Home page Help page Preferences page
Search for specific termsBrowse by ThemesBrowse by Geographical RegionBrowse by MOST DocumentsBrowse by How ToBrowse alphabetical list of titles

MOST Newsletter No. 8
Open this page in a new windowDon't highlight search terms

MOST Newsletter
No. 8 - June 1997
also available in
French and in Spanish

Table of contents


The First Three Years of MOST in Retrospect and Prospect

UNESCO's Management of Social Transformations (MOST) Programme has just completed its third year of existence, having formally launched its activities in March 1994. It was created with the twin goals of (a) improving understanding by generating policy-relevant knowledge, on three major issues of our time: multi-ethnic and multi-cultural societies; cities; and local-global relatedness, and (b) improving the communication between social researchers and decision-makers. The Programme is steered by an Intergovernmental Council and an independent Scientific Steering Committee. The co-ordination is provided by a small secretariat co-ordinates the Programme from the UNESCO Headquarters and national MOST Liaison Committees (to this date established in 40 countries) relate the Programme to national social science and policy communities.

Three busy years, devoted to the establishment and initiation of MOST operations, began with an information campaign on the Programme. Research and policy issues were mapped out, through a series of regional and sub-regional consultative meetings between social science researchers and representatives from the policy communities in different regions of the world. Western Europe and North America were covered through separate meetings: on multiculturalism (Ottawa); on cities (Vienna); and on local-global issues (Paris). Other thematic meetings were held in Tromsø (Norway) on problems specific to circumpolar countries; in Helsinki on strategies to develop MOST activities; in Roskilde (Denmark) on social development; in Istanbul, during the HABITAT II Summit, on cities; in Frankfurt on sustainability as a social science concept; in Costa Rica on poverty and social exclusion; in Lausanne on governance; in Hong-Kong and Tokyo on globalization and Asian mega-cities; and in Ankara on social science and decision-making. Over this period, research network workshops also took place as needed within the framework of accepted MOST projects.

The Scientific Steering Committee evaluated 110 project proposals and 20 comparative research networks (CRNs) were established to work on the following issues:

  • Monitoring Ethnic Conflict In Central And Eastern Europe;
  • Ethnicity And Conflicts In Africa;
  • Citizenship And Multi-Culturalism In Europe;
  • Democratic Governance In Multicultural Societies In Central Asia;
  • Migration And Ethno-Cultural Diversity In The Asia-Pacific Region;
  • Terminological Clarification For Multi-Cultural And Multi-Ethnic Societies;
  • Social Transformations And The Environment In Cities;
  • Socially Sustainable Cities;
  • Urban Industrial Growth And Global Economy In South Asia;
  • Cities, The Environment And Gender;
  • Growing Up In Cities;
  • City Words: Speaking Of Cities;
  • Strategies For Coping With Social Transformations In Central And Eastern Europe;
  • The Socio-Cultural Impact Of MERCOSUR Integration In Latin America;
  • Institutional Reform For Social Policies In Latin America;
  • Coping With Globalization In Circumpolar Regions;
  • Social Transformations Associated With Drug-Trafficking;
  • Globalization And Transformation In Rural Societies In Arab Countries;
  • Comparative Study Of The History Of National Industrialization Policies;
  • Sustainability And Sustainable Development Policies.

Representatives from the policy community were involved in the planning of the projects with social scientists. The Programme has both a Policy Paper and Discussion Paper series. Intermediary results of the on-going project have started to be published.

In partnership with three research programmes in the natural sciences - MAB, IHP and CSI -, the MOST programme injects a social science dimension into several joint activities in ecology, hydrology, coastal zones and small islands, urban governance, fresh water resources, and socio-economic revitalization of historical city centres.

An Internet MOST Clearing House was established for information exchange. It now comprises specialized data bases on Best Practices against poverty and exclusion and a discussion forum on ethical issues in social science research. A thematic data base on multicultural policies is underway as part of the expanding MOST Clearing House.

In addition to policy research, the MOST programme provides expertise for the design of local plans of action to combat poverty and social exclusion. Member States and United Nations Agencies and Funds (UNDP, UNFPA) can thus draw on the Programme for increased technical assistance in social policy planning.

The next four years will be devoted to ongoing work of the CRNs, and new activities on international migration, population issues, social exclusion and poverty, and urban development and governance. A series of activities will be initiated in the complex area of the relations between research and policy-making/decision-making. This is an elusive subject, where real success stories need to be coaxed out from research results. MOST activities in this field will focus on case studies where social science research has influenced policy, and on improving the transfer of social scientific information to various users.

New UNESCO Chairs in MOST fields will be established to strengthen social science teaching and research capacity, the first one having been created in Etvös University, Hungary, on multi-culturalism and minority problems. Young researchers will be provided with first hand experience through training and involvement in research projects and a MOST prize for outstanding PhD theses will be operational as of 1998. Topical training modules for city professionals on urban governance, as well as on poverty issues, and policy evaluation methods will be designed.

