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Science centres and museums: Public partners in Rio+20

  • June 2012
  • EU and governance
  • Ecsite corporate documents
  • Video

Science centres and museums: Public partners in Rio+20

“Science – like music – is a global language. It´s a language that is spoken in 3,000 science centres and museums, actively engaging over 300 million people per year in over 90 countries.”

These are the opening words of Science centres and museums: Public partners in Rio+20, a short film depicting the diverse ways science centres and museums guide the public to protect planet Earth.

The seven-minute film showcases scenes of environmental engagement in science centres and museums in eleven countries and spanning six continents.

The film was initiated and coordinated by Ecsite, the European network of science centres and museums, for the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development held in Rio in 2012, and produced by Small World Stories.

View Science centres and museums: Public partners in Rio+20 on YouTube where you may also access a short promotional version of the film. 

The majority of environmental education occurs outside the classroom – a fact acknowledged by the UN Committee for Sustainable Development Education Group. The UN High-Level Panel on Global Sustainability has also stressed the need for the average citizen – particularly young people – to understand the risks and implications of a planet under stress. Science centres and museums are ready to drive public engagement in the Rio+20 process and the worldwide networks (detailed below) are pushing for a strategic plan that channels the energy of science centres and museums into a UN public outreach strategy.

History of use

  • Walter Staveloz, Director International Relations, Association of Science-Technology Centers Inc. (ASTC) presented the film in Rio de Janeiro at two lead-up events of the Rio+20 conference:
  • 16 June during the United Nations Day in the Athletes Park, Panel 3, 15:00 pm local time: Communication, Technology and Innovation for Sustainable Development
  • 20 June at Pop Ciencia the science festival organized by the Ministry of Research and the Brazilian network 10:00 am to 12:00 pm local time: www.popciencia.org.br/
  • Erik Jacquemyn, Director, Technopolis, The Flemish Science Centre, showed the film in conjunction with his keynote speech, "Bridging the gap between sustainable development and society" on June 12 2012, at the 1st International Symposium on Science Centers and Sustainable Development, Istanbul, Turkey

Institutions featured in Science centres and museums: Public partners in Rio+20:

  • Boonshoft Museum of Discovery, USA
  • CAP Sciences, France
  • Madatech: The Israel National Museum of Science, Technology & Space, Israel
  • Miraikan, Japan
  • Montreal Science Centre, Canada
  • Museo delle scienze, Italy
  • Museu Nacional de História Natural e da Ciência, Portugal
  • Natural History Museum, UK
  • Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, USA
  • The Planetarium Science Centre, Egypt
  • Questacon, Australia
  • Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, Belgium
  • Sci-Port: Louisiana's Science Center, USA
  • Technopolis, the Flemish Science Centre, Belgium
  • Universcience, France
  • Virginia Living Museum, USA


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  • rio
  • film