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Programmes and Activities

RUSHSAP, based upon the Sector for Social and Human Sciences' overall strategy, focuses its efforts on the programme areas which are summarized below.  

The detailed 2008/2009 programme summary of UNESCO Social and Human Sciences in Asia and the Pacific is available here.


The recently established UNESCO Asia-Pacific School of Ethics, secretariat RUSHSAP (Regional Unit for Social and Human  Sciences in Asia and the Pacific), UNESCO Bangkok stimulates a growing number of partners involved in ongoing projects which are grounded in national research and policy systems. These partners have expressed willingness to co-organize activities and commit funds, as they recognize UNESCO to be the competent international organization to coordinate regional developments in the field.

Since the creation of the World Commission on the ethics of scientific knowledge and Technology (COMEST) in 1998, the Commission has been working with UNESCO and its Member Sates all over the world in contributing to the conceptualization and implementation of UNESCO's ethics of science and technology program. UNESCO encourages regional debates and follow up to the analysis of the ethical issues associated with emerging technologies.

The three declarations (Universal Declaration on the Human Genome and Human Rights, 1997; International Declaration on Human Genetic Data, 2003 and the Universal Declaration of Bioethics and Human Rights, 2005) constitute the normative platform of UNESCOs different actions within the field of bioethics. This work is supported by the activities of the two advisory bodies – the International Bioethics Committee (IBC) and the Intergovernmental Bioethics Committee (IGBC), and the United Nations inter-agency committee on bioethics. The IBC and IGBC will assist UNESCO in standard-setting, capacity-building and awareness-raising. The Interagency Committee on Bioethics serves as a platform to coordinate the activities of United Nations agencies and programmes in the area of bioethics. There is extensive work in ethics education and innovtaive programs such as teaching ethics of science and technology through museums.

There are numerous ethics resources on the RUSHAP website and it functions as a regional ethics documentation centre.

This project is in cooperation with Ministries of Science, Energy and others in the region. This project calls for developing dialogues within each participating country and between countries on the results of research, future research needs, policy lessons and policy recommendations in regard to the ethical issues of energy-related technologies, and related environmental and human security issues. How should each country make decisions on the energy technologies that they develop and which strategies to follow, given the environmental crisis and the variety of proposed benefits and potential risks of different technologies? As countries in the Asia-Pacific region face mounting external pressures to decide on their energy policy, what are the values and questions that exist inside the region for ethical deliberation over the choices for energy?

Project update of 5 June in English and French.

  • Museum Exhibit on Ethics in Science 

The Bioethics and Biotechnology Museum exhibition opened on 1 February 2008 until at least 30 June 2009, at the Science Centre for Education (SCE), 7th floor, 924 Sukhumvit Rd). The display was the result of a three way partnership between RUSHSAP, UNESCO, the SCE together with BIOTEC. We are developing further museum exhibitions in other countries in cooperation with local partners. 



UNESCO supports the discussion and debate between philosophers in regions across the world, and how we can rediscover indigenous philosophical traditions to lead to greater understanding between cultures. RUSHSAP cooperates with APPEND in the region also. We are working towards increased teaching of philosophy in universities and schools in the region.

Darryl R.J.Macer and Souria Saad-Zoy (Editors). 2010. Asian-Arab Philosophical Dialogues on War and Peace. Bangkok, Regional Unit for Social and Human Sciences in Asia and the Pacific (RUSHSAP), UNESCO Bangkok. v + 119 p. ISBN 978-92-9223-316-7 (Electronic version, pdf file).

Darryl R.J. Macer and Souria Saad-Zoy (Editors). 2010. Asian-Arab Philosophical Dialogues on Globalization, Democracy and Human Rights. Bangkok, Regional Unit for Social and Human Sciences in Asia and the Pacific (RUSHSAP), UNESCO Bangkok. v + 119 p. ISBN 978-92-9223-314-3 (Electronic version, pdf file).


Emerging ethical and societal issues related to the dialogue among peoples and a culture of peace are being identified. Since the early 1990s, the concept of human security has been the focus of many debates in the United Nations system, in international and regional organizations, governments of different regions, as well as in the academic and intellectual fields, and in particular since the 1994 UNDP World Human Development Report dedicated to the concept of Human Security.

In the late 1990s, UNESCO, within the framework of its Interdisciplinary Project for the Promotion of a Culture of Peace, carried out a series of actions with a view to promoting human security. In 2001, Human Security was embedded into UNESCO’s Medium-Term Strategy for 2002-2007 (31 C/4), under strategic objective 5 “Improving Human Security by better management of the environment and social change”, which pertains to the two Sciences programmes. Regional conferences have been held in: East Asia, Central and South-East Asia.