The MOST Programme is basically a co-operative framework to contribute to the promotion of high quality, policy-relevant, comparative international social science research and to promote national decision making through improved use of social science knowledge. In a world where many of the social, economic, demographic, environmental and technological processes have become transnational and global, we believe this to be a useful undertaking.

    Ali Kazancigil
    Executive Secretary
    MOST Programme


    Growing up in Cities

  • NORAD funds GUIC Bangalore team
  • Project network links to UNICEF's Child Friendly City Initiative (CFCI).
  • Averroes European Training Centre for Early Child Development and the Family establishes training programme on GUIC for local municipal planners. First 5 day training workshop: November 1997, The Netherlands; Second workshop scheduled for June 1998.

A replication and extension of the original 1970s UNESCO Growing Up in Cities Project, the goal of this project is to document some of the human costs and benefits of economic development by showing how the child's use and perception of the resulting micro-environment affects his life and personal development. The microenvironment in this case is urban neighbourhoods of young adolescents from lower and working class backgrounds. The original UNESCO project (ref: Growing Up in Cities, Kevin Lynch (ed.), M.I.T. Press, 1977) included research in such diverse settings as old city centres, peripheral suburbs, high-rise blocks, and self-built settlements in Australia, Argentina, Mexico and Poland. This project extends the study to new sites in Africa, Asia and Norway, and revisits some of the former sites in order to track how urban changes have affected young people in the twenty years since the publication of the original report.

Like the original project, this replication uses multiple methods: observations of children´s use of public and semi-public places; phenomenological measures of children´s perceptions of their communities and their priorities for change and improvement; and objective measures of their communities´economic, demographic and environmental characteristics. It also compares childrens' and parents' experience with municipal planners and officials' assumptions regarding the effects of their policies on childrens' lives. It adds new emphasis on childrens' participation in helping to implement some of their recommendations for change, in keeping with the application at the local level, of the UNICEF Convention on the Rights of the Child, Agenda 21 of the Earth Summit and the Habitat Agenda.

The project currently covers nine cities in seven countries (see map). The project has raised support from UNICEF South Africa, the HSRC of South Africa, NORAD, the Norwegian Ministry of Housing, IDRC, the Buenos Aires labour union, the Johann Jacobs Foundation and the Augusto Rancilio Foundation in the United States. Development of this project has been made possible with the support of the Norwegian Centre for Child Research in Trondheim Norway, and CHILDWATCH INTERNATIONAL. An agreement is currently being signed between the GUIC Buenos Aires team and its Mayor. N.A.

    Calendar of events:

January-May 1997: all of the sites will conduct core environmental observations and interviews and continue to develop plans for the information´s dissemination and application. Communication is maintained through internet

June 1997: Research leaders and coordinators will reassemble for a workshop in advance of the Urban Childhood Conference in Trondheim to discuss and approve the final contents of a manual for local governance work with children growing up in big cities; to share findings and co-ordinate presentations at the Conference; to identify key indicators of childrens' experience of urban quality and to discuss the development of a book composed of contributions from each site

Summer-Spring 1998 will see emphasis on how the project´s findings and processes are assimilated into local, regional, and national planning initiatives and to turn results into publications and presentation on the international and national level.

The project will be extended to Brasilia in 1998. Countries or Cities interested in participating in the GUIC work are invited to contact:

Averroès European Training Centre for Early Childhood Development and the Family invites GUIC to design and conduct five-day workshops for municipal planners.

First Workshop scheduled November 1997

The workshops draw on the experience gained by the GUIC team in their seven-country study. They will focus on training planners in participatory methods that enable collecting of basic information from children in neighbourhoods and identifying their priorities. These children thus become actors in the local decision-making process, and learn to manage and monitor their places and environment. The MOST training workshop will associate UNICEF's Child Friendly City Initiative: For more information please contact: Nadia Auriat, n.auriat@unesco.org

Childwatch International proposes to establish a forum for people who would like to adapt GUIC methods to their own settings. For more information on this please contact:


  • Ministry of Education and Culture of Indonesia funds national APMRN country team
  • APMRN provides technical expertise to Meeting of Working Group on International Migration, ACC Task Force on Basic Social Services for All, February 1997, New York
  • APMRN to participate in Technical Symposium on International Migration, May 1998
  • Australian APMRN country team holds national workshop, April 1997

New Publications:

APMRN Working Papers Serie. Nº1. Migration Issues in the Asia Pacific. APMRN Secretariat, University of Wollongong, Australia. UNESCO-MOST Paris. 1997

The network UNESCO-MOST APMRN researches and publishes trends and developments in the population movements of the Asia Pacific region. The working papers will be published regularly and aim to provide reports on current research being undertaken by APMRN members. Working Paper Nº 1 contains eleven papers, migration and ethnocultural diversity; major policy issues; the state of research on these themes; progress in establishing national research networks to link up with the APMRN; key research themes for the next five years; and, ideas on international research projects and priorities. Papers cover these issues for New Zealand, Australia, Fiji, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, People's Republic of China, Philippines, Republic of south Korea, Singapore and Thailand. Available from: University of Wollongong, email: apmrn@uow.edu.au or from the MOST Secretariat. N.A.

