South Africa: Social Transformation programme to promote policy making

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at gmail.com
Tue Jul 17 13:58:39 UTC 2007


Date: 16 Jul 2007
Title: Social Transformation programme to promote policy making


Paris - The Management of Social Transformations (MOST) Programme will seek
to provide a bridge between research, policy development and practice to
promote policy making and implementation at all levels. Social Development
Minister Zola Skweyiya, in his capacity as President of the
Intergovernmental Council (IGC) addressed the three day 8th Session of the
IGC in Paris, Monday. Dr Skweyiya said the programme's intended outcome was
the realisation of values such as justice, freedom, human dignity and
sustainable development, all of which required concerted actions aimed at
moving societies away from welfare to sustained social development.

The MOST programme is a UNESCO initiative and its primary purpose is to
transfer relevant social sciences research findings and data to
decision-makers and other stakeholders. It focuses on building efficient
bridges between research, policy and practice and promotes a culture of
evidence-based policy-making - nationally, regionally and internationally.
As the only UNESCO programme which fosters and promotes social science
research, it is placed in a pivotal position in the overall promotion of
UNESCO's goals. In his opening address, Dr Skweyiya said the session offered
delegates an opportunity to evaluate the body's mid-term progress towards
the realisation of its overall objective, this being the establishment of
MOST as an international source of reliable, relevant and user friendly
research with evidence-based decision-making, across regions.

He expressed a concern about the penetration levels of existing research at
a local level, given that most people interacted with local government.
"Consequently I believe that if MOST is to make the necessary impact, it
ought to pay attention to popular means of information dissemination.  "This
necessarily requires us to strengthen and integrate our National Liaison
Committees with existing coordinating and policy-making structures in our
respective countries. "It will further require that we produce our
information in a manner that ordinary citizens can interact with it.

"In the context of the developing world, it requires of us to not only
consider platforms and formats of communication but also our selected
language choices," said Dr Skweyiya. He explained that to accelerate
delivery in that area would require that stakeholders place added attention
to developing and supporting local level social scientists and researchers.
"In developing this sector we must ensure that the legacy we leave behind is
a society which is multilingual and multicultural - and supports our overall
goal of building tolerant and prosperous communities. "Such communities
would render a global economic, political, social and cultural environment
that will enable the people of the world to eradicate poverty and achieve
social development," he said.

Dr Skweyiya emphasised the importance of evidence-based policy-making in
providing responses to the many social ills and challenges facing many parts
of the world. "The role of MOST in this area and in these efforts remains
crucial, and we hope that this IGC will elaborate further on this role," he
said. He told delegates that as they deliberated on the management of social
transformations, they must be conscious of the global context and its
challenges. The minister said current 'social transformations' required
thorough analysis and well-designed responses. "Research plays a critical
role and is an indispensable aspect of these well-designed responses.

"These responses have to to appropriately locate the developmental role of
the state, while paying careful attention to globally constraining factors
in the geopolitical economy," he explained. Dr Skweyiya added that the
meeting must also seek to implement locally tailor-made solutions that
promoted key social objectives while addressing the needs of people.
"Quantitative development produces figures; social development produces
human welfare.

"The test of successful social development is a simple one: whether all our
people enjoy genuine access to all basic services, from health to education
and from housing to water. "This is why the concern for social development
is common to all socially conscious governments," he said. D Skweyiya called
on delegates to use the IGC of MOST and its many programmes as a vehicle
towards that kind of social development. - BuaNews
http://www.buanews.gov.za/view.php?ID=07071615451004&coll=buanew07


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