National Reporting on the 2017 UNESCO Recommendation on Science and Scientific Researchers

In support of Arab Member States’ national reporting on the 2017 UNESCO Recommendation on Science and Scientific Researchers, the UNESCO Regional Bureau for Sciences in the Arab States organized an online training workshop on 18 and 19 January 2021. The workshop sought to achieve the following: familiarize participants with the Recommendation’s reporting process; Propose practical and simple methods for collecting new data to address gaps in evidence and discuss associated risks, opportunities and tradeoffs; Illustrate how the national reporting on the recommendation will be done online and discuss policy measures that can be reported.

Around 60 participants from 15 Arab countries participated in the training, which was delivered by two international experts alongside UNESCO specialists. Participants were provided with guidelines and toolkits to facilitate the reporting exercise.

The Recommendation on Science and Scientific Researchers was adopted by some 195 states on 13 November 2017 during the 39th session of the UNESCO General Conference, and replaces the 1974 Recommendation on the Status of Scientific Researchers. Aimed at research institutes, individuals and scientific organizations that practice, regulate and promote science, it calls on member states and their governments to create the conditions that will enable science to flourish and advance, to be practiced ethically and fairly, and to be useful and relevant to society.

On a four-yearly basis, Member States are required to provide reports on their national efforts and experiences in implementing the Recommendation. The first reports are due 31 March 2021. Each report is an evidence-based self-assessment in which compliance is substantiated by documentation and references, involving analysis that typically is based on some data collection and consultation to assess the impact of policy measures that have been taken.

National reports on the Recommendation are important not only from an accountability perspective. If properly and regularly conducted, reporting is a powerful and useful exercise that permits member States to better understand their science system, see patterns, derive actionable insights, and accordingly take measures for advancing the science agenda for development.

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