APMRN Research Papers Series

Aotearoa New Zealand

  • Stephen Castles « Globalisation and the ambiguities of national citizenship »
  • Paul Spoonley « Migration and the Reconstruction of Citizenship in Late Twentieth Century Aotearoa ».

These two papers were published together for the New Zealand APMRN by the Deparment of Sociology, Massey University - Albany, Auckland. The NZ APMRN is part of a local contribution to the international MOST-APMRN network.

The Newzealand network contributes to the exchange of information between research and policy analysis to advance understanding of what is needed in terms of research as well as effective immigration and post-migration policies in New Zealand.

« The debate about which migrants and how many has been highly politicised in NZ history. The arrival of significantly more East Asians since 1990 has attracted opposition and a new period of anti-Asian sentiments. One notable aspect is the tendency to favour emotion over facts, and to ignore some of the existing research or available data on immigration. It has also highlighted the need for considerably more research and more adequate policy development. It is our ambition that the network might play a role in helping contribute to both areas of development. » Richard Bedford and Paul Spoonley, (from Introduction) NA

    Democratic governance in a multicultural and multi-ethnic society

  • Swiss Government funds Democracy Training Programme for Kyrgyzstan
At the request of the Kyrgyz Government a democracy training and research project is underway to introduce policy-makers, legislators, judiciary officials, and representatives from public and non-governmental organizations from Kyrgyzstan to the functioning of democratic governance under conditions of ethnic, linguistic and cultural diversity.

The project is funded by the Swiss Government. Main activities will be the establishment of an academic curriculum on democratic governance, the training of legislators, academics and policy-makers in the creation of laws concerned with multiculturalism, the publication of basic texts on the subject, including comparisons of existing approaches to the issues, and the establishment of an academic exchange programme.

By developing institutional and individual ties with Switzerland, leading Kyrgyz representatives will gain experience in building and consolidating democratic structures founded on community-based political participation and inter-ethnic co-operation. Swiss experts and institutions will benefit from sharing the Kyrgyz experience of managing ongoing transformations. Short-term training activities beginning this year are designed to lead to long-term co-operation between the two countries, expected to further the process of democratization in Kyrgyzstan.

The European Commission for Democracy through Law (the Venice Commission) will contribute expertise to the training programme in Kyrgyzstan. PdeG

    MERCOSUR: Interaction and Integration

This MOST project, covering MERCOSUR countries (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay) will shed light on on societal mechanisms that underlie the processes of dialogue among societies and cultures, the basis of mutual respect and concern, and the structures and institutions that may foster inter-cultural creativity. Given the history and current manifestations of discrimination, cultural warfare and xenophobia, the project is ultimately aimed at searching for and putting into practice the means to foster solidarity, understanding and full societal participation in the decision-making process. C.M.

Project leader:
Elizabeth Jelin, University of Buenos Aires, Argentina

The MOST Programme and the UNESCO Office in Buenos Aires organized the first MOST Symposium on Regional Integration and Social Policy Reforms in Latin America (Buenos Aires, 20-22 November 1996). Latin American experts from projects MERCOSUR and the « Institutional Modernisation of Social Policies in Latin America », participated in the Symposium.
The network of participants in the project « Institutional Modernisation of Social Policies in Latin America » has finalized the four themes for its research agenda:
(1) education reforms;
(2) co-operation networks in the private sector;
(3) labour relations and
(4) political parties. National reports on the situation of social policies for these sectors are being produced respesctively for Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Mexico.

    Social and Economic Transformations connected with Drug Trafficking

The development of the drug economy activity and its penetration into the official sectors of society, seem to be causing a far reaching shift in social patterns of development. The in-depth study of these transformations is essential for decision­makers to define appropriate public management tools in the short, medium and long terms.

The MOST project on "Social and Economic Transformations connected with Drug Trafficking" gives prominence to research conducted in five large countries or regions: Brazil, China, the Republics of the former Soviet Union, South Asia and Nigeria. The project will support the formation of teams in and on these areas. It is foreseen to integrate three more teams respectively from India, Mexico and Nigeria in 1998.

