Electric cars line up at the official start of the Zero Emissions Race outside the United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG), Switzerland.
Electric cars line up at the official start of the Zero Emissions Race outside the United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG), Switzerland.
Photo:UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré
 
UNESCO Director General, Audrey Azoulay

The current crisis should serve as a wakeup call regarding the urgency for increased financing and support of scientific research and collaboration.This concerns not only the natural sciences, but also the social and human and sciences.

UNESCO Director General's Message

 

Celebrated every 10 November, World Science Day for Peace and Development highlights the significant role of science in society and the need to engage the wider public in debates on emerging scientific issues. It also underlines the importance and relevance of science in our daily lives.

By linking science more closely with society, World Science Day for Peace and Development aims to ensure that citizens are kept informed of developments in science. It also underscores the role scientists play in broadening our understanding of the remarkable, fragile planet we call home and in making our societies more sustainable.

The purpose of the Day is to:

  • Strengthen public awareness of the role of science for peaceful and sustainable societies;
  • Promote national and international solidarity for shared science between countries;
  • Renew national and international commitment for the use of science for the benefit of societies;
  • Draw attention to the challenges faced by science in raising support for the scientific endeavour.

The Day offers the opportunity to mobilize all actors around the topic of science for peace and development – from government officials to the media to school pupils. UNESCO strongly encourages all to join in celebrating World Science Day for Peace and Development by organizing your own event or activity on the day.

 

2020 Theme: Science for and with Society

This year, at a time when the world is struggling with the global COVID-19 pandemic, the focus of World Science Day is on “Science for and with Society in dealing with the global pandemic.”

Throughout this unprecedented health crisis, UNESCO, as the UN Agency with the field of science in its mandate, has endeavoured to bring science closer to society and to bolster the critically needed international scientific collaborations. From the science perspective, UNESCO’s response to COVID-19 is structured around three major pillars: promoting international scientific cooperation, ensuring access to wate,r and supporting ecological reconstruction.

To celebrate the 2020 World Science Day, UNESCO is organizing an online roundtable on the theme of “Science for and with Society in dealing with COVID-19.”

Join the conversation with the hashtags #ScienceDay.

 

Girl wearing mask

COVID-19 response demands better use of science and technology

The response to the COVID-19 pandemic requires a far more collaborative relationship between scientists and policymakers, and the fruits of scientific research, including potential vaccines, must be shared universally.

 

Background

The organization of a focused event related to the commitment to science and society was one of the positive outcomes of the 1999 World Conference on Science in Budapest. It was considered an opportunity to reaffirm each year the commitment to attaining the goals proclaimed in the Declaration on Science and the Use of Scientific Knowledge and to follow up the recommendations of the Science Agenda: Framework for Action.

Since its proclamation by UNESCO in 2001, World Science Day for Peace and Development has generated many concrete projects, programmes and funding for science around the world. The Day has also helped foster cooperation between scientists living in regions marred by conflict - one example being the UNESCO-supported creation of the Israeli-Palestinian Science Organization (IPSO).

The rationale of celebrating a World Science Day for Peace and Development has its roots in the importance of the role of science and scientists for sustainable societies and in the need to inform and involve citizens in science. In this sense, a World Science Day for Peace and Development offers an opportunity to show the general public the relevance of science in their lives and to engage them in discussions. Such a venture also brings a unique perspective to the global search for peace and development.

The first World Science Day for Peace and Development was celebrated worldwide on 10 November 2002 under UNESCO auspices. The celebration involved many partners, such as governmental, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, UNESCO National Commissions, scientific and research institutions, professional associations, the media, science teachers and schools.

 

Poster

2020 poster

Artificial Intelligence and Development

Science and technology have had an undeniable impact on improving living standards and increasing productivity. With the rapid technological advancement of recent years, computers are increasingly encroaching on domains that were previously considered exclusively human.

Events

To celebrate the 2020 World Science Day, an online roundtable on the theme of “Science for and with Society in dealing with COVID-19” was by organized by UNESCO on 6 November 2020.

UNESCO Science Report

The UNESCO Science Report is one of the tools that countries can use to monitor progress towards the goals of Agenda 2030.

Every five years, it analyses emerging trends in science, technology and innovation policy and governance. The latest edition was published in November 2015. The key message of the Report can be summarized in just four words: more research - better development.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development unites humanity in the pursuit of a common aspiration and a new path of action. The achievement of the 7 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) under the Agenda — while leaving no one behind — will require new development strategies and innovative resource mobilization. Emerging technologies have the potential to provide additional impetus for advancing the SDGs. The World Economic and Social Survey 2018 explores how certain new technologies can foster or hinder sustainable development and identifies policy measures that can expand potential benefits and mitigate any potential adverse effects on sustainable development. 

Geometric illustration with the Secretariat building at UNHQ, New York.

International days are occasions to educate the public on issues of concern, to mobilize political will and resources to address global problems, and to celebrate and reinforce achievements of humanity. The existence of international days predates the establishment of the United Nations, but the UN has embraced them as a powerful advocacy tool. We also mark other UN observances.