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Structure of UNESCO’s science programme

The “sciences” are organized as two separate units in the Paris-based Secretariat of UNESCO. From July 2010, the head of the Natural Sciences Sector is the US-American Gretchen Kalonji, as successor of the German Walter Erdelen. From July 2010 as well, the sector Social and Human Sciences Sector is run by Maria del Pilar Alvarez-Laso from Mexico, succeeding Pierre Sané. In addition to the Paris-based Secretariat, UNESCO disposes of a diverse structure of entities which give life to the science programmes:

  • Regional and national offices
  • Scientific institutes such as the IHE in Delft or the ICTP in Trieste
  • Scientific institutes under the auspices of UNESCO (Category II institutes)
  • Intergovernmental and expert committees of the scientific programmes
  • National Committees of the scientific programmes
  • UNESCO chairs

Six long-term programmes have structured UNESCO's activities for decades (the IOC in fact is a semi-autonomous unit within UNESCO, headed by the Canadian Wendy Watson-Wright):

  • The Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC)
  • The International Geoscience Programme (IGCP)
  • The Programme “Man and the Biosphere” (MAB)
  • The International Hydrological Programme (IHP)
  • The Programme “Management of Social Transformations” (MOST)
  • The International Basic Science Programme (IBSP)

Germany has National Committees for the IOC, the IGCP, MAB and the IHP. For the MOST programme and the IBSP, DUK acts as a focal point.

More on the structures in Germany

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