Project leaders: Michel Schiray, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), Groupement de Recherche « Psychotropes, Politique et Société » (G 1106), France; Christian Geffray Institut de Recherche Scientifique et Technique pour le Développement en Coopération (ORSTOM), France

International Colloquium on the Situation of Drugs in Sub-Saharan Africa April 1997

Warnings about the recent increase in drug cultivation, trafficking and consumption in Africa were issued by field researchers, officials and medical doctors at "The International Colloquium on the Situation of Drugs in Sub-Saharan Africa", hosted by the MOST Programme, and organized by the OGD (Observatoire Géopolitique des Drogues). Participants and speakers pointed out that this conference was probably among the first to address the entire drug chain from production to consumption. Among the various social and economic factors that have contributed to Africa's drug crisis is the collapse in agricultural produce prices. This has prompted peasants to turn from legal cash crops to more profitable illegal drug production. In the aftermath of the Colloquium, the MOST project on "Social and Economic Transformations connected with Drug-Trafficking" started preparing pilot activities for 1997-1998. Different case-studies will be produced by researchers from France, Brazil, China, India, Nigeria, Mexico and Germany. CM

    Industrial decentralization and urban development in India with consideration of South-east and East Asian cases

This MOST project was launched at a Workshop, held in September 1996, at the French Institute of Pondicherry. The aim of the project is to examine simultaneously industrialization and urbanization in the development of the following small and medium towns of India and Sri Lanka: Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Tamilnadu, Maharashtra, and the peripheries of Delhi and Colombo.

The French Institute of Pondicherry in its 23th issue of the « Pondy Papers in Social Sciences », has published the results of the workshop and main items of discussion on the research project, contributions of participants and a general bibliography on the statement of the problem.

  • New Publication:

Industrial decentralization and urban development. Véronique BENEI et Loraine KENNEDY (eds.). Pondy Papers in Social Sciences, No. 23, 1997. 165p. IFP (BP 33, Pondichéry 605 001 India). G.S.

    Community Networking in Polar Regions - CCPP

The Arctic Association of Sociology with the University of Tromsoe, Norway organized the first CCPP workshop to launch pilot activities related to coping strategies adopted by fishing, forest and mining communities threatened by global change. The CCPP network studies how changes due to globalisation may lead to new forms of community co-operation, networking and collective action based on social solidarity and traditions of mutual self-help. In April 1997, the second CCPP Symposium at Roskilde University examined issues related to community management of national resources, and socio-cultural differences between arctic communities. Global economic, technological and environmental forces provoke new constraints, but also opportunities for local development and micro-level strategies. Two more meetings are planned in 1997, one in the Faeroe Islands in June and a second in Iceland in November.

Project Leaders: Nils Arsaether University of Tromsoe, Norway and Jorgen Ole Baeraenholdt Roskilde University, Denmark CM

    Towards Sustainable Development

A three-day expert-workshop on the MOST project "Towards sustainable development paradigm and policy: Sustainability as a concept of social sciences", was organized by the "Institut für sozial-ökologische Forschung" (ISOE) at Frankfurt, from 20-22 November 1996. The meeting was to conclude the conceptual phase of this research programme financed by the German Federal Ministry for Research and Technology (BMFT). ISOE contracted high-level resource persons from the social sciences (Argentina, Austria, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Japan, Netherlands, Nigeria, Pakistan, Russian Federation, Spain, UK, and USA.) who attended a workshop and presented papers on the status and perspectives of the debate on sustainable development.

The meeting gave rise to the adoption of a declaration; the constitution of an international open-ended research network; and the production of a synthetic document to be published as a MOST Policy Paper. Furthermore, a publication on « Sustainability as a Social Science concept » including the 16 expert reports is foreseen for the end of 1997.

In order to promote social science research on sustainability, exemplary research projects, especially in a cross-cultural and comparative perspective, are to be sketched out. In this context, a main concern should be the examination of policies adopted by industrialised countries in order to contribute to global change towards sustainable development strategies, especially the impact of sustainability policies in the North in interaction with the situation in the South.

Special attention should be paid to:

  • studying the conditions under which people would alter non-sustainable practices, implying research on opportunity structures that encourage lifestyle change in the North (production and consumption patterns, mobility etc.), while issues such as new clean energy sources, food security or public transportation should be addressed with respect to changes in the South. In addition, the role of industry, finances, advertising, etc., as actors should also be analyzed.
  • Investigating the influence of institutions at a local level (community or local governance) on the (dis-) management of natural resources, including the linkages to processes at other (nation-state) levels.
  • Analysing the issues raised with regard to the erosion of the nation-state´s legitimacy and the simultaenous demands on it to provide regulation in order to achieve sustainability, understanding the linkages between national level sustainability and international institutions or regulations in the context of globalisation, especially with respect to issues like joint implementation, but also to the shifting of unsustainability outside national boundaries as well. CVF

    The Cities Project: Where are we now?

The project "Cities: Management of Social Transformations and the Environment" is now one year old. It is developing as planned in three pilot sites: in Yeumbeul, in the suburbs of Dakar, Senegal, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti in fifteen shanty towns, and in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

In Yeumbeul, the partner associations are: ENDA Tiers Monde and three community associations. Neighbourhood development involving young people in the negotiation, planning and construction of public street fountains, drainage wells, and other community infrastructure projects involving women are among the actions undertaken; UNDP, the European Union and the French Mission for Co-operation have contributed financially to the actions initiated by the project; a workshop summarizing these actions was held in March 1997 bringing together 15 Mayors and representatives of associations from Senegal, Mauritania, Burkina-Faso, Mali, Cap Vert and Côte d'Ivoire who pledged to develop local plans of action.

