The mission of UNESCO Dakar Multisectoral Office in the sciences is to support the members states of the Sahel region to develop adequate capacities and policies required for socio-economic development in a sustainable manner that respects the environment and responds to the goals of Agenda 2030 especially SDGs 6, 7, 8, 9, 13, 15 and 17. Furthermore, the activities of the natural sciences sector are foreseen to support member states to also meet the goals of Agenda 2063 of the African Union.
The programmes and activities of the UNESCO Dakar’s Multisectoral Office supports countries in creating pools of skilled persons in very important areas for sustainable development and the building of resilient communities. For example, the sector supports the development of skills in the management of water resources that the Sahel’s economy is very dependent upon. The integrated water resources management approach is fully supported while assisting in sharpening water policies. Secondly, it helps to support peaceful sharing of transboundary water resources by bringing together water managers and stakeholders from congruent states in joint training activities.
In the field of the environment, the sector works on strengthening the conservation of biodiversity especially in the biosphere reserves within the Sahel region. Member states are supported in ensuring that the biosphere reserves remain viable and vibrant and aligned to the global strategies such as the MAB Strategy 2016 – 2025 and also the Lima Plan of action. This is achieved through constant training and updating of skills of the managers of these sites.
The UNESCO Dakar’s Multisectoral Office in the development of science, technology and innovation policies seeks to help member states develop strong and consistent policies capable of strengthening the link between science and socio-economic development. This includes supporting the development of policy documents, the positioning of countries within the GO-SPIN platform and the support of tertiary education sectors in building strong capacities in the field of Science, engineering, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
The Dakar’s Multisectoral Office supports advocacy for women and youth in the sciences and encourages gender equality in all its activities. For youth in the region, the Office has been supporting the development of strong innovation and enterprise management skills especially for young start-ups.