Germany disposes of scientific structures that are worldwide references. Organizations such as the MPG, the DFG or the Fraunhofer Society set global standards in research.
UNESCO's science programmes set the stage for international research. They may be important mechanisms to position German research institutions globally. At the same time, UNESCO's programmes give important orientations for research in Germany.
DUK is the interface between the German scientific community and the UNESCO science programmes. For fresh water, biosphere reserves, oceanography and the geo-science there are special national committees. DUK accompanies these national committees and is charge of all other parts of the UNESCO science programmes. The political responsibility is with the respective Federal ministry, mostly with the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and/or the Ministry for Education and Research.
Current main activities of DUK in the UNESCO science programmes:
- Scientific cooperation with Africa, especially by means of multilateral organizations
- Water training programmes for Middle East and North Africa
- Support to women scientists with children
- Supporting the work of the German biosphere reserves
- Remote Sensing of World Heritage Sites and biosphere reserves
- World Philosophy Day
- Online manual „Claiming Human Rights in Africa“
The DUK is supported in its work by an Expert Committee. It is the main forum where experts from the different fields active in UNESCO’s science programmes exchange information. Since 2009, the Expert Committee in the Sciences is chaired by Prof. Dr. Gerd Michelsen, UNESCO-Chair for "Higher Education in Sustainable Development" at the University of Lüneburg.
In 2006 the German Commission for UNESCO organized a workshop on the most efficient forms of cooperation between National Commissions and National Committees. The results of this workshop can be found here.