Science at heart of 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

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Science Week illustration image | ©UNESCO

Science stands at the heart of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, the Sendai Framework for Action, and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, all of which embody a new vision for prosperity, peace and the planet. The annual observance of the International Week of Science and Peace, and World Science Day for Peace and Development on 10 November, make an important contribution to the promotion of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The 2016 World Science Day for Peace and Development is dedicated to the theme “Celebrating Science Centres and Science Museums”. On this occasion, UNESCO together with international networks of Science Centres and Science museums are organizing a one-day conference at UNESCO’s headquarters in Paris, entitled “Discover Your World”. The main objective of the conference is to bring global attention to the role that Science Centers and Science Museums can play in expanding public engagement in support of global sustainability.

Science Centers and Science Museums play a key role in increasing scientific awareness, engagement and participation among people and particularly the youth. However, the world is facing a global crisis in science education, as seen by diminishing number of youngsters interested in studying science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). A considerable percentage of young people in the world are not interested in STEM careers mainly because they perceive science as boring and difficult.

In response to this shortfall, the European Union funded project PERFORM aims to investigate the potential of innovative science education methods, based on performing arts, to foster young peoples’ motivations and engagement with STEM, starting in selected secondary schools in France, Spain and the United Kingdom. The project is being presented to UNESCO’s member states on World Science Day.

This is also where science centres and museums have an important role to play -- they are key to nurturing the curiosity of women and men. In the digital era, when we need innovative initiatives to promote the learning of science outside the classrooms, museums and science centres are privileged places of education. They provide excellent ways to encourage children, especially girls, to pursue careers in science.

 “Science museums and centres produce sparks of delight and wonder that inspire all visitors, regardless of age and background, in an experience that brings all women and men together around common values” – Ms Bokova, UNESCO’s Director-General, said in her message for the day.

“In this spirit, I invite all of partners and governments to do everything to support, nurture and harness the full power of science museums and centres to shape a more inclusive and sustainable future for all.”

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