Projects – Natural Sciences

South-South Cooperation for Enhancing Science, Engineering and Technology Standards in Asia and the Pacific


Responding to the needs for interdisciplinary expertise in areas of applied sciences as well as strengthening learning in the basic sciences, the project is implemented within the science and engineering human resource developmental and research institutions addressing both traditional, formal ways of teaching and learning science and technology. The modular curricula will be on varying levels and topics and adapted to a virtual (e‐learning) mode of delivery. Specifically, the project is implemented under three components:

Component 1: Meta-knowledge platform in making available tools and resources for engineering, science and technology human resource development for sustainable development

The regional and international workshops were organized to raise the standard of engineering qualifications to international standards in universities and institutions of tertiary education in association with the engineering bodies through south-south cooperation. This component involves regional stakeholders from diverse backgrounds with government agencies and units, industries, academia and research institutes.

Component 2: Modular curricula that could be adopted by professional bodies and universities for certified training of professionals

UNESCO has developed a roadmap on engineering qualification standardization in Asia and the Pacific. The Federation of Engineering Institutions of Asia and the Pacific (FEIAP) Engineering Education Guidelines are being updated jointly though this project.

Component 3: Mapping of UNESCO centres and chairs for establishing south-south learning alliances

The component is for mapping and networking of UNESCO’s Natural Sciences related Category 2 Centres and Chairs in Asia-Pacific region, linking with Africa on issues related to the post-2015 development agenda.


Upscaling Water Security to Meet Local, Regional and Global Challenges


The project provides solutions to the current global water challenges requiring upscaling of existing local approaches and knowledge of the interrelations between environment conditions and the state of waters. UNESCO’s International Hydrological Program’s Ecohydrology Demonstration Projects and Hydrology for Environment, Life and Policy (HELP) river basins networks are two innovative approaches, which involve engineering-based tools that integrate basin-wide human activities and changes in the hydrological cycle.

The project strengthens the local scientific collaboration between Humid Tropics Centre Kuala Lumpur (HTCKL) and Institute for Environment and Development (LESTARI) as well as regional collaboration with Asia Pacific Ecohydrology in Indonesia as the Category II Water Centre, the Regional Centre for Integrated Water resources Management (RC-IRBM) Kaduna, Nigeria and Capital National University Beijing, China through the UNESCO Chair on Ecohydrology and Hydroinformatics.

Under this network, this project is being implemented through three components:

  1. Demonstration sites of Ecohydrology biotechnologies in Langat River and Putrajaya Lakes (Research Component)
    This component provides more efficient and sustainable storm water management strategies and best practices and mitigation measures to counter negative effects of urbanization. The study includes rehabilitation works for the slope degradation of riverbank to improve the river water quality, quantity and riverbank rehabilitation in developed areas depending on constructed wetlands, porous pavements as well as bio retention solutions. To support this, an assessment has to be conducted to determine the economic values of the ecosystem in order to strengthen the sustainable management.
  2. HELP and Ecohydrology training (Education Component)
    The main purpose of this component is to develop modular curricular for IWRM and Ecohydrology in Asia-Pacific and Africa related to watershed management including river basin, lake and wetland and science curricular based on UN-Regional Centre of Expertise on Education for Sustainable Development. The modular curricula will be customized based on the IWRM Guidelines for River Basin management for training of watershed managers.
  3. Workshops on comparative studies of applying water footprints, Ecohydrology and IWRM in Asia and Africa through UNESCO category-2 water centres in Asia and Africa (Water Management Component)
    The workshop promotes Ecohydrology as a cost-efficient technological approach for IWRM and introduces the concept of water footprint assessment and its methodology. To further promote south-south-north cooperation, this activity will link category II centres and category I centre in Asia and Africa into a collaborative platform on Ecohydrology and IWRM.


Science Harnessed for ASEAN Regional Policy – SHARP


Responding to the ASEAN needs, the project develops strategies to protect the environment and the sustainable use and management of natural resources essential to the long-term economic growth and social development of ASEAN member states. It is aligned with the ASEAN-UNESCO Framework Agreement of Cooperation (FAC) and associated Indicative Joint Programme of Action (2014-2018) and UNESCO Regional Bureau’s Science Support Strategy: Meeting Society’s Needs with Science-based Solutions. “Environmental Sustainability” is one of the seven priority areas in the ASEAN – UNESCO FAC which builds upon the ASEAN Vision 2020, calling for “a clean and green ASEAN”, with fully established mechanisms to ensure the protection of the environment, sustainability of natural resources, and high quality of life for people in the region.

This component provides policy basis for future cooperation on environmental sustainability among ASEAN countries and UNESCO’s network as well for developing stronger links between science and society by the following activities:

  • ASEAN-UNESCO Environmental Sustainability Committee meeting to develop strategies for policy paper
  • ASEAN-UNESCO workshop on science-policy-society interface to develop policy paper and strategy to introduce it to the next ASEAN Plan of Action on Science and Technology 2016-2020
  • Introduction of policy paper on science-policy-society interface to the ASEAN Plan of Action on Science and Technology – Implementation Framework 2016-2020

Component 2: Establishment of Environmental Sustainability Demonstration Pilot Projects

UNESCO demonstrates innovative science, best management practice and participatory process by closely engaging with Malaysian and ASEAN universities, research institutes and other governmental institutions. It will develop and establish three pilot projects in Cambodia, Malaysia and Philippines as follows:

  • Demonstration site on “Restoring and Enhancing Angkor World Heritage Site by Improving Water Management at Siem Reap City and Tonle Sap Biosphere Reserve” in Cambodia
  • Demonstration site on “Water and Environmental Sustainability Education Linked with Ecotourism in Langkawi Geopark” in Malaysia
  • Demonstration site on “Enhancing Resilience to Disasters of Urban Water Systems of Mindanao” in Philippines

Component 3: Establishment and Promotion of Environmental Sustainability ICT Knowledge Platform for Science-Society-Policy Interface

This component develops frameworks and techniques that can manage natural resources management in a more integrated package by:

  • Conducting needs assessment for environmental sustainability knowledge platform consisting of knowledge management system, e-learning courses through the COMPETENCE;
  • Developing ASEAN – UNESCO environmental sustainability knowledge platform using ICT based on the needs assessment;
  • Organizing workshop to launch the ASEAN – UNESCO environmental sustainability knowledge platform; and
  • Establishing partnerships between environmental sustainability research projects and regional communities in ASEAN countries.


