UNESCO Science Centres Coordination Meeting was held from 16 to 18 May 2016, at Beijing Conference Centre. A total of 160 participants from over 30 countries gathered in Beijing, including representatives from UNESCO Science Centres, the World Academy of Sciences for the Advancement of Science in Developing Countries, Chinese Academy of Engineering, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Chinese National Commission for UNESCO, UNESCO headquarters and UNESCO field offices.
The meeting was co-hosted by UNESCO, the Chinese Academy of Engineering and the Chinese Academy of Sciences; supported by the Chinese National Commission for UNESCO, Ministry of Environment of Germany through the International Centre on Water Resources and Adaptation to Climate Change under the auspices of UNESCO; and co-organized by the International Knowledge Centre for Engineering Sciences and Technology (shortened as “IKCEST”) and International Centre on Space Technologies for Natural and Cultural Heritage (shortened as “HIST”).
Flavia Schlegel, Assistant Director-General for the Natural Sciences Sector of UNESCO, Zhou Ji, President of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, Chen Zuoning, Vice President of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, Zhong Zhihua, Secretary-General of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, Tan Tieniu, Vice President of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Guo Huadong, Member of Chinese Academy of Sciences, and Zhou Jiagui, Deputy Secretary-General of the Chinese National Commission for UNESCO attended the meeting and made opening or closing remarks.
During the meeting, participants from all over the world explored how the science centres could make contributions to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (shortened as “SDGs”) and the 2030 Agenda, increase cooperation among UNESCO Science Centres and establish an information sharing platform, in the forms of plenary, breakout and feedback sessions. Flavia Schlegel, Assistant Director-General for the Natural Sciences Sector of UNESCO, made presentations calling for joint efforts of all science centres to contribute to the SDGs and the 2030 Agenda. The meeting has made important progress in increasing the cooperation among regional/similarly-themed Centres under the auspices of UNESCO, clarifying the role of Category 2 Centres in science projects implementation and enhancing the contribution of Category 2 Centres to the mid-term strategic plan of the Sciences Sector. IKCEST Secretariat presented a proposal for an Information and Knowledge Sharing Platform among all category 1 and 2 centres to the meeting, with user needs survey questionnaire for all participants distributed. The meeting also presented 11 best practices from Centres.
During the meeting, participants discussed closely and then approved the “Beijing Action Plan”, which is of great importance in guiding future work of all science centres to make more concerted efforts with the visions and missions of the UN, increasing cooperation among science centres, establishing an Information and Knowledge Sharing Platform based on proposals such as the one presented to the meeting by IKCEST or others, strengthening capacity-building of centres, optimizing specialized area and theme structures and resources complementation.
This very first UNESCO Science Centres Coordination Meeting is of great significance in the history of UNESCO. Within the framework of UNESCO, the meeting brought together 47 science centres widely distributed around the world, and provided opportunities for these centers to exchange experiences and thoughts face to face, to strengthen the coordination mechanism and enhance exchanges and cooperation among them, thus contributing to the implementation of the UN SDGs and 2030 Agenda.