A revised Recommendation was adopted by the General Conference at its 39th session, superseding the 1974 text. Its name is also revised, to become the Recommendation on Science and Scientific Researchers.
The UNESCO Recommendation on Science and Scientific Researchers is an important standard-setting instrument which not only codifies the goals and value systems by which science operates, but also emphasizes that these need to be supported and protected if science is to flourish.
The Recommendation was adopted on 13 November 2017. It supersedes the Recommendation on the Status of Scientific Researchers (1974). The 39th General Conference by its resolution 85 significantly expanded the scope and reach of the former recommendation, and added a four-yearly monitoring procedure, inviting the Member States to focus their implementation on '10 key areas' when they report on implementation in the second quarter of 2021.
This Recommendation has a particular value today, including for developing countries in building up their scientific skills and institutions. For these, it provides a useful checklist of political and institutional requirements.
The Recommendation promotes a fair and appropriate status of scientific researchers and informs adequate national science, technology and innovation policies, and policies to ensure that societies use knowledge from all scientific fields in a responsible manner.
The Recommendation also indicates how, in principle, this can be achieved. For example, it stresses the importance of two issues:
- the need to ensure the free circulation of scientific data, and
- the need to provide scientists with adequate financial and institutional support.
The implementation of the Recommendation in Member States is monitored by the UNESCO governing bodies. Every four years, the Secretariat of UNESCO collects information from Member States, in consultation with other partners.
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Monitoring of the implementation of the Recommendation (2017)
The first consultation on the implementation of the 2017 Recommendation on Science and Scientific Researchers will take place between 2020 and 2021, covering the period from 2017 to 2020. It will result in national reports that will be examined by the Executive Board and then by the General Conference.
Information on implementation of the prior Recommendation (1974)
A consultation on the implementation of the 1974 Recommendation on the Status of Scientific Researchers took place from 22 December 2016 to 22 May 2017. It resulted in a consolidated report covering the period from 2013 to 2016, which was submitted to the 202nd session of the Executive Board, and subsequently to the 39th session of the General Conference.
- Brochure on the Recommendation
also available in Arabic, French, Lithuanian, Korean and Mongolian
- Evolution of the Recommendation
- General Conference 39/C resolutions 84 and 85
- UNESCO brief on the right to science and COVID-19
- An Introduction to UNESCO’s Updated Recommendation on Science and Scientific Researchers (Canadian Commission for UNESCO, Netherlands National Commission for UNESCO), also available in Catalan, French, Korean, Portuguese and Spanish
- Strengthening STI Systems for Sustainable Development in Africa
- Science for a Sustainable Future
- Science for Society
- Ethics of Science and Technology
- Fostering Freedom of Expresssion
- International Bioethics Committee (IBC)
- Management of Social Transformations (MOST) Programme
- World Commission on the Ethics of Scientific Knowledge and Technology (COMEST)
- UNESCO Recommendation on the Ethics of Artificial Intelligence
- UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science
- 1999 Declaration on Science and the use of Scientific Knowledge
- Universal Declaration of Bioethics and Human Rights
- First Declaration of scientific integrity on responsible research and innovation elaborated in Latin countries
- UNESCO and Sustainable Development Goals