Natural Sciences

KOLONYI, UGANDA - Children pumping water from a water well, is an excavation or structure created in the ground by digging or drilling to access groundwater in underground aquifers, Photo Credit: @Shutterstock

Within the context of UNESCO’s intergovernmental mandate and universal membership, it has focused its work in science on issues of global concern requiring multinational collaboration such as in the fields of freshwater resource management, ocean health, natural disaster reduction, biodiversity loss, and capacity building in science, technology and innovation.

UNESCO’s work in science covers two broad areas – (i) promoting science, technology and innovation; and (ii) using science to manage the environment in a sustainable way including the ocean, freshwater, and the Earth’s natural resources, ecosystems and biodiversity. Integrating the needs of Africa and promoting gender equality are overall priorities.

Organizational Structure of the Natural Sciences Sector:

  • Water Security-IHP
  • Ecological and Earth Sciences-MAB and IGGP
  • Science Policy and Capacity Building
  • Ocean Sciences-IOC

The Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission contributes to UNESCO’s science activities in the field of the ocean.

UNESCO implements its activities in science essentially through its International Science Programmes (ISPs):

The Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC-UNESCO) have a functional autonomy within UNESCO.

UNESCO’s Operational Strategy for Priority Africa is aligned with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which in turn integrates fully the 2063 Agenda of the African Union. Moreover, UNESCO’s Operational Strategy for Priority Africa is in line with Africa’s official position for the 2030 Agenda, namely the Common African Position (CAP), which focuses on six pillars: (i) structural economic transformation and inclusive growth; (ii) science, technology and innovation; (iii) people-centered development; (iv) environmental sustainability, natural resources management and disaster risk management; (v) peace and security; and (vi) finance and partnerships, which are all part of the SDGs.

The Natural Science Sector is mainly concentrating on Harnessing STI and knowledge for the sustainable socioeconomic development of Africa and Fostering science for the sustainable management of Africa’s natural resources and disaster risk reduction.

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