In Port-au-Prince, the partner associations are: Research and Technology Exchange Group/ Haiti (GRET) and SOLAM. Actions undertaken are those of improving the living conditions of the inhabitants of 15 shanty towns, notably by setting up water committees and public street fountains, and by providing skill training for young people in the trade of plumbing.

In Sao Paulo, the partner associations are Polis and the Instituto Florestal. An educational training course for underprivileged young people was set up with the aim of creating Eco jobs. G.D-C.

HABITAT II Aftermath

  • In its final declaration, adopted unanimously, UNESCO proposed to create an international prize "Mayors for Peace" by which local authorities would be awarded for advancing the "Culture for Peace" in their cities.
  • The Dialogue on "Citizenship and Democracy in the 21st Century", organized by UNESCO, issued three commitments that Governments were asked to include in their actions for cities:
    • consolidation of democracy;
    • conditions of effective citizenship
    • elaboration of a new social contract, founded on the promotion of a humanized city, the exercise of all rights, beginning by the right to housing, to participative citizenship, especially that of women and the progress of civic culture.
  • Priority areas of work for implementing the Habitat Agenda at the local level are:

    Promotion of sustainable urban development:

    • foster productive employment and social integration by encouraging positive interaction among culturally diverse groups
    • promote socio-cultural diversity in mega-cities and towns.
    • protect and maintain historic, cultural, social and natural heritage of cities, including traditional shelter and settlement patterns.

    Enhance empowerment and participation to contribute to democracy in urban society:

    • encourage the establishment of community-based and civil society organizations and other forms of non-governmental entities.
    • Support initiatives and innovative experiences of citizens especially youth and women
    • Integrate a gender perspective in the design and implementation of towns .

    Promote education and training for major urban actors: urban professionals, practitioners, politicians, civil servants, inhabitants mainly in the following issues:

    • training in traditional skills
    • incentives for architects, planners, engineers and contractors.
    • education for citizenship and democratic urban practices.
    • strengthening of capacities of universities, training institutions and NGOs.

    Promote planning and good design in human settlements while emphasizing aesthetic and social, as well as technical and functional qualities.

    • Support research, studies and exchange of regional and international experiences on housing and impacts of the built environment, on culture and society.
    • Enhancement and renewal of the revitalization and rehabilitation of the social and socio-cultural heritage especially in inner cities and neighbourhoods.
    • Design of high-rise housing. Disaster prevention, mitigation, preparedness and post-disaster rehabilitation capabilities.
    • Sustainable energy use and new technologies for built-up environments. GS


The MOST Clearing House has started a Discussion Forum on the Internet in which everyone interested in the MOST programme and its projects is welcome to participate.

The purpose of the Forum is to animate a discussion on the general themes of MOST.

The Forum can be found at the Web address of the MOST Clearing House:

If you wish to receive announcements of the MOST programme activities and new publications, send an e-mail message to:

In the body of the message, type the words subscribe most-list. You will receive shortly thereafter an automatic acknowledgement indicating that you have been added to the subscription list.

To stop your subscription, send a message to the same address with the text unsubscribe most-list.

The publications, including the Newsletter that are announced in the mailing list will usually be made directly available in full text via the MOST Clearing House at: http://www.unesco.org/most PdG

Governance: What's in it?

The concept of governance is of relevance for a programme such as MOST, which aims at linking social science research and policy-making. Hence, an international Symposium was organized jointly by MOST, the University of Lausanne and the Swiss National Commission for UNESCO (Lausanne, Switzerland, 29-30 November 1996). It brought together about 20 scholars from Europe, USA, Mexico and India, to explore the much-used (and abused) concept of governance from theoretical as well as practical/functional perspectives.

Governance is often utilized as a synonym of government, which the discussions of the Symposium demonstrated to be incorrect. Unlike government, governance is not characterized by specific structures, but rather a series of procedures and practices, which distinguish it from the traditional forms of government. It does not replace, but is complementary to the latter. It initially started in the city management context, and it still is at its best as a local and sectoral policy-making mechanism. It also fits well the world scene, as global governance, applied to issues such as peace-building, human rights or the environment, where there is an absence of hierarchical authority and law enforcement, and where particular issues are negotiated between specific groups of stake-holders (in this case, sovereign states and international organizations), a situation quite typical of governance.

