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UNESCO: United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization


Natural Sciences


South Africa

South Africa
  • © UNESCO
  • The fossil hominid sites of Sterkfontein, Swartrams, Kromdraai

The country is covered by the UNESCO office in Windhoek, Namibia.

South Africa is currently facing a difficult challenge: tackling a high national illiteracy rate. Besides promoting a more sturdy educational system, the country is also active in science and research. It is investing in the scientific and engineering sectors, and is a key participant at a large number of international conferences.


Below you can access the projects that are currently being implemented in the country within the framework of UNESCO’s Natural Sciences Sector.



- Water for human needs: Capacity-building towards improving groundwater for rural water supply in sub-Saharan Africa More

- Hydrology for the Environment, Life and Policy (HELP) project in the Olifants Basin More

- Southern Africa Flow Regimes from International Experimental and Network Data (SA FRIEND)

- UNESCO Chair in Geohydrology, established in 1999 at the University of the Western Cape More


People, Biodiversity and Ecology

- Global Change and Mountain Regions (GLOCHAMORE)

- Sustainable Integrated Management and Development of the Arid and Semi-Arid Region of Southern Africa programme (SIMDAS)

- Biosphere Reserves (WNBRs)



- Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning System programme (IOTWS)

- IOC International Oceanographic Data and Information exchange (IODE)

- OceanData and Information Network for Africa (ODINAFRICA)


Earth Sciences

- Triassic Time and Trans-Panthalassan Correlations (IGCP, Project 467)

- GIS metallogeny of Central Asia (IGCP, Project 473)

- Sustainable Use of Platinum Group Elements (IGCP, Project 479)

- Geodynamics of the East African Rift System / Geophysical Characteristics and Evolution of the South-western Branch of the East African Rift System (IGCP, Project 482/489)

- The Boundaries of the West African Craton (IGCP, Project 485)

- Middle Palaeozoic vertebrate biogeography, palaeogeography and climate (IGCP, Project 491)

- The Rheic Ocean: Its origin, evolution, and correlatives  (IGCP, Project 497)

- Dryland Change: Past, Present, Future (IGCP, Project 500)

- Ordovician palaeogeography and palaeoclimate (IGCP, Project 503)

- Marine and Non-marine Jurassic: Global correlation and major geological events (IGCP, Project 506)

- Palaeoproterozoic Supercontinents and Global Evolution (IGCP, Project 509)

- Global correlation of A-type granites and related rocks, their mineralization, and significance in lithospheric evolution (IGCP, Project 510)

- Neoproterozoic Ice Ages (IGCP, Project 512)

- Low-temperature thermochronology: applications and inter-laboratory calibration (IGCP, Project 543)

- Clays and clay minerals in Africa (IGCP, Project 545)

Basic Sciences

- Cross-disciplinary partnerships in promoting basic research and the use of scientific knowledge: Identification and prioritization of learning needs in science More

- Global Microscience Project (GPME)

- UNESCO Chair in Mathematics and Science Education, established in 1992 at the University of Western Cape within the framework of UTRECHT-UNITWIN Network for Southern Africa More

- UNESCO Chair in Biotechnology, established in 1999 at the University of Limpopo (former University of the North) More


Science Policy and Sustainable Development

- Establishing Science and Technology Parks More


Coast and Small Islands

- Development-conservation strategies for integrated coastal management in Maputaland (Mozambique, South Africa) More

Renewable and Alternative Energies

- Solar Village Programme More

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