Message of Irina Bokova Director-General of UNESCO

More than ever, in this new age of limited resources, we need to nurture the boundless energy and creativity of young women and men to tackle complex new challenges. Quality science education is vital for this, to lay the foundations for a more sustainable future for all.

We need concerted action today to halt the decline of enrolment of young people in science, starting at an early age. It is not enough to put science in the school curriculum — we must build a supportive environment, by crafting educational policies that give equal access to girls and boys and by investing in laboratories and resources where they can take the lead. We must recognize the importance of traditional and indigenous knowledge, while also harnessing new information and communication technologies for innovation and creativity. All of this is essential to foster more equitable and inclusive growth and to improve employability and entrepreneurial opportunities, while strengthening social resilience and health.

To these ends, UNESCO is working to integrate Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) into national development and education policies, in such countries as Tanzania, Kenya, Nigeria and Seychelles. In September, we launched the Global STEM Alliance with the New York Academy of Sciences, to connect the dots between government, the United Nations, the private sector and academia, on an issue at heart of all efforts to build a sustainable future. Girls and women are a special focus of UNESCOs action — through the LOréal-UNESCO For Women in Science programme, to inspire and support girls and women into scientific careers, as well as through the UNESCO Global Partnership for Girls and Womens Education.

We need new alliances to take our vision forward – across the United Nations system, with Member States, within and between societies. This is why, on this World Science Day for Peace and Development, UNESCO is launching with Roche and Nature Education the UNESCO World Library of Science — a free online resource for science learning, which contains hundreds of peer-reviewed articles, using text, pictures, illustrations and videos to make scientific concepts easy to understand.Quality science education is a pillar for a more sustainable future – we must invest in it, to empower every woman and man, to catalyse the innovation and creativity we need for the century ahead.

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