The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) mission is to contribute to the building of peace, the eradication of poverty, sustainable development and intercultural dialogue through education, the sciences, culture, communication and information.

There are two strategic objectives relevant for the natural sciences:
Leveraging scientific knowledge for the benefit of the environment and the management of natural resources;
Strengthening science, technology and innovation systems and policies for sustainable development.

Launched in 1992, the UNITWIN/UNESCO Chairs Programme promotes international cooperation by
building inter-university networks and encouraging the transfer of knowledge across borders.

In 2014 an agreement was signed among the University Coimbra and UNESCO for
creating the UNESCO Chair in Biodiversity Safeguard for Sustainable Development.


Implement and support a network of researchers, higher education and R&D institutions,
in the fields of biodiversity, ecology, conservation and sustainable development;

Provide training and resources for students and researchers by promoting short-term
internships, workshops, and human resources exchange among partner institutions;

Create and improve digital platforms for knowledge sharing;

Foster science communication and outreach activities – Building
bridges between academia and society;

Increment inter-university cooperation and strengthening of scientific networks
within C.P.L.P. (Community of Portuguese-Speaking Countries).


  • Helena Freitas
    Helena Freitas Chair Holder and General Coordinator
  • Joana Cabral Oliveira
    Joana Cabral Oliveira Chair Manager and Researcher
  • Alexandra Aragão
    Alexandra Aragão Law
  • Anabela Mota Pinto
    Anabela Mota Pinto Health and Nutrition
  • António Gouveia
    António Gouveia History of Science and Biodiversity
  • Cristina Nabais
    Cristina Nabais Terrestrial Ecosystems and Global Change
  • Eugénia Cunha
    Eugénia Cunha Paleoecology and Forensic Sciences
  • Fátima Alves
    Fátima Alves Social-Economic Governance and Sustainability
  • Fernando Florêncio
    Fernando Florêncio Anthropology
  • João Loureiro
    João Loureiro Biodiversity and Evolution
  • Jorge Canhoto
    Jorge Canhoto Biotechnology and Microbiology
  • José Paulo Sousa
    José Paulo Sousa Natural Resources and Sustainable Development
  • Miguel Pardal
    Miguel Pardal Marine and Coastal Processes
  • Rui Ribeiro
    Rui Ribeiro Environmental Risk Assessment
  • Sílvia Portugal
    Sílvia Portugal Sociology
  • Teresa Gonçalves
    Teresa Gonçalves History and Communication of Science


The Mandume Ya Ndemufayo University (Angola) and Lúrio University
(Mozambique) are partner institutions since the beginning of our UNESCO Chair,
in 2014. Over time, many others have joined us.