UNESCO teams up with BBC to supply science programmes to developing countries

22 September 2006

Developing nations in Africa and Asia will receive high-quality television programmes on science and technology under a Memorandum of Understanding signed today between the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).

Under the accord, UNESCO acquired the rights for one year to 46 titles in the award-winning BBC Horizon series for distribution in 41 African and 9 Asian countries.

Each of the 50-minute programmes will be distributed by UNESCO to public service broadcasters free of charge. The broadcasters will be entitled to air each film up to six times on national television. Basic science, including life sciences are among the subjects covered by the programmes, alongside ecology and earth sciences – including disaster mitigation and topics such as Einstein’s theory of relativity; tsunamis, and gene therapy.

The British government is providing financial support to the project, notably to help defray the cost of duplicating and distributing the programmes. Cooperation between UNESCO and the BBC is expected to be extended beyond the sciences, to the fields of education, culture and communication through the licensing of BBC Worldwide content. BBC Worldwide is the BBC’s commercial arm.