UNESCO intergouvernmental programs

UNESCO's intergovernmental Scientific Cooperative Programme

The Management of Social Transformations (MOST) Programme is the only UNESCO programme that fosters and promotes social science research. This places MOST in a pivotal position in the overall promotion of UNESCO's goals.


The Programme, launched in March 1994, is part of the Social and Human Sciences Sector (SHS) of UNESCO. It was designed as a research programme to produce reliable and relevant knowledge for policy makers. The original mandate established a strong commitment to the promotion of research that was comparative, international, interdisciplinary and policy relevant. The programme was also designed to organize and promote international research networks, to give attention to capacity building and to establish a clearing house of knowledge in the social science field.

Reorientation of the Programme

In recognition of the increasing need to improve policy formulation, MOST has been reoriented, both thematically and in its modalities of operation. This was done in response to the recommendations that were made during the 6th session of the Intergovernmental Council of the MOST Programme (February 2003) and later approved by the 166th session of UNESCO's Executive Board.

Its new focus is on building efficient bridges between research, policy and practice. The programme promotes a culture of evidence-based policy-making – nationally, regionally and internationally.


Man and the Biosphere Programme

The Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme is an Intergovernmental Scientific Programme aiming to set a scientific basis for the improvement of the relationships between people and their environment globally.

Launched in the early 1970s, the MAB Programme proposes an interdisciplinary research agenda and capacity building that target the ecological, social and economic dimensions of biodiversity loss and the reduction of this loss. It’s World Network of Biosphere Reserves currently counts 610 biosphere reserves in 117 countries all over the world.


UNESCO's Intergovernmental Scientific Cooperative Programme in Hydrology and Water Resources

The International Hydrological Programme (IHP) is the only intergovernmental programme of the UN system devoted to water research, water resources management, and education and capacity building. The programme, tailored to Member States’ needs, is implemented in six-year phases – allowing it to adapt to a rapidly changing world.

This phase of IHP (2008-2013) will continue to promote and lead international hydrological research, facilitate education and capacity development and enhance governance in water resources management. The aim of these efforts is to help meet the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) on environmental sustainability, water supply, sanitation, food security and poverty alleviation.