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Science

Science as part of global sustainability goals  
Photo: © Colourbox.de

Science

The UNESCO science programme aims to promote lasting, sustainable and humane development for all people and to preserve global peace. This will be achieved through numerous international research programmes as well as by establishing international and interdisciplinary research networks. The scheme places particular emphasis on promoting women in science.

The successful UNESCO Chairs Programme is an important driving force for international exchange in higher education. There are currently more than 600 UNESCO Chairs worldwide, eight of which are established in Austrian universities.

In terms of content, UNESCO is emphasising the sustainable use of natural resources, climate change and the conservation of biodiversity, the promotion of knowledge to protect oceans and coasts, as well as the safeguarding of drinking water supplies. The following UNESCO programmes are exemplary of these focal points: Man and the Biosphere, Intergovernmental Hydrological Programme and International Geoscience Programme. 

“Science and its diverse disciplines recognise and label societal developments and challenges, they offer approaches and work out potential answers to the pressing questions of our time.”

Gabriele Eschig, former General Secretary, Austrian Commission for UNESCO 

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Man and the Biosphere
Shaping a sustainable relationship between man and the environment

At the centre of the Man and the Biosphere Programme stands the concept of the UNESCO Biosphere Reserves. UNESCO Biosphere Reserves are internationally representative land, water or coastal regions in which sustainable development is actively practised. These places provide an example of how the effort of preserving biodiversity and regional cultural value can go hand in hand with social and economic development. UNESCO Biosphere Reserves thus represent the cohabitation of man and nature. The Man and the Biosphere Programme

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Geoscience and hydrological sciences
From global change to hydrology, mineral material and groundwater resources

In terms of its key content areas, UNESCO is emphasising climate change and the conservation of biodiversity, the promotion of knowledge to protect oceans and coasts, as well as safeguarding drinking water supplies. Examples of these efforts are the UNESCO programmes established in order to address these issues: the International Hydrological and Geoscience Programmes (IHP and IGCP), which are dedicated to researching and protecting the environment for humanity. In Austria, the programmes are overseen by the National Committee for Geo/Hydro Sciences at the Austrian Academy of Sciences (ÖAW).

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For Women in Science
A joint collaboration between L'ORÉAL and UNESCO

The goal of the “For Women in Science” cooperation between L’ORÉAL and UNESCO is public recognition and worldwide promotion of the role of women in science, especially in life sciences. In doing so, L’ORÉAL supports what is a significant concern for UNESCO: stopping the multifaceted ways in which women experience discrimination, which are rooted in unequal access to education in general and become even more apparent when it comes to scientific education.

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Scientific ethics and bioethics
What are the consequences of research for society?

The multifaceted impacts of technical advances are often a double-edged sword and pose complex problems for both individuals and society as a whole. There is a need for finding common values and criteria that respond to the ethical and social questions of global change – an urgent necessity in the age of globalisation. Ethics therefore form the foundation of UNESCO’s activities in science. Austria’s many years of active participation in the UNESCO Bioethics Programme, the International Bioethics Committee (IBC) and the Intergovernmental Bioethics Committee (IGBC) are also extremely important to international and national discussion on the topic of life sciences.

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