UNESCO's overarching objective in the Natural Sciences Sector is to mobilize science knowledge and policy for sustainable development.
In UNESCO Dakar, activities focus on the four following areas:
Man and the Biosphere (MAB) programme
The MAB programme aims to reduce biodiversity loss through a better understanding of the interactions between man and the environment.
Activities are directed towards knowledge building on the ecological, social and economic dimensions of biodiversity loss and reducing this loss.
MAB sites are used as demonstration areas for sustainable development, training and research.
Currently two candidatures for MAB sites are under review: The biosphere reserve of Ferlo in Senegal and another one in Cape Verde.
The 40th anniversary of MAB was celebrated in July 2011 in Senegal.
Water ecosystems and climate change
The coastal zone of West Africa is largely affected by climate change, pollution and erosion. The sustainable use and wise management of water resources, coastal areas, rivers and mangroves is encouraged through the development of appropriate educational tools and training.
A major projet "Adapation to Climate Change in Costal Zones in West Africa (ACCC)" was lunched in 2008. Financed by the WEF (World Environment Funding), the project aims at implementing measures for reinforcing the resistance of disadvantaged communities to the climate changes effects in the coastal zones and resources.
It is being implemented in Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mauritania, Senegal and The Gambia. UNESCO Dakar is coordinating the project, which includes a regional team and national teams in each country.
UNESCO Dakar assists countries in upgrading curricula and syllabi for science education in general, and climate change, water and coastal zone management in particular.
Currently the Office works with Senegal and The Gambia to implement science education strategy. In Cape Verde, a strategy is under elaboration.
UNESCO Dakar is also working to introduce recycling of paper in Cape Verdean schools.
Preparation to deal with national disasters
UNESCO Dakar provide technical and financial support to the four cluster countries to elaborate strategies to deal with natural disasters. In Senegal, focus is to facilitate dialogue on the frequent floodings