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Background Information

Science is integral to efforts toward sustainable development. Recognizing this, UNESCO, within the context of its intergovernmental mandate, is focusing its work in science on issues of global concern requiring multinational collaboration. Projects and research initiatives focus on fields such as freshwater resource management, ocean health, climate change, renewable energy, natural disaster reduction, biodiversity loss, and capacity building in science, technology and innovation.

UNESCO’s work in science, including that of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC), covers two broad areas – promoting science, technology and innovation as well as using science to manage the environment in a sustainable way, including the ocean, freshwater, and the Earth’s natural resources, ecosystems and biodiversity. To build a sustainable future, our programmes focus on engineering and renewable energy. Initiatives are also centred around applying scientific knowledge in natural disaster reduction and promoting scientific education in the interests of building peace, responding to international development goals and promoting gender equality in science.

UNESCO Bangkok is the Asia-Pacific Regional Bureau for Education and the Cluster Office for the six Mekong countries and is mandated to cover education, sciences, culture, communication and information. It is responsible for the implementation of related programmes in these six countries - directly in Thailand, Myanmar, Lao PDR and Singapore, and indirectly in support of UNESCO country offices in Hanoi and Phnom Penh.

The Natural Science sector portfolio was created at UNESCO Bangkok in response to increased demands for regional cooperation and international attention to issues pertaining to the Mekong Cluster Natural Science Sector. The newly created unit will serve Mekong Cluster countries in areas including: Water Sciences – International Hydrological Programme (IHP); Ecological Sciences – Man and Biosphere Programme; Science Policy for Sustainable Development; UNESCO Engineering Initiative; cross-cutting issues such as climate change; as well as disaster risk reduction. The Bangkok office will also act as an adviser for Asia and Pacific on the International Geosciences Programme and Geopark Initiative.

Complementing the work carried out by the UNESCO Natural Science Sector, Bangkok Unit, will be the IOC Regional Secretariat (Office) for the Sub-Commission for the Western Pacific (WESTPAC), established in 1994 and currently hosted by the Government of Thailand through its Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment. WESTPAC is committed to forging cooperation among scientists, institutes and countries in the Western Pacific and adjacent regions in the study of ocean and climate, marine biodiversity and ocean ecosystems. The body aims to assist countries in sustainably managing marine and coastal resources, protecting coastal populations from natural disasters, and maintaining healthy ecosystems. More on WESTPAC

What we do

  • Catalyse Sub-regional/Regional/International cooperation in science;
  • Promote dialogue between main stakeholders such as scientists and policy makers;
  • Build capacity in science at all level;
  • Act as a platform for sharing ideas and setting standards;
  • Implement programmes and projects related to science in Mekong Cluster countries