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UNESCO: United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization



Strategy and Programmes

Major Programme II - Natural Sciences

Strategy and Programmes
  • UNESCO. General Conference; 35th; 2009


The Natural Sciences Sector contributes to UNESCO’s mission by using science to build peace, to eradicate poverty and to promote sustainable development.

Strategy and Programme

The 34th session of the UNESCO General Conference (in 2007) adopted the Medium-Term Strategy for 2008 to 2013 (Document 34 C/4) which sets out the strategic vision and programmatic framework for UNESCO’s action for this period. The two overarching priorities for this six year period are: Africa and gender equality.

With respect to the natural sciences, the overarching objective is mobilizing science knowledge and policy for sustainable development with the following three strategic programme objectives:

  • Leveraging scientific knowledge for the benefit of the environment and the management of natural resources;
  • Fostering policies and capacity-building in science, technology and innovation;
  • Contributing to disaster preparedness and mitigation.


The Programme and Budget for Natural Sciences for the biennium 2010-2011 (Document 35 C/5) will be implemented within the framework of the Medium Term Strategy. For this two year period the two biennial priorities for the natural sciences are:

  • Policies and capacity-building in science, technology and innovation for sustainable development and poverty eradication;
  • Sustainable management of freshwater, ocean and terrestrial resources as well as disaster preparedness and mitigation.


Related links:
::  Approved version of the 34C/4
::  Approved version of the 35C/5



Implementation of the natural sciences activities within the context of UNESCO's strategic planning and results-based management are grouped under four Main Lines of Action:

  • enhancing the leverage of science through integrated science, technology and innovation (STI) policy;
  • strengthening science education and capacity-building in the sciences;
  • promoting the sustainable management and conservation of freshwater, terrestrial resources and biodiversity as well as disaster resilience;
  • improving governance and fostering intergovernmental cooperation to manage and protect oceans and coastal zones.

In the period 2010-2011, there will be increasing focus on:

  • science policy and capacity building;
  • science education;
  • sustainable use of freshwater;
  • governance of the oceans and coasts;
  • the climate change knowledge base and adaptation measures.

The Natural Sciences Sector leads UNESCO’s interdisciplinary work in the following fields: UNESCO action to address climate change; science education; and contribution to the implementation of the Mauritius Strategy for the sustainable development of small island developing states.

Within the Natural Sciences Sector, interdisciplinary work focuses on disaster mitigation, urban issues, climate change and energy, with coastal zones as a cross-cutting theme.

Main programmes in the Natural Sciences are:

Europe and North America Latin America and the Caribbean Africa Arab States Asia Pacific