. Just a few weeks ago, in mid-October, we organized the second World Social Science Forum, in Montréal, Canada, on the question of “social transformations and the digital age”, with 800 participants from 60 countries. We thank UNESCO for its patronage of the event. Finally, we have expanded our World Social Science Fellows programme, designed to build capacity to produce international research collaborations on topics of global concern, focusing on postdoctoral researchers from around the world.
In the next three years, the ISSC will:
- Continue to focus on social transformations and sustainability — establishing, in January 2014, a new global social science research funding programme
- Throw a spotlight on how issues of poverty and inequality intertwine with the social dynamics of global environmental change. The 2015 World Social Science Forum in Durban, South Africa, will be on “Changing Global Relations for a Just World”. The World Social Science Report in 2016 will tackle the questions of poverty and inequality.
The ISSC is looking forward to a fruitful and productive collaboration with UNESCO and the national delegations for these and other initiatives.
Thank you very much.