by Vogazianos-Roy, Historian-Ethnologist, Permanent Member of the Glasgow University Council

One of the world’s top four Organizations, standing beside the likes of the  International Red Cross, UNICEF and the UNO itself  and ranging its activities over the multi-faceted, if overlapping, domains of Educational,  Scientific and Cultural endeavour, UNESCO has been , as of the late ‘80s, faced with its biggest challenge ever; that of keeping track of  global developments affecting  the social, cultural, educational, scientific and ecological balance and taking place at an unprecedentedly  fast rate,  as well as the challenge   of working out formulas of helping to  restore  that balance, whenever it  is upset or threatened, whilst holding on to long-sanctioned, mostly cultural and religious, standards of major ethnic groups , now tested more than ever  owing to the rapidly developing globalization process.

Such developments as could be seen to affect global balance and subsequently targeted by UNESCO in its bid to help restore it, include :

a) The floating rates in the global demographic chart recorded in birth-death-and-life-expectancy quota and brought about by local warfare and social disorder, endemics’ and pandemics’ outbreaks  and  serious upsets in the food chain sequence  as well as the global  water table, the attested climatic conditions changes and the gross ,ongoing  mismanagement of world and local reserve funds and budgets.

b) The ever-changing global financial and energy profile, incurred by ever-appearing new states -mostly as a result of the existing socialist regimes collapse and fragmentation- the strengthening of  ethnic and religious minorities, the formation of new geopolitical alliances and  the emergence of new big corporate multi-national trusts; other factors having an impact on the aforementioned profile  are the big-scale migratory mobility mainly attested in Eastern Europe and Africa ; the fast-paced overconsumption of the planet’s energy resources and the ominous ecological and climatic changes coming in its wake ;the unremitting economic competition between major states or alliances and last, but not least, the social  uprisings and civil warfare, attested mostly in Balkan, former Soviet Union and, as of late, Moslem world countries.

c) The ever-increasing need for the institution and establishment , through drafting and voting the relevant legislation bills and earmarking the required budgetary credits, of state or private welfare services-run projects for meeting the needs of constantly emerging  high risk social groups such as under-aged  as well as unemployed mothers,  working or otherwise exploited minors, long-unemployed graduates, unemployed immigrants, HIV positives etc. The number of such groups has been  on an upward trend for the last twenty years,  triggered off  as well as sustained by the intermittent flow of immigrants to and from many European and African countries,  a situation incident to the collapse of the socialist states  and the numerous hotbeds of local warfare, mostly in Moslem countries as a result of local uprisings

d) The unprecedented bloom of the research, development and trading potential in a broad range of sciences such as informatics and communication, space aeronautics, economics, marketing ,medicine and nuclear physics, with a tangible  economic and educational upturn in many a western country  being among the most notable upshots of this development, a process  that is offset, to some extent, by the lack of ways of adequately monitoring and assessing the enormous amount of information easily accessed by all ages and often proving a threat to habitually  shared social, religious and cultural values

e) The rapidly, if alarmingly, increasing power of mass communication media as a factor of influencing public opinion and affecting, sometimes  to the point of manipulation , social, economic and political developments  as well as the chart of average moral values by setting and promoting  easy-profit-and impression- patterned models of   social behaviour

g) The downward trend in the development process of global environmental and climatic conditions, resulting from the ongoing, hyper-industrialization-caused  pollution of the atmospheric, marine and terrestrial environment , the rain forests depilation, still practiced to an ominous extent, and the water table declining rate, registered in quite a number of African, Asian and Oceanian countries

UNESCO  has been playing an important role on a global scale , through its projects undertaken in co-operation with its non-governmental organizations, national commissions, clubs and goodwill-ambassadors, in the promotion of the effort  for the national, cultural and religious identity retention of its country members ; it also solidly aims at these countries’  citizens sensitization to the major social, ecological and educational problems listed above as underscoring factors of the changes targeted by UNESCO for eventual elimination of the needs they generate , through phasing out these factors; UNESCO also tries to help build patterns of solid resistance to the rampant onslaught of the almost all-embracing commercialization- and easy-profit-making philosophy, launched daily by most countries mass communication media, through funding a number of educational projects, mostly run in underdeveloped or developing countries. This effort is usually offset by the ongoing promotion of the long-standing , prevalent mentality of unadulterated consumerism and profiteering, one of the  major components  of the open market economy,  the leading economic approach globally, following the collapse of the socialist economic model. In an attempt to help reverse or at least control this approach, UNESCO adopted (2005) and published(2006) its Intersectoral Strategy on Philosophy, a declaration governed by the espousal of the Neo-Humanist manifesto principles ,setting off the transuniversalization of moral values, on the basis of common fundamental needs for education, employment, social welfare and, above all, peaceful co-existence, as its  main goal and, subsequently, that of mankind. Helped out, rather ironically, by the current crisis in many parts of the western world ,of the economic system part of whose philosophy many of its key strategies kept tripping over, UNESCO aspires, through the co-ordinated application of its main principles, not least those of its Strategy on Philosophy, to pave the way for a new, moral rather than economic ,globalization, eventually establishing the World Citizen model, one that will be impervious to social, economic and religious discriminations, like the Greek philosopher Socrates had first envisaged.