Science Diplomacy

© UNESCO/Michel Ravassard
UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, France

Science, due to its international and universal nature, has the power to cross borders and connect different peoples, communities, and societies. Science diplomacy builds on this power of science, using science as a tool to achieve foreign policy objectives where, not only the research outcomes, but also science itself as a process and way of communicating, may serve to promote peace and sustainable development. 

UNESCO plays an important role in the field of science diplomacy, built on three comparative advantages:

  • Legitimacy; UNESCO’s universal mandate for science for peace and development ever since its inception in 1946, has made the Organization the cradle of modern science diplomacy. One of its first success stories was the creation of CERN in the early 1950s.
  • Credibility; UNESCO has extensive institutional expertise and a longstanding history of launching and implementing ground-breaking initiatives and projects that have gained international recognition. One of the most high-profile initiatives of this century concerns the SESAME (Synchrotron-light for Experimental Science and Applications in the Middle East). 
  • Universality; UNESCO can promote science diplomacy based on its universal mandate and, through its vast network of partners, bring diverse stakeholders, scientists, decision makers, and diplomats, from around the world together.

Science centres and organizations

UNESCO has been at the origin of many remarkable centres and organizations within the field of science diplomacy, fostering cooperation between scientists living in regions marred by conflict. More information

International science programmes

Each of UNESCO’s international science programmes itself instantiate and promote science diplomacy in its specific thematic area. More information

International science-policy interfaces

International science-policy interfaces are important mechanisms for linking and facilitating the communication between scientists and policy makers around the globe. Through this linkage, international science-policy interfaces can promote cooperation and deepen understanding across borders, and as such help peacebuilding processes. More information 


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