Building peace in the minds of men and women

About the Natural Sciences Sector

UNESCO works to advance and promote science in the interests of peace, sustainable development and human security and well-being, in close collaboration with its Member States and a wide variety of partners. It is the only United Nations specialized agency, symbolized by the ‘S’ in the acronym, with a specific mandate for science.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development represents a significant step forward in the recognition of the contribution of Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) to sustainable development. Solutions to today’s global challenges such as climate change and youth unemployment need a multi-sectoral response and in this regard UNESCO mobilizes scientific knowledge in the context of its multidisciplinary mandate in education, culture, the social and human sciences and communication.

Since its foundation in 1945 UNESCO has acted as a catalyst for the establishment of many, now leading, scientific unions and bodies such as CERN; and initiatives with far-reaching implications for sustainable human security and well-being. UNESCO:

  • Acts as a platform for sharing ideas and standard setting;
  • Catalyses international cooperation in science;
  • Promotes dialogue between scientists and policy makers;
  • Builds capacity in science.

International Science Programmes

UNESCO’s international science programmes have long-standing experience in mobilizing the best available fundamental and applied science in their respective fields to serve Member States.  

 In their respective scientific fields, UNESCO’s international science programmes work to develop:

  • international cooperation, networking and knowledge-sharing ;
  • research, monitoring, and the generation of knowledge;
  • human and institutional capacity and educational initiatives;
  • sound policies and governance;
  • responses to requests for technical assistance from Member States;
  • awareness on scientific issues among policy-makers and the general public.

Additionally, UNESCO's Local and Indigenous Knowledge Systems programme (LINKS) promotes local and indigenous knowledge and its inclusion in global climate science and policy processes, and its World Water Assessment Programme (WWAP) produces policy-relevant, timely and reliable information in various fields of water resources developments and management.

These programmes are supported by extensive networks and benefit from the concrete experience gained from the UNESCO designated sites: biosphere reserves, UNESCO Global Geoparks and natural sites inscribed on the World Heritage list.

The Natural Sciences Sector also implements its programmes through:

More than 250 of the UNESCO/UNITWIN University chairs are science related.

In addition to these programmes, a body with functional autonomy within UNESCO carries out a specific mandate on ocean sciences: the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC-UNESCO).

Assistant Director-General for Natural Sciences

Shamila Nair-Bedouelle

Shamila Nair-Bedouelle took up her duties as Assistant Director-General for the Natural Sciences at UNESCO on 1 April 2019.
She comes to UNESCO from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), where she had served as Director of the OzonAction programme since 2012. Responsible for implementing the Multilateral Fund for the Montreal Protocol, she had coordinated a unique network of 147 national Ozone Action offices, providing developing countries with scientific and technical advice as to which alternative technologies to choose to the chemical substances depleting the Ozone Layer. A strong advocate for enhancing womens’ role in science and engineering, she launched UNEP’s first training programme for women technicians.

Shamila Nair-Bedouelle holds a PhD in Life Sciences from the University of Capetown in South Africa. She pursued her research career at the Institut Pasteur in Paris from January 1992 onwards then within the pharmaceutical industry at the MIT University Park in Boston, USA, from January 1994 until January 1996, when she integrated the French National Institue for Medical Research (Institut national de la santé et de la recherche médicale, INSERM). She has published in numerous scientific journals and is the co-inventor of several patents.
Dr Nair-Bedouelle has pursued her research interests in parallel to her career at the United Nations. She has been Director of Research at the University of Paris V in France since 2000 and was nominated First Class Director of Research at INSERM in 2017. She also has a strong interest in managing science programmes. From 2002 to 2007, she was seconded from INSERM to the European Commission to serve as scientific officer and deputy scientific coordinator of scientific programmes.

In January 2007, Dr Nair-Bedouelle was seconded from INSERM to UNESCO to head its Ethics of Science and Technology programme. Eighteen months later, she joined UNESCO’s Sector for Natural Sciences as Chief of the Unit for Africa’s Science and Technology Consolidated Plan of Action within the Division for Science Policy and Capacity-building. Here, she managed the United Nations Cluster for Science and Technology in Africa and represented UNESCO at the African Ministerial Council for Science and Technology. As Coordinator of the Working Group on Gender Equality at UNESCO from January 2010 onwards, she launched the first Science Camp for Girls in South Africa and coordinated science education projects on the continent.
Africa remained the focus of her work at the Africa Department, where she evaluated UNESCO’s scientific programmes on the continent from January 2012 onwards before taking up her new functions as Director of OzonAction at UNEP.

