Science and Society

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As the lead UN agency for science, UNESCO stresses the importance of science in, and for, society. UNESCO takes the lead in many UN celebrations dedicated to science, such as World Science Day for Peace and Development. World Science Day is an outcome of the World Conference on Science (1999), which established a new social contract for science. With the creation of the UNESCO Kalinga Prize for the Popularization of Science in 1951, UNESCO was the first to introduce an international distinction awarding outstanding contributions of individuals in communicating science to society and promoting the popularization of science. To this day, it is the only prize of its kind in the UN system.

Dialogue between science and society

UNESCO is committed to facilitating and promoting ongoing dialogue between science and society in order to enable science to effectively respond to people’s needs and the general public to effectively contribute to science. UNESCO‘s key initiatives in this field include:

  • World Science Forum: a major biennial event co-organized by UNESCO that provides a platform for science and society to come together and discuss the emerging issues affecting science, policy and society;
  • Global Innovation Forum: a unique occasion for all agents of innovation, including research professionals and societal actors, to come together and share ideas, knowledge and experience in order to catalyse and promote a culture of innovation, technopreneurship and the transfer of knowledge and technology;
  • Future Earth: an initiative that actively seeks to include society in formulating the research agenda in order to find sustainable solutions to global challenges.

A culture of science

UNESCO is strongly committed to promoting a culture of science in society, where all people can discover the wonders of science, learn about the influence of science in their daily life, and explore how they themselves can contribute to science. To this end, UNESCO focuses on:

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