UNESCO promotes international cooperation in science in the interests of peace, human rights and development. The Natural Sciences Sector representing the ‘S’ in UNESCO between the ‘E’ for education and the ‘C’ for culture works in an interdisciplinary environment.
UNESCO acts as an advocate for science, as a platform for sharing ideas and standard setting, and promotes dialogue between scientists and policy makers. It empowers and catalyses innovative initiatives in the field of international cooperation in science, in particular through networks and capacity building activities.
On the national level, UNESCO’s work in science is also advanced through the National Committees of the International Scientific Programmes (ISPs) including the:
• International Hydrological Programme (IHP);
• Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC);
• Man and the Biosphere Programme (MAB);
• International Geosciences Programme (IGCP);
• International Basic Sciences Programme (IBSP).
As one of UNESCO’s five specialized Sectors, our mission is to advance knowledge, standards and intellectual cooperation in order to facilitate social transformations conducive to the universal values of justice, freedom and human dignity.
The social and human sciences have a vital role to play in helping to understand and interpret the social, cultural and economic environment. They provide research, identify and analyse trends, propose paths of action. UNESCO has set itself a number of tasks that should help reduce the gap between what is and what should be. This also corresponds to the work of the Sector for Social and Human Sciences (SHS):
• Determine what should be (ethics and human rights)
• Anticipate what could be (philosophy)
• Study what is (empirical social science research)
In the field of social and human sciences, UNESCO works closely with advisory committees, NGOs, networks and professional associations, civil society groups, etc.
Social and human sciences journals produced by or with UNESCO include:
• the quarterly International Social Science Journal (ISSJ), which publishes articles on topical issues such as violence, migration, governance, the knowledge society;
• and, the International Journal on Multicultural Societies (E-Journal).
The quarterly magazine SHS Views provides information on UNESCO’s on-going projects and events in the field of social and human sciences.