The governance approach has attracted attention at the national level since the 1980s, in the context of the so-called governability crisis, as an efficient policy-making method, better suited than the traditional, hierarchical mode of government, to the complexity of issues and plurality of public and private stake-holders participating in decision-making. Indeed, given the increased uncertainties and risks in modern societies, policy-making requires increased state-society interactions and horizontal co-ordination between multiple social agents, such as public administrations, private firms, professional and voluntary associations, labour unions, « green » movements, etc. Thus, governance which allows such interaction appears as the appropriate process for negotiation, accommodation and policy-making on specific sectoral or local issues. It is all the more attractive that it is democratic, participatory, and accountable to the stake-holders. The efforts towards a leaner and more efficient state and local government in Western countries were generally inspired by this approach. International organizations, such as the World Bank and UNDP, encouraged institutional reforms of this kind in the countries of the South.

Yet, the mode of governance, suitable as it is for policy-making at the local and global levels, proved to be more problematic at the nation-state level. Indeed, policy-making between stake-holders forming a « policy community » serves the purpose of solving specific sectoral problems, without necessarily taking into account the interests of society as a whole. Public administrations participate in horizontal negotiations as one stake-holder among others, focusing on the sectoral issues and relinquishing their function of servicing the general interest. This amounts to a « privatisation » of public authority, which loses its distinct political status. Governance can end up being a procedure through which certain decisions are excluded from the normal process of democratic, representative politics. It cannot replace long-term, trans-sectoral policies for nation-wide issues such as employment, urban and educational issues. Choices about an equitable allocation of societal resources amongst all citizens belong to the realm of democratic politics, whose rationality is distributive and whose finality is equity, solidarity and freedom, before instrumental concerns such as efficiency.

In conclusion, governance is a form of policy-making complementary to traditional government, and should be subsumed under representative democratic politics. AK

Based on: Ali Kazancigil, « Governance and Science: Market-like Modes of Governing Society and Producing Knowledge » to appear in International Social Science Journal, no.155, March 1998.

News from National Liaison Committees

The Tanzanian National Liaison Committee organized a workshop from 18 to 19 March 1997 on urban migration and environment: the case of Dar-Es-Salaam City.

The Croatian National Liaison Committee is carrying out a 1996/1997 MOST project "Multiculturalism and Post-Communism, Tradition and Democratic Processes" as a fourfold study comprising the following sub-projects:

  • Historical Framework for the Breakdown of Communism: Problems of Inheritance in the Process of Re-establishing Democratic Societies: analyzes changes in the Croatian society within the new historical and social framework of post-communism. One of the ongoing activities was a research focus on Social Transformations in Post-Communism and the Problem of Multiculturalism, that appraised changes in the interpretation of multiculturalism. This was carried out in co-operation with the Institute for Post-Communist Society, Kiev, Ukraine and involved an expert meeting organized in Kiev in June 1996 (Project Director: Mr. Mislav Kukoë, Institute for Applied Social Research, Zagreb).
  • Southeast European Multicultural and Multiethnic Societies, Democratic Changes and Development Prospects deals with the structure of public institutions within newly emerging multicultural and multiethnic societies and states (Project Director: Ms. Nada Svob-Dokic, Institute for International Relations, Zagreb).
  • Intercultural Orientations and Relations in Education, Media and Business analyzes relevance of different school programmes, media and other channels of communication and education for the development of intercultural understanding and communication (Project Director: Ms. Zlata Godler, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Zagreb).
  • Political Changes, Reinvention of Tradition and Transmission of Multiculturalism using anthropological approaches and qualitative methodology, analyzes the relation between tradition and democracy in the re-creation of identities for both cultural majority and minority groups in Croatia (Project Director: Ms. Vedrana Spajic-Vrkas, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Zagreb).


JOINT UNICEF, UNESCO-MOST, UNDP, UNCHS, UNEP and PLAN International meeting on African Child Friendly Cities
11-13 March 1996

The Accra Metropolitan Assembly, UNICEF, and UNCHS/Habitat convened on 11-13 March 1997 an International Workshop on Africa's Urban Poor Child in partnership with the Urban Management Programme (UMP), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO -MOST Programme), and PLAN International.

Objectives of the workshop:

To explore policy options and develop recommendations for African Mayors to commit themselves to the plight of the African urban poor child; and 2) to develop strategies on implementing "The Convention on the Rights of the Child" at the local level, through the development and implementation of municipal or local plans of action.

Call for African Mayors and Local Authorities for Building Child-Friendly Cities

The mayors' deliberations were presented to participants during the closing plenary in the form of a "Call for Mayors and Local Authorities for Building Child-Friendly Cities". The document calls for all African mayors and local authorities to develop local plans of action that promote the building of child-friendly cities on the continent. Amongst other issues, the document recommends:
1) the ratification of the African Charter on the rights and well-being of the child as adopted by the Organization of African Unity (OAU, 1990);
2) the establishment of birth registration programmes and local censuses of children desegregated by age, gender, and by geographical location;
3) the organization of child and family development committees that include children and youth;
4) the improvement and protection of the urban environment, creating urban green areas, play areas and promoting innovative waste disposal and recycling methods at the community level;
5) the creation of an African secretariat of mayors to monitor inter-agency local implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child at the municipal level.