Who's who

Office of the Assistant Director-General

Shamila NAIR-BEDOUELLE
Assistant Director-General for Natural Sciences
Mail: s.nair-bedouelle@unesco.org 

Marie-Laure LESPINE
Senior Secretarial Assistant
Mail: ML.Lespine@unesco.org   
Tel: +33 (0) 1 45 68 40 77 or 11 98

Executive Office

Jayakumar RAMASAMY
Chief Executive Officer (SC/EO)
Mail: r.jayakumar@unesco.org
Tel: +33 (1) 45 68 08 12

Anna BONETTI
programme coordinator
Mail: A.Bonetti@unesco.org  
Tel: +33 (0) 1 45 68 11 56

Konomi SUGO
Secretarial Assistant, Executive Office
Mail: K.Sugo@unesco.org 
Tel: + 33 (0) 1 45 68 12 88

Gifty AWUA-KYEREMATEN
Senior Programme Assistant
Mail: G.Awua-Kyerematen@unesco.org
Tel: +33 (0) 1 45 68 05 42

Christine ABDALLA ISKANDAR
Consultant
Mail: c.iskandar-abdalla@unesco.org
Tel: +33 (0) 1 45 68 10 61

Isabelle BRUGNON
Web editor
Mail: i.brugnon@unesco.org
Tel: +33 (0) 1 45 68 05 43

Patricia NIANGO
Network Support Technician
Mail: p.niango@unesco.org
Tel: + 33 (0) 1 45 68 08 47

Natalia TOLOCHKO
Assistant Publications Officer
Mail: n.tolochko@unesco.org
Tel: + 33 (0) 1 45 68 07 99

Administrative Unit

Jong Chol LI
Administrative Officer
Mail: jc.li@unesco.org
Tel: + 33 (0) 1 45 68 05 55

Ayelecht DAVID
Senior Administrative Assistant
Mail: a.david@unesco.org
Tel: + 33(0) 1 45 68 05 51

Ernestine NGONDJI
Senior Administrative Assistant
Mail: e.ngondji@unesco.org
Tel: + 33(0) 1 45 68 12 99

Carlie BOUCAUD
Senior Administrative Assistant (HR)
Mail: c.boucaud@unesco.org
Tel: + 33 (0) 45 68 18 36

Maud DE JORNA
Administrative Assistant
Mail: m.dejorna@unesco.org
Tel: + 33 (0) 1 45 68 06 30

Charlotte FRIMPONG NORTEY
Administrative Assistant (HR)
Mail: c.nortey@unesco.org
Tel: + 33 (0) 1 45 68 14 10

Rose-Mene RAVELOJAONA
Administrative Assistant
Mail: rm.ravelojaona@unesco.org
Tel: +33145680398

Daphnée CHARLESTON
Junior Administrative Assistant
Mail : d.charleston@unesco.org
Tel : +33 (0)1 45 68 03 43

 

Section for Small Island Developping States (SIDS)

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Division of Science Policy and Capacity-Building (SC/PCB)

Peggy OTI-BOATENG
Director, Division of Science Policy and Capacity-Building
Mail: p.oti-boateng@unesco.org
Tel: +33 (0) 1 45 68 18 15

Cecilia DIXON-CIFUENTES
Assistant to Director
Mail: c.dixon-cifuentes@unesco.org
Tel: +33 (0) 1 45 68 15 49

Susan SCHNEEGANS
Editor (English)
Mail: s.schneegans@unesco.org
Tel: +33 (0) 1 45 68 24 43

Ali BARBASH
Computer application and web assistant
Mail: a.barbash@unesco.org
Tel: + 33 (0) 1 45 68 07 43

Jake LEWIS
Project Officer
Mail: j.lewis@unesco.org
Tel: +33 (0) 1 45 68 21 72

Tiffany STRAZA
Consultant
Mail: tr.straza@unesco.org
Tel: +33 (1) 45 68 20 18

Science Policy and Partnerships (SPP)

Ana PERSIC
Chief of Section a.i.
Senior Programme Specialist,  
Mail: a.persic@unesco.org
Tel: +33 (0) 1 45 68 17 00

Cornelia HAUKE
Programme Assistant
Email: c.hauke@unesco.org
Tel: +33 (0) 1 45 68 18 34

Yoslan NUR
Programme Specialist
Mail: y.nur@unesco.org
Tel: +33 (0) 1 45 68 20 31

Kornelia TZINOVA
Assistant Programme Specialist
Mail: k.tzinova@unesco.org
Tel: +33 (0) 1 45 68 03 15

Christina BUERGI
Expert
Mail: c.buergi@unesco.org
Tel: +33 (0) 1 45 68 09 44

Annapaola COPPOLA
Project Officer
Mail: ap.coppola@unesco.org
Tel: +33 (0)1 45 68 18 69

