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Sustainable Development Goals for Social and Human Sciences



To enable people to create and use knowledge for just and inclusive societies

UNESCO’s Social and Human Sciences Programme aims to firmly entrench universal values and principles, such as global solidarity, inclusion, anti-discrimination, gender equality and accountability, in the implementation of the post-2015 development agenda.

To this end, it is important to reinforce existing and develop new interdisciplinary and results-oriented initiatives that foster increased international collaboration and participation, with due account of its evolving dynamics, in order to:

  1. Build a global partnership against all forms of discrimination;
  2. Shape attitudes and behaviours conducive to inclusion and to address discrimination and intolerance among young women and men; and
  3. Develop tools and strengthen capacities for measuring and monitoring progress towards SDGs.

The implementation phase of the SDGs presents an opportunity for UNESCO to promote research, and standard-setting activities, as well as to disseminate knowledge on human rights that are within the competence of UNESCO.

Through research, foresight and management of social transformations, UNESCO will strengthen the link between knowledge, policy and practice, by drawing on the competences of the social sciences to advance innovative thinking that holds the potential for transforming societies across different facets of the SDGs. Foresight will introduce the use of the future in comprehending the nature of the SDGs and developing a wider range of human responses to the challenges and aspirations of the post-2015 agenda.

In relation to the contribution of science and technology to sustainable development, UNESCO will work on the right to enjoy the benefits of scientific progress and its applications (REBSP) and the principle of the sharing of benefits, with a view to enhance capacities of Member States to respond to sustainable development challenges (climate change, widening inequalities, including in access to science, technology and innovation, unsustainable consumption and production patterns, etc.). It will also continue to work on bioethics and ethics of science and technology.

Through its membership in the Human Rights Working Group of the UN Development Group (UNDG), UNESCO is also active in developing a system-wide reflection on positioning human rights in the implementation of the SDGs.

Engaging youth is “the human development agenda for the next decade”. Around the world, young women and men are driving change and claiming respect for fundamental freedoms and rights; improved conditions for them and their communities; opportunities to learn, work and participate in decisions that affect them. At the same time, due to persistent crises, they are faced with acute challenges affecting important aspects of their lives. More than ever, it is now time to improve investment in research, policies and programmes to create an enabling and rights-based environment where youth prosper, exercise rights, regain hope and a sense of community, and engage as responsible social actors and innovators.

Cultural literacy needs be strengthened at a large scale and new opportunities and spaces for dialogue and cooperation created through the development of intercultural competences based on shared values, mutual understanding and respect, empathy, reconciliation and trust.

A culture of peace should be promoted as a key enabler for sustainable development, bearing in mind that values and practices of mutual respect and tolerance, reinforced through intercultural and interreligious dialogue and a commitment to non-violence and reconciliation, are essential to realize everyday peace for all members of society.