Building peace in the minds of men and women

Sustainable Development Goals for Social and Human Sciences



Supporting inclusive social development, fostering intercultural dialogue for the rapprochement of cultures and promoting ethical principles

The social dimensions of the 2030 Agenda and the targets on social inclusion, the eradication of extreme poverty, the reduction of inequalities, inclusive policies for cities, as well as inclusive and participatory decision-making, resonate with UNESCO’s mandate to support Member States in managing contemporary social transformations. Intercultural dialogue is essential to understanding contemporary social transformations and to ensuring peaceful societies. The achievement of the SDGs and the African Union Agenda 2063 will depend on researchers and policymakers, practitioners and stakeholders having access to and being able to share pertinent and accurate information about the societies and communities targeted by their actions, as well as a coherent intellectual framework in which to proceed. 

Alongside Member States’ engagement in the production of knowledge, the effective use of research through a strengthened research-policy nexus can improve evidence-informed public policy, guided by universal values and principles based on human rights and ethical principles; enhance public services and raise the level of public debates. The integrated nature of the 2030 Agenda and its 17 SDGs requires greater policy coherence at the national, regional and international levels that can be obtained through stronger links between social science research and public policy-making. 

The work of UNESCO’s Social and Human Sciences Programme, focusing on policy advice and capacity-building, makes a direct contribution to supporting Member States in the achievement of three Sustainable Development Goals:  

  • SDG 16 “Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all, build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels” (targets 16.6 and 16.7);
  • SDG 10 “Reduce inequality within and among countries” (targets 10.2, 10.3 and 10.7); and
  • SDG 11 “Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable” (target 11.3). 

It also provides indirect contributions to supporting Member States in the implementation of three other SDGs and a number of associated targets:

  • SDG 4 “Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning education for all” (target 4.7);
  • SDG 3 “Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages; and
  • SDG 13 “Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts”.

The Programme will also contribute to supporting Member States in the achievement of SDG 5 “Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls”, in particular of the targets 5.1, 5.5 and 5.c. 

The six thematic areas on which UNESCO’s Social and Human Sciences Programme will focus its efforts are the following:

  1. Strengthening the research policy nexus
  2. Addressing discrimination and fostering values and rights
  3. Promoting ethical norms and standards to address challenges for society deriving from scientific development
  4. Sport for development
  5. History, memory and intercultural dialogue
  6. Engaging young women and men as agents of change