Fostering Tsunami Preparedness, Response and Mitigation in the Indian Ocean Small Island Developing States and African Coast Countries


The Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO is leading a global effort to establish ocean-based tsunami warning systems as part of an overall multi-hazard disaster reduction strategy. With strong collaboration with Member States, other UN agencies and NGOs, the IOC Tsunami Unit is supporting the countries in assessing tsunami risk, implementing Tsunami Early Warning Systems (TEWS) and in educating communities at risk about preparedness measures. It operates through Regional Tsunami Warning Systems in all basins where SIDS are present. These regional warning systems are in operations in the Caribbean, Indian Ocean, North East Atlantic/Mediterranean and Pacific.

Through strong scientific basis research and expertise that are applied in this project, as well as adaptation to the local context, the benefiting countries would be able to develop their Tsunami Disaster Management Plan (TDMP), transfer their knowledge to their people and to other SIDS and African Coast Countries that share similarities on their social, economic and demographic conditions.

The output from the project will provide a clear guidelines for the relevant stakeholders of the Indian Ocean small island developing states and the African coasts developing countries on end to end tsunami early warning system; Recommendation on how the country could and/or should foster their end to end TEWS and the knowledge and knowhow for the country’s stakeholders of what they need to do to further develop, strengthen and sustain their end to end tsunami early warning system especially focusing on tsunami preparedness, response and mitigation. There are three activities that will be implemented in this project, including: Indian Ocean end to end TEWS stock taking survey, Training/workshop on effective tsunami preparedness, response and mitigation (on the subjects Tsunami Risk Assessment, Tsunami Risk Reduction Policy and Action Plan, Standard Operating Procedures for Tsunami Early warning and Emergency Response, and Guideline for Tsunami Exercise).


Towards Economic Resilience in the Pacific and Southeast Asia: Reducing Risk of Loss & Damage in the Tourism and Agriculture Sectors from Extreme and Slow-Onset Events through Improved Assessment and Education

15The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on Managing the risk of extreme events and disasters to advance climate change adaptation (CCA) (IPCC 2012) as well as recent disasters, such as Cyclone Evan in Samoa and Fiji in December 2012 all underscore the necessity to revisit and enhance knowledge and understanding on how to reduce and prevent the risk of loss and damage (L & D).

The project will provide a systematic and in-depth review and evaluation of best practices and lessons learned for reducing risk of L & D due to key drivers namely climate change and urbanization related trends. The project will develop and strengthen measures and priority DRR (e.g. risk assessments, Early Warning Systems (EWS), institutional capacities) and CCA tools for reducing climate change associated risk under different adaptation and development pathways.

The main expected results are:

  1. Improved understanding of loss and damage realities, experiences in the Pacific and Southeast Asia regions achieved;
  2. New knowledge and awareness of best practices, lessons learned; as well as innovative insights into how to strengthen the tools and methods for reducing risk of loss and damage generated;
  3. Capacity needs for reducing loss and damage in the agriculture and tourism sectors assessed;
  4. iv. Improved understanding, knowledge sharing and capacities to deal with reducing risk of loss and damage achieved. This also includes empowering climate change negotiators with new insights/information from loss and damage in the agriculture and tourism sectors from climate change.
AP – FAST: Facility for Accelerating Science & Technology Knowledge Services for SDGs into National Development Plans in Asia and the Pacific

With the adoption of the new development Agenda 2030, the necessity for policy makers in Asia and the Pacific to follow the processes in relation to sustainability demands common efforts for management, a major aspect of which is integrated attention to economic and socio-cultural influences together with environmental issues.

To facilitate the integration of the new Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development into national development plans, AP-FAST focus especially on SDGs 5, 6, 11, 13, 14, 15, and 17. AP-FAST takes into account cross-cutting SDG 5 on gender equality and 17 on partnership. It especially corresponds to the SDG 17, as it is indeed an attempt to help foster a ‘global partnership for sustainable development’, specifically by meeting targets in ‘technology’ and ‘capacity-building’ enhancement. Gender dimension will be fully integrated into AP-FAST, by taking into consideration current and potential meaningful participation of women in STI related activities. AP-FAST sub-programmes will include all thematic areas under UNESCO Natural Sciences sector, including FAST-Water, FAST-Ecosystems, FAST-Climate, FAST-DRR, FAST-Innovation, FAST-Ocean, thus corresponding to SDGs 6, 11, 13, 14 and 15 as well.

In order to achieve this, this project will be implemented through the following components:

  • Organizing regional meetings on the implementation of SDGs, to analyse the incorporation of the targets of the SDGs into national development plans in Asia and the Pacific. One of the meeting will also serve as the official launching of the AP-FAST initiative in the region,
  • Identifying effective and inclusive means for the use of Science & Technology Knowledge for implementing a transformational development agenda at the national and regional levels in pilot countries; and
  • Defining an AP-FAST annual meeting model as the regional forum to discuss the processes and progress on the integration of SDGs in the national development plans in the region.