Mayors, Local Authorities, Technical Municipal Staff, and Local Governance Institutions as Orchestrators and Co-ordinators of Local Plans of Action and Child-Centred Partnerships

Mayors in this workshop took on an expanded role in the defence of children. A new role that Mayors assigned to themselves, during the Accra Workshop's initial deliberations, was to actively monitor the compliance to childrens' rights within their territories.

The workshop has also demonstrated that activities in favour of child well-being should and can be undertaken through a multi-agency participatory process aimed at taking stock of progress and commitments for urban children, and triggering future action at all levels. The workshop made clear that a single framework for action - linking the Convention of the Rights of the Child, the Habitat Agenda and Agenda 21 - for the implementation of Local Plans of Action in favour of vulnerable children and women is possible. Furthermore, it was a positive workshop of a new style.

UNESCO-MOST, in co-operation with the UNICEF Urban Section, other UN agencies and partners, is planning to organize a workshop on Education for Local Governance for the African region in 1999 as follow-up to the Accra initiative. NA

Cape Verde

A National Programme for the Fight against Poverty has been funded under the UNESCO Participation Programme in cooperation with the UNDP and the World Bank. The MOST Programme is a partner in discussions underway on the policy, strategies and plans for health, education and population policies. C.M.


To ensure effective complementarity in capacity-building, the UNITWIN/UNESCO Chairs programme has been called upon to set up joint MOST Chairs. A first MOST Chair focusing on Minority Studies was launched at Lorand Eötvös University (ELTE), at Budapest, Hungary, in January 1997. The purpose of the programme is to focus on the reduction of ethnic tensions and conflicts.

Another step towards the establishment of a UNESCO Chair on Social Transformations has been recently taken by the Azerbaidjanian National Commission for UNESCO who wish to build a centre of excellence in the social sciences


ESSAOUIRA : An Integrated Urban Development and Water Ressource Project

January 1996 marked the beginning of the UNESCO programme on Environment and Development in Coastal Regions and Small Islands that provided a platform for a new project run jointly by the Division of Water Sciences and the Human Habitat Unit from the Social Science Sector. The project, entitled Urban Development and Freshwater Resources in Coastal Areas follows the recommendations made in the Agenda 21 action plan, Habitat II and the World Summit for Social Development. Its mandate lies in respecting environmental and economic concerns for the development of small coastal cities of Europe and the Southern Mediterranean.

The creation of a network of co-operating coastal cities promotes the sharing of expertise and specialists in such diverse areas as freshwater management, revitalisation and renovation of urban historic fabrics, economic and social development, coastal erosion and environmental protection.

The first case study for this project is the historic town of Essaouira, Morocco, on the Atlantic coast, approximately one thousand kilometres from Gibraltar. This site, know in the past as Mogador, was an ancient trading port, the construction of which was entrusted to Theodore Cornut -a student of Vauban - in the mid XVIII° century, the old walled Medina has been for long considered a cross-road and meeting point of cultures and civilizations. Its history and architectural context remind the onlooker of the fortified city of Saint Malo, designed by Vauban. In a day and age of accelerated transformation, Essaouira represents a cultural and historic patrimony that is a valuable reminder of our civilization's rich and intricate past. In keeping with this observation, Morocco's National Authorities have requested that the ancient town be placed on the World Heritage List.

Today a town of 80,000 inhabitants, Essaouira's problems are numerous: overpopulation, building deterioration and insufficiency of infrastructure, coastal erosion and salt-water intrusion combine to put pressure on its sustainability. Particularly afflicted are the city's ancient wall and its two historic Italian monuments (Scalas) on the port.

An identification mission was undertaken to Essaouira early 1997. A joint experts, donors and local authority meeting is planned for december 1997. For more information on this project, please contat: Ms. Brigitte Colin, Architect, UNESCO Human Habitat Unit, b.colin@unesco.org

Essaouira: An Urban Wonder of Tradition and Modernity
Photo Pierre Gailhanon


MOST-UNU workshop on globalization and mega-city development in Pacific Asia
Tokyo in October 1996.

The MOST Programme and the United Nations University, through its Institute of Advanced Studies, organized a workshop covering a selected number of study-cases, from Bombay, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Jabotabek, Manila, Seoul, Shanghai, Singapore and Tokyo, with emphasis on urban policy for housing, environmental protection, transportation, migration, social exclusion, poverty, public finance, forms of co-operation between the central government and local authorities, and other social and economic actors who participate in city governance.

