The objective of the JFIT for Scientific Programmes on Global Challenges in Asia and the Pacific Region is to support and strengthen UNESCO activities in science for sustainable development in the Asia and the Pacific region in line with UNESCO’s strategic programme objectives and priorities, by utilizing Japan’s financial and scientific resources.

The overarching objectives defined in the UNESCO’s Medium-Term Strategy for 2014-2021 (37 C/4) guide the JFIT for Scientific Programme with respect to gender equality, the development of activities for youth, the involvement of Least Developed Countries (LDCs), Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and countries in transition.

The strategic objectives for Major Programme II – Natural Sciences are two in number:

SO 4: Strengthening science, technology and innovation systems and policies – nationally, regionally and globally;

SO 5: Promoting international scientific cooperation on critical challenges to sustainable development.

UNESCO’s approved Programme and Budget for 2016-2017 (38 C/5) defines six “Main Lines of Action (MLAs)” for its Major Programme II: Natural Sciences:

Main Line of Action 1: Strengthening STI policies, governance and the science-policy-society interface

  • Expected Result 1: STI policies, the science-policy interface, and engagement with society, including vulnerable groups such as SIDS and indigenous peoples, strengthened

Main Line of Action 2: Building institutional capacities in science and engineering

  • Expected Result 2: Capacity-building in research and education in the natural sciences enhanced, including through the use of ICTs
  • Expected Result 3: Interdisciplinary engineering research and education for sustainable development advanced and applied

Main Line of Action 3: Promoting knowledge and capacity for protecting and sustainably managing the ocean and coasts

  • Expected Result 4: Scientific understanding of ocean and coastal processes bolstered and used by Member States to improve the management of the human relationship with the ocean
  • Expected Result 5: Risks and impacts of tsunamis and other ocean-related hazards reduced, climate change adaptation and mitigation measures taken, and policies for healthy ocean ecosystems developed and implemented by Member States
  • Expected Result 6: Member States’ institutional capacities reinforced to protect and sustainably manage ocean and coastal resources

Main Line of Action 4: Fostering international science collaboration for earth systems and disaster risk reduction

  • Expected Result 7: Global cooperation in the geological sciences expanded
  • Expected Result 8: Risk reduction improved, early warning of natural hazards strengthened and disaster preparedness and resilience enhanced

Main Line of Action 5: Strengthening the role of ecological sciences and biosphere reserves

  • Expected Result 9: Use of biosphere reserves as learning places for equitable and sustainable development and for climate change mitigation and adaptation strengthened

Main Line of Action 6: Strengthening freshwater security

  • Expected Result 10: Responses to local, regional and global water security challenges strengthened
  • Expected Result 11: Knowledge, innovation, policies and human and institutional capacities for water security strengthened through improved international cooperation

In the upcoming UNESCO Programme and Budget for 2018-2019 (39 C/5), greater visibility is given to the ocean, and to UNESCO-designated sites, such as biosphere reserves (BRs) and UNESCO Global Geoparks, with the aim to use them preferentially as learning sites for inclusive and comprehensive approaches to environmental, economic and social aspects of sustainable development.

In conjunction with the above and future MLAs, the Bureau and its implementation partners will also pay special attention to the design and delivery of programmes through an intersectoral approach, by working across sectoral frontiers, based on commonly defined objectives to deliver action and capitalize on one of UNESCO’s principal comparative advantages, namely its intersectoral approach to problem solving. Some intersectoral actions will involve climate change, disaster risk reduction, SIDS, and indigenous peoples, along with science education, education for sustainable development, research policy and capacity building, and support to countries in post-conflict and disaster situations.