Second meeting of the Working Group on Foresight and Anticipation_ by chenboying



I. Participation Meeting was chaired by Hans d’Orville, ADG/BSP. Were also present: Abdul Waheed Khan (ADG/CI); Patricio Bernal (ADG/IOC); Douglas Nakashima and Tony Marjoram (SC); Astrid Gillet (ED); Philippe Ratte (CLT); Brigitte Colin (SHS); Anne Laure Folly-Reimann (BFC); Abdourahamane Diallo (AFR); Ranwa Safadi, Othilie du Souich and Veronica Rovegno, Caroline Descombris (BSP).

II. Introduction by ADG/BSP The agenda of the meeting was adopted and the minutes of the previous Steering Committee meeting were approved without amendments. ADG/BSP informed the members of the Steering Committee that the programme of foresight is taking a new direction and dimension with more focus on intersectoriality and a closer collaboration with and among Programme Sectors. Activities to be undertaken by the intersectoral platform on Anticipation and Foresight will henceforth specifically respond to Sectors’ needs and expectations. ADG/BSP also indicated that a budget of approximately US$ 285.000 budget was available for programming in the context of the platform in 2009. This amount will largely be used for intersectoral initiatives, to be complemented by additional funds from Programme Sectors, as appropriate. He also indicated that certain activities earlier envisaged under the Foresight Programme, such as the publication of the 4th Anthology of the 21st Century Talks, would no longer be pursued so as to preserve funds for intersectoral projects. Instead, these texts will be made available on the FOR website only.

III. Summary of conclusions by the Steering Committee The Steering Committee agreed during the meeting that in 2009 five main themes/activities of an intersectoral relevance shall be pursued under the auspices of the Platform on Anticipation and Foresight: 1. Creation of a new series “UNESCO Future Forum”, with the first edition to be devoted to “The global financial and economic crisis: what impact on multilateralism and UNESCO?”. This event will be held at UNESCO on 2 March 2009; 2. Future challenges in knowledge acquisition and sharing (through ICTs), led by CI; 3. “Foresight for development” project, suggested by SC, to promote foresight in science, engineering and innovation for international cooperation and development; 4. Reflection and eventual follow up to themes emerging from the “International Experts Meeting on Sustainable Development of the Artic in the Face of Global Climate Change: Scientific, Social, Cultural and Educational Challenges”, 3-6 March 2009, Monaco – led by SC and IOC;


5. Pursuit of three separate events, led by ED, around the themes:: a. What is the role of formal education and of teachers in view of ICT developments? b. The meaning of education for sustainable development in view of climate change, scarce resources, urbanization, violence, gender discrimination etc. c. Lifelong learning in view of longer lives, the changing nature of employment and work and the changing age structure of societies.

IV. Specific features of the future programme and next steps 1. UNESCO Future Forum on the Global financial and economic crisis This is the first in a new series of UNESCO foresight events, which the Steering Committee agreed to label “UNESCO Future Forum”. Following the approval of the Director-General, a one-day Forum will be organised on 2 March 2009 at UNESCO on the impact of the global financial and economic crisis on multilateralism and UNESCO. After the introduction by the DG and one or two keynote speakers, four sequential panels with international experts will be scheduled: a) The Impact of the Global Financial and Economic Crisis on Developing Countries, in particular in Africa, and the Prospects for Attaining the Internationally Agreed Development Goals, including the MDGs; b) Investing out of the crisis – in Education, Social Services, Science and Knowledge ; c) The Potential Impact of the Global Financial and Economic Crisis on Women and Gender Equality; d) What Impact of the Global Financial and Economic Crisis on Climate Change and Prospects for Green Economy ?

The provisional budget earmarked for the Forum ranges between US$ 70.000USD and 100.000, depending on the origin of the expert speakers who will accept to make presentations. Members of the Steering Committee also suggested that other dimensions be addressed during the Forum, such as: - the relationship between the financial crisis and science and engineering, so as to focus on the potential contribution by innovation and technology in a time of crisis;. - Focusing on the crisis of civilisations and the lack of diversity that prevailed in the globalisation processes – to be informed by input from CLT. This calls also for moral and ethical considerations – to be informed by input from SHS. Moreover, thought could be given that the present juncture might offer a new beginning, similar to the time when the United Nations was created following WW II. Next steps: - CLT and SHS were invited to prepare brief notes developing input from their vantage points in a more concrete manner; - The Steering Committee will review end of January/early February the preparation of the UNESCO Future Forum and provide advice on final adjustments and adaptations, including visibility and outreach to FOs and an audience at large. - The target audience of the Forum would be UNESCO staff, permanent delegations, NGOs, media and outside public.


2. Forum event on future challenges in knowledge acquisition and sharing (through ICTs) ADG/CI proposed a one-day Forum project on the theme of “Future challenges in knowledge acquisition and sharing” as a result of the evolution and pervasiveness of ICTs. He emphasized the serious need for UNESCO to reflect on the dramatic changes caused by ICTs and referred to the Kronberg Declaration as a key reference document, which could guide the preparation of a Forum event. During the debate it was agreed that the Forum should be an occasion for reflection and discussion aimed at the implications of the new technologies facing. The best international experts in the field should be invited to present their findings, views and visions at this event, which could also be seen as a specific follow-up to one of the chapters/recommendations in the UNESCO World Report Towards Knowledge Societies as well as offer a focus on the future of life-long learning.. The next steps: - The theme should also be conceived in the context of CONFINTEA VI, which will be held in May 2009; - The Forum should be organised at the latest by April 2009, so that its conclusions could be fed into CONFINTEA VI; - CI should accordingly refine its proposal, timeframe and propose an estimated budget, which would be supported also by resources from BSP/FOR. - The target audience of the Forum would be UNESCO staff, permanent delegations, NGOs and media. 3. Reflection and eventual follow-up to themes identified by the International Expert Meeting on Sustainable Development of the Arctic in the Face of Global climate Change (3-6 March 2009, Monaco) The current Arctic debate, although highly political, has considerable intersectoral implications and thus connects UNESCO expertise directly to issues related to the Arctic ecology and indigenous people or international water/territory considerations. Scientific approaches will be critical and could eventually translate into a UNESCO-led Arctic-specific normative text or initiatives – to be led by SC and IOC. The Steering Committee noted that UNESCO could also reflect on how media and journalists might best be involved in this – and more generally, other - science-related events. ED proposed that efforts could also be made to link the results of that Expert Group directly with the World Conference on Education for Sustainable Development, to be held in Bonn in late March 2009. The next steps: - SC and IOC were invited to present a focus note with a clear emphasis on the consequences of the impact of climate change on the Arctic from a UNESCO vantage point and propose a potential list of speakers that could be invited for a ½ day event – drawing to the extent possible on the results of the Monaco meeting and on experts already involved.


4. “Foresight for development” project to promote foresight in science, engineering and innovation for international cooperation and development SC presented the Steering Committee with a project sketch aimed at promoting foresight in science, engineering and innovation for developing countries, especially in Africa, to which the intersectoral platform could contribute with the design and development of databases and specific toolkits. It has however felt that the proposed format might be too detailed and ambitious and that a scaled-down proposal should be presented at a future Steering Committee meeting, together with a realistic budget estimate. The next steps: - SC is invited to develop a more specific project with an emphasis on methodologies and prepare also a revised outline for a related suggestion of convening an “International Forum on Science and Technology Futures: Science Fiction and Foresight, Policy and Planning” (one-day event).

V. Next meeting End of January/early February 2009.


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