World Science Day for Peace and Development

Established by UNESCO in 2001, World Science Day for Peace and Development is celebrated worldwide on 10 November each year. It offers an opportunity to demonstrate to the wider public why science is relevant to their daily lives and to engage them in debate on related issues.

By throwing bridges between science and society, the aim is to ensure that citizens are kept informed of developments in science, while underscoring the role scientists play in broadening our understanding of the remarkable, fragile planet we call home and in making our societies more sustainable. Recent themes have included ‘towards green societies’ (2011), science for the rapprochement of peoples and cultures (2010) and astronomy (2009).

Every year, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, scientific research institutions, professional associations, universities, municipalities, the media, science teachers, schools and others are encouraged to organize their own celebration of World Science Day.

Since its inception, World Science Day has also generated concrete projects, programmes and funding for science around the world. Several ministries have announced an increase in spending on science, for instance, or the creation of a university or research body. The Day has also helped to foster cooperation between scientists living in regions marred by conflict, one example being the creation of the Israeli-Palestinian Science Organization (IPSO), with UNESCO support.

World Science Day was instigated as follow-up to the World Conference on Science, organized jointly by UNESCO and the International Council for Science in Budapest (Hungary) in 1999. The Day offers an opportunity to reaffirm each year our commitment to attaining the goals proclaimed in one of the twin documents adopted by the World Conference on Science: the Declaration on Science and the Use of Scientific Knowledge and to follow up the recommendations contained in the Conference’s Science Agenda: Framework for Action. The biennial World Science Forum is always held as close as possible to World Science Day.

© Mayank Malhotra, DAV college for girls, YamunaNagar, India, Celebration of World Science Day 2010 in India

Resources for organizing your own celebration of World Science Day

UNESCO produces a poster each year which may be freely downloaded. The poster exists in several versions and a blank version may also be downloaded for the addition of text in other languages.

UNESCO also produces an open access, quarterly magazine, A World of Science, which popularizes science and discusses a wide range of contemporary issues, including freshwater management and biodiversity protection, greening chemistry, sustainable agriculture and climate change. All the stories published in the journal are freely available to interested parties, who may use them as a resource.

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