Mobilising UNESCO Chairs in Natural Sciences for Policy Action towards the 2030 Agenda

About the Conference

In September 2015, the United Nations adopted a resolution setting an agenda for sustainable development “for people, planet and prosperity”: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Following the success of the Millennium Development Goals, which came to end in 2015, the 2030 Agenda builds on their achievements and sets 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 targets.

The 2030 Agenda represents a significant step forward in the recognition of the contribution of science, technology and innovation (STI) to sustainable development and as a driving force, not only for economic growth and prosperity, but also for environmental sustainability, development and social inclusion. The 2030 Agenda offers immense opportunities to reconnect science to society and to build a new basis for research and development as a key precondition for both science and society to flourish.

As the only UN agency with science in its mandate, UNESCO is at the heart of this initiative, through our intergovernmental scientific programmes, through our science education initiatives, through our Centres of Excellence, institutes and UNESCO Chairs and UNITWIN Networks.

The Conference is organised whithin the framework of the UNITWIN/UNESCO Chairs Programme, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. The success of this initiative is impressive and we count today more than 700 UNESCO Chairs and UNITWIN Networks worldwide, with more than 170 in Natural Sciences.

Therefore, the UNESCO Chairs and UNITWIN Networks have an important role to play in the common effort to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

In this context and for the first time, UNESCO Chairs and UNITWIN Networks in Natural Sciences will gather in Geneva to build synergy and cooperation among themselves and between UNESCO and the United Nations family.


In the preamble of the Declaration of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the importance of collaborative partnerships between all stakeholders is underlined. As a result, UNESCO’s Natural Sciences Sector identified 3 objectives for its partnerships with its chairs in order to contribute to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda:

  • The need for a stronger contribution of science, technology and innovation (STI) in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda;
  • The need for reinforcing the dynamism of the UNITWIN/UNESCO networks;
  • The need for reinforcing outreach and partnerships within UNESCO and United Nations family.

During the conference, UNESCO Chairs and UNITWIN Networks in Natural Sciences will study avenues for improving cooperation between chairs following these objectives. At this occasion, they will have the opportunity to meet members of International Organisations and visit the CERN. Their reflection will be outlined in a final document.

This document, the “Geneva Milestone”, will detail the roadmap of the Chairs’ contribution to achieve the SDGs.

UNESCO Chairs and UNITWIN Networks in Natural Sciences


View a larger version of UNESCO Chairs and UNITWIN Networks in Natural Sciences created with eSpatial mapping software.

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