RUSHSAP's efforts in advancing UNESCO's special focus on the "Culture of Peace" requires even greater cooperation and collaboration between all sectors of the organization.  The "Culture of Peace" condemns violence and physical confrontations as a means of resolving disputes, and actively promotes initiatives which encourage the creation of a culture of peace in all communities.

  • Sowing Seeds of Peace
  • Human Security and Peace Training




The United Nations Charter states that all persons are entitled to human rights and fundamental freedoms without distinctions as to colour, sex, language or religion. The fight against racism, discrimination, xenophobia and intolerance is at the heart of UNESCO's mandate since its very creation. The first article of UNESCO’s Constitution, adopted on 16 November 1945, stipulates that the Organization shall “contribute to peace and security by promoting collaboration amongst Nations through education, science and culture in order to further universal respect for justice, for the rule of law and for the human rights and fundamental freedoms which are affirmed for the peoples of the world, without distinction of race, sex, language or religion”.

Promotion of Human Rights is entrenched within the clearly delineated framework provided by the UNESCO Strategy on Human Rights (UNESCO Strategy on Human Rights (Document 32 C/57)). The Strategy adopted by the General Conference in 2003 identifies areas of action where UNESCO has a comparative advantage and recognized expertise.

The International Coalition of Cities against Racism is an initiative launched by UNESCO in March 2004 to establish a network of cities interested in sharing experiences in order to improve their policies to fight racism, discrimination and xenophobia.The Coalition of Cities against Racism and Discrimination in Asia and the Pacific (APCaRD), founded in August 2006 in Bangkok, Thailand.

Partnerships are being consolidated with institutions of higher education, universities and research centers participating in regional and international networks for women’s studies and gender research.  In addition to promoting capacity building and undertaking policy-oriented research, these partners are expected to participate in developing research policy linkages.

The development of research policy linkages will be facilitated through meetings organized between members of the international and regional networks of women’s studies and gender research with policy and decision-makers.  Additionally, the Research and Documentation Centers are expected to develop and disseminate to deciders policy recommendations and briefs that are based on substantive research and which can contribute to the development of policies for gender equality.

RUSHSAP is strengthening the Women's/Gender Studies Network in Asia-Pacific to serve as a forum for the discussion of pressing issues that recognizes diversity and similarities of WS/GR throughout the Asia-Pacific region. Be a mutually-reinforcing support network where teachers could share and pool course and other relevant resource materials for the advancement of WS/GS and consequently be a springboard to plan out activities such as future consortia and conferences that address specific themes and concerns in WS/GR. In this application, we seek funding for the creation of a Gender Resource Program that will eventually evolve into a virtual Gender Resource Center.



Through collaboration with relevant United Nations entities UNESCO has contributed to feeding the results of cutting-edge research on key social transformations into policy formulation by national and local authorities, in particular regarding migration, urbanization and poverty eradication, as called for by the different international, regional and national UNESCO sponsored forums, in particular the Forums of Ministers of Social Development on the research-policy nexus held in 2005-2006. UNESCO has also contributed to the consolidation of spaces of dialogue and exchange between researchers and policymakers, in particular at the sub-regional and national levels.

  • Policy, International Cooperation and Knowledge Sharing in the Social Sciences
  • International Migration and Multicultural Policies, especially in Urban Settings

UNESCO has already contributed to the strengthening of policy-oriented research: (i) in various thematic domains identified by the regional research networks set up under the Management of Social Transformations (MOST) Programme; (ii) on poverty eradication, through the intersectoral projects relating to the cross-cutting theme “Eradication of poverty, especially of extreme poverty” carried out between 2002 and 2007; (iii) on migration and urban issues of relevance to UNESCO’s action regarding migration movements, especially in Africa, Asia and Europe, and issues identified in the framework of the United Nations Habitat Forums of 2006; (iv) in the field of youth and gender by means of the Organization’s gender mainstreaming framework.

  • Mapping Social Sciences in the region




Underlying all of RUSHSAP's work are UNESCO's cross-cutting themes on the "Eradication of Poverty, Especially Extreme Poverty" and the "Culture of Peace."  UNESCO's dedication to the "Eradication of Poverty, Especially Extreme Poverty" programme is in contribution to the realization of United Nation's Millenium Development Goals (MDGs).




Youth dialogues on contemporary issues are promoted, within and between countries.




RUSHSAP has been coordinating a project aimed at the prevention of HIV/AIDS among ethnic minorities of the Upper Mekong Region. Under this project, HIV/AIDS education materials were developed in local languages, in order to counter the lack of culturally appropriate information regarding the prevention of HIV/AIDS among ethnic minority communities.

RUSSHAP is also undertaking analysis of municipal policies linked to HIV-related discrimination, under the Coalition of Cities Against Discrimination in Asia and Pacific.



Other pilot research projects such as comparisons on human dignity and reconciliation after genocide are also being conducted.

Page last updated on 8 June 2009