Tokyo Protocol

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The Tokyo Protocol is a set of principles to successfully contribute to society and was explicitly endorsed and agreed upon by the world’s science centres/museums networks in support of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).


The Science Centre World Congress (SCWC) was held every 3 years, focused mainly on the science centre field. The SCWC was redefined to the Science Centre World Summit (SCWS) in 2010 encompassing the entire human society. The first SCWS2014 was held by Technopolis®, the Flemish Science Centre, Mechelen, Belgium, yielding the comprehensive Mechelen Declaration to enhance public engagement for a better world. At the convening of SCWS2017, science centres/museums networks recognise the importance of an evolving application of the Mechelen Declaration, with the “Tokyo Protocol” that is designed to connect the world for a sustainable future.

Related Actions

International Science Center and Science Museum Day (ISCSMD):

An outstanding global debut in 2016 November, the world’s science centres/museums celebrate and demonstrated that their institutions could be the Earth’s most influential combined force for engaging the public with science, technology, related civic decision-making, and direct action to solve the critical issues facing the planet. The ISCSMD in 2017 will be 10 November.

Tokyo Protocol

On the Role of Science Centres and Science Museums Worldwide
In Support of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals


Science centres and science museums throughout the world are committed to promoting scientifically literate societies and participatory citizenship, by educating, empowering and inspiring people of all ages about the impact of science on their lives. Since 1996, leaders of the field have convened in six world congresses, reaffirming these commitments in two formal declarations (Toronto and Cape Town.) These congresses provided the basis for convening the first Science Centre World Summit (SCWS2014) in Mechelen, Belgium, yielding the comprehensive Mechelen Declaration of principles and concrete actions to enhance public engagement for a better world.

At the convening of the second Science Centre World Summit (SCWS2017) on 15-17 November, 2017 in Tokyo, Japan, parties recognise the importance of applying the principles of the Mechelen Declaration more precisely to strengthening public engagement in global sustainability. Underscoring this important role for the field,

The Parties to this Protocol:

  • Recalling the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) endorsed by the United Nations (UN) in 2015 that are global in scope and impact;
  • Recognising that science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) is critical to meet these challenges and that STEM is universally relevant across borders and cultures;
  • Emphasising that public engagement and action in science and technology are key to achieving the SDGs;
  • Endorsing the commitments and achievements to date of global, regional and local organisations worldwide to achieve these goals for the benefit of all life forms on the planet.
  • Taking into account that everyone must play a part to meet the challenges addressed by the SDGs and that these will be fulfilled by the actions of individuals in communities throughout the world;
  • Recognising as well that the rapid pace of change in the world today - scientifically, technologically, demographically and economically - offers both challenges and new opportunities for collective actions to achieve the SDGs;
  • Acknowledging that nearly 3000 science centres and science museums that influence more