UNESCO and GECF sign a Memorandum of Understanding to foster scientific cooperation
On 8 December 2020, UNESCO and the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to foster collaboration and exchange of scientific expertise and knowledge to address emerging environmental challenges towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 agenda.
Following the decision of the Executive board in its 209th session, the agreement was signed by Shamila Nair-Bedouelle, the Assistant Director-General for Natural Sciences at UNESCO and HE Yury Sentyurin, the Secretary General of the 20-member coalition of the leading gas exporting countries of the world.
The MoU specific objectives are aligned to the mandate and common areas of interest of both organizations focusing on promoting science and scientific collaboration, raising awareness on biodiversity loss, as well as addressing climate change.
The Gas Exporting Countries Forum, established in 2001, is a gathering of the world’s leading gas producers, whose objective is to increase the level of coordination and to strengthen collaboration among Members, through research and exchange of data towards addressing world’s demand for clean energy sources and responding to environmental challenges, particularly climate change.
As an observer organization to the UNFCCC (UN Framework Convention on Climate Change), the GECF actively participates in the conference of parties, with the most recent statements made at COP24 and COP25. The Forum is also a regular contributor to the discussions of the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Group of Experts on Gas, where it analyses natural gas’ leading role in attaining the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
In her opening remarks, Nair-Bedouelle stressed on “the role of science, technology and innovation in addressing our most pressing challenges”. She added “It is now evident that a more interdisciplinary approach through all sectors of the economy is a perquisite for the implementation of data-driven actions and comprehensive and integrated strategies to reduce emissions, adapt and mitigate climate threats as well as accelerating the transition towards green innovation and technologies and building socio-economic resilience and environmental stability”.
On the other hand, HE Sentyurin stated that “The GECF is developing technologies, including ones in relation to reduction of GHGs emissions through the GECF Gas Research Institute, recently established in Algeria, and fully dedicated to discovering new technologies and innovations to achieve the ambitious sustainable development goals in front of us”.
Further, Scientifically grounded data and insights are championed at the GECF, whose Secretary General emphasized that technology is key to the envisaged energy transition and climate action such as greenhouse gasses (GHGs) emissions mitigation. HE Sentyurin added that “education and science-oriented exercises play a great role in environmental protection with a view to raise awareness and cultivate a “culture of energy responsible behavior” or “energy scholarship”.
Recognizing the role of science, technology and innovation as well as the importance of Education for Sustainable Development to adapt and mitigate the impact of climate change, both organization will work together to define joint initiatives to ensure dissemination of knowledge and sharing best practices as well as strengthen the capacities of Member States towards achieving the Sustainable Goals of the 2030 Agenda.