The workshop was funded by Japan as funds-in-trust for UNESCO-UNU co-operation. Planning is underway to continue with a series of regional workshops on urban and social issues to be held in Africa and Latin America. GS

Sub-Regional Consultation for
English-speaking Caribbean Countries
Kingston, Jamaica, 24-26 February 1997

This MOST subregional meeting, opened by the Jamaican Minister of Education, Youth and Culture, highlighted the themes of multi-ethnic power-sharing and Caribbean capacity for social science research in the fields of MOST. A strong emphasis was put on the need for academic co-operation in joint projects that address issues pertinent to the region, notably, tourism, economic co-operation, urbanization and migration. Following the Conference, a project focusing on crime and violence in the city, population shifts and patterns of migration, social exclusion and possibilities of integration will be developed. A full report of the meeting and several of the presented papers are available from the MOST Clearing House at http://www.unesco.org/most/carib.htm or in printed form from the MOST secretariat. PdG


Forms of Exclusion
23-26 June 1997

The MOST Programme is organizing, in close collaboration with the University of Pittsburg and the Université de Paris-VII, an International Colloquium on Different Forms of Exclusion. at UNESCO Headquarters, on 23-26 June 1997. Exclusion of women, writers, the poor and the ill are given particular attention during these 4 days. CM

Partnerships for Urban Policies
24-25 November 1997

On 24 and 25 November 1997, MOST is organising, in association with the International Social Science Council, a Colloquium on the theme « Partnerships for Urban Policies ».

Tunis: Regional Cultural Capital for 1997

UNESCO and the Association for Saving the Medina:
"Social Revitalization of an Old Quarter"
2nd Conference of World Heritage Cities
December 1997 As part of the follow-up activities of the Human Habitat Unit begun during HABITAT II Conference, the Division for Social Sciences, Research and Policy launched a programme "Revitalizing Urban Centres". It is composed of pilot projects in town centres where communities' living conditions need upgrading while preserving both architectural and cultural identities and continuing traditional social activities. BC

World Social Science Report

The twentieth century has seen extraordinary advances in the social sciences. They have taken place at the level of theoretical constructs, but also at the levels of methodology and of data generation and management. The social sciences can now be regarded as comprising a fabric of concepts and testable theories, rapidly expanding pools of records and information, well-established rules of procedure, and world-wide networks of supporting institutions.

With the approach of the turn of the century, the time is ripe to take stock of the social sciences as they are, and to look forward to their continuing development in the coming decades. This, essentially, is the goal of UNESCO's projected World Social Science Report. It is planned to bring out a first issue in 1999, in time to be available for the World Science Conference, and subsequent issues at intervals of, say, two years.

The World Social Science Report will benefit from the experience of reports already created by UNESCO in other areas, in particular, the World Education Report and the World Science Report. It will be in part problem-oriented, looking at their applications to practical problems in the world today; in part descriptive, giving information on the production and transmission of the social sciences in the countries of the world; in part substantive, reviewing the state of play in the various social sciences; and in part reflective, considering the place of the social sciences in the worlds of knowledge and of action. DM

Social Science Participation in the World Science Conference

UNESCO is organizing, for the autumn of 1999, a major international conference on the state of science in the world, its role in human affairs, and the prospects for its further development and applications in the coming century.

It has been agreed that in the preparation of this important World Science Conference, the concept of "science" will be understood in a broad sense, so that in effect the conference will concern an extended range of sciences, ranging from mathematics, through physics, chemistry and other "exact", "natural" and life sciences, to the social sciences.

For this reason, the Sector of Social and Human Sciences of UNESCO is urging the inclusion of top-flight representatives of the disciplines in both the Conference itself and in the preparatory bodies. It is also preparing, as an input to the Conference, a World Social Science Report, the first of its kind (see adjacent feature).

It is expected that the Conference will render more visible, via the media to the general public, as well as to specialists themselves engaged in scientific activities, the intricate connections between the scientific disciplines, bridging the social sciences with others, on a number of levels levels, such as that of collaboration in the solution of problems where several disciplines are involved; the social factors involved in the human use of the technologies issuing from scientific discovery; and also the social and cultural conditions favouring and impeding scientific investigation and creativity. DM

MOST Secretariat:
e-mail: ssmost@unesco.org

Executive Secretary
Director, MOST Newsletter:

Editor, MOST Newsletter
Multi-cultural and multi-ethnic societies and
Programme on Application of Research to Policy:
e-mail: n.auriat@unesco.org


Clearing House/Capacity Building:

Sustainable Development and Training:

Cities and Human Habitat:

Cities and Urbanization:

Cities and Architecture:

Women in Development:

Multi-cultural and multi-ethnic Societies:

Coping locally and regionally with economic,
technological and environmental phenomena
and MOST Liaison Committees:

Requests for MOST Documentation:

Senior Secretary:

Layout and printing:

National MOST Liaison Committees and UNESCO National Commissions are invited to submit to the Editor information on national MOST activities for publication in upcoming editions of the Newsletter.

Ministries, NGOs, research councils, research institutions, universities and other UN Agencies working with social science research projects may send information to the Editor for diffusion in this publication.

This publication is distributed to Universities, Research Councils, Development Agencies and UN Agencies world-wide. It appears in English, French and Spanish.

To MOST Clearing House Homepage

To see the document in English
Pour voir le document en Français
Para ver el documento en Español