Fereshteh RAFIEIAN
Associate Programme Specialist
Mail: f.rafieian@unesco.org
Tel: +33 (0) 1 45 68 19 57

Despoina SOUSONI

Mail: d.sousoni@unesco.org
Tel: +33 (0)1 45 68 02 55

Zaid Angelos HAIDAR
Consultant
Mail: za.haidar@unesco.org
Tel: +33 (0) 1 45 68 06 65

 

 

Section for Innovation and Capacity Building in Science and Engineering (ICB)

Ahmed FAHMI
Chief of Section a.i.
Programme Specialist,
Mail: a.fahmi@unesco.org
Tel: +33 (0) 1 45 68 08 25

Suzanne POTE
Secretarial assistant
Mail: s.pote@unesco.org
Tel: +33 (0) 1 45 68 08 44

Imteyaz KHODABUX
Programme Specialist
Mail: i.khodabux@unesco.org
Tel: +33 (0) 1 45 68 04 72

Souad ROUABAH
Assistant Project Officer
Mail: s.rouabah@unesco.org
Tel: +33 (0) 1 45 68 07 87

Rovani SIGAMONEY
Assistant programme Specialist
Mail: r.sigamoney@unesco.org
Tel: +33 (0) 1 45 68 22 37

 

Section for Local and Indigenous Knowledge Systems (LINKS)

Nigel CRAWHALL
Chief of Section
Email: n.crawhall@unesco.org
Tel: +33 (0) 1 45 68 14 98

Sunday FADINA
Assistant to Chief of Section
Email: s.fadina@unesco.org
Tel: +33 (0) 1 45 68 08 08

Peter BATES
Project Officer, IPBES Technical Support Unit on Indigenous and Local Knowledge
Email: p.bates@unesco.org
Tel: +33 (0) 1 45 68 01 85

Joseph KARANJA
Project Officer, BES-Net unit on Indigenous and Local Knowledge
j.karanja@unesco.com
Tel: +33 (0) 1 45 68 20 72

Division of Water Sciences (HYD)

Abou AMANI
Director, Division of Water Sciences
Secretary, Intergovernmental Hydrological Programme (IHP) a.i.
Tel.: +33 (0) 1 45 68 03 22
Email: a.amani@unesco.org

Anna MOVSISYAN
Assistant to the Director and Secretary of IHP
Tel.: +33 (0) 1 45 68 04 16
Email: a.movsisyan@unesco.org

Groundwater Systems and Settlements Section (GSS)

 

Alice AURELI
Chief of Section 
Tel.: +33 (0) 1 45 68 03 21
Email: a.aureli@unesco.org

See all GSS contacts

Hydrological Systems and Water Scarcity Section (HSS)

Chief of Section under recruitment

See all HSS contacts

Eco-hydrology, Water Quality and Water Education Section (EQE)

Giuseppe ARDUINO
Chief of Section
Tel.: +33 (0) 1 45 68 03 40
Email: g.arduino@unesco.org

See all EQE contacts

World Water Assessment Programme (WWAP)

Michela MILETTO
Coordinator of the World Water Assessment Programme a.i.
Mail: m.miletto@unesco.org
Tel: +39 075-5911001

Barbara BRACAGLIA
Senior Programme Assistant
Mail: b.bracaglia@unesco.org
Tel: +39 075-5911001

Division of Ecological and Earth Sciences (EES)

Miguel CLÜSENER-GODT
Director, Division of Ecological and Earth Sciences
Secretary, Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme
Mail: m.clusener-godt@unesco.org

Sima TAHERI-GAUTER
Assistant to Division Director
MAB Secretariat
Mail: s.taheri@unesco.org
Tel: +33 (0) 1 45 68 08 05

MAB Networking: Biosphere Reserves and Capacity Building (NBC)

Noeline RAONDRY RAKOTOARISOA
Chief of Section
E-mail: n.raondry-rakotoarisoa@unesco.org
Tel: +33 (0) 1 45 68 05 57

MAB Research and Policy: Ecology and Biodiversity (ESP)

Meriem BOUAMRANE
Chief of Section
E-mail: m.bouamrane@unesco.org
Tel: +33 (0) 1 45 68 07 09

Earth Sciences and Geo-Hazards Risk Reduction Section (EGR)

Kristof VANDENBERGHE
Chief of section
Secretary of the International Geoscience and Geoparks Programme (IGGP)
E-mail: k.vandenberghe@unesco.org

Soichiro YASUKAWA
Programme Specialist on Disaster Risk Reduction
E-mail: s.yasukawa@unesco.org
Tel: +33 (0)1 45 68 18 07