Social and Human Sciences

Football match during the World Environment's & World Oceans' Day celebrations in Kenya 2017, to promote solidarity, awareness of clean environment and sports for development @UNESCO

As one of UNESCO’s five specialized fields of competence, the Social and Human Sciences (SHS) sector plays a vital role in helping the global community understand the socio-economic, political, and cultural dynamics and contexts that underpin human lives and livelihood. Globally, the sector’s work covers, among others, the following thematic issues: Culture of Peace, Youth Development; Human Rights; Gender Equality, Philosophy; Social Transformations, Bioethics and the Ethics of Science and Technology; and the Social and Human Dimensions of Climate Change.

The sector combines the role of a think tank which advances knowledge through intellectual engagement and exchange; a standard setter; and a catalyst for international cooperation, taking advantage of the Organization’s convening power on the world stage. At a time when the world is experiencing tremendous shifts in relations between and within nation-states, the expertise of the Social and Human Sciences is fundamental not only to our collective understanding of these shifts and transformations, but more importantly how to manage and address the challenges that result there from. How to achieve all of that in a manner that also enhances universal values and principles of justice, freedom and human dignity, as enshrined in both the UNESCO Constitution and the UN Charter, forms part of the sector’s global mission.

The Social and Human Sciences sector in UNESCO Regional Office in Eastern Africa will support Member States in strengthening public policy-making based on scientific and humanities evidence, build institutional and human capacities at all levels, to generate, manage and apply knowledge for inclusive development that is founded on ethical values and human rights, with particular attention to the most vulnerable.

An Social and Human Sciences Africa Strategy was developed in Banjul in May 2017 and endorsed at SHS Global Retreat in Paris, in September 2017. The strategy, promotes among others, intersectorality and interregionality, in order to facilitate better coordination, enhance efficiency and above all, truly deliver as ONE UNESCO, within the broader UN-wide System.

The five thematic areas of the sector are:

  • Knowledge generation, creation and dissemination for social transformations in Africa (MOST)
  • Youth development and empowerment
  • Inclusion and Human Rights
  • Intercultural Dialogue and Culture of Peace, including History and Memory
  • Bioethics and Ethics of Science and Technology
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