UNESCO and Natural Science

© UNESCO/P. Chiang-Joo-Global Microscience and Water experiments during the World Teachers' Day celebration at UNESCO, 5 October 2011

UNESCO considers that to develop innovative, green solutions to address the climate, food and energy crises facing the world today, science, technology, research and development capacities for sustainable development must be strengthened.

According to the latest available data in the field of Science :

  • Only 0.5% of the world’s researchers live in Least Developed Countries (European Union: 20.1%, North America: 21.9%)
  • Sub-Saharan Africa produced just 11 142 scientific articles in 2008 which represent 1.1% of the world share.
  • An estimated 2.5 million engineers and technicians will be needed in sub-Saharan Africa alone to achieve improved access to clean water and sanitation.

These figures demonstrate the need to strengthen science education, stem brain drain, and encourage more young men and women to go into scientific disciplines.

In order to reduce this gap, UNESCO helps reinforce the capacities of developing countries in the sciences, engineering and technology. In partnership with diverse funding agencies, UNESCO provides data, advice and technical assistance to help governments formulate and implement effective science and technology policies.

Moreover, in the field of water, UNESCO established in 2003 an Institute for Water Education in Delft (The Netherlands) which is the largest water education facility in the world, and the only institution in the UN system, authorised to confer accredited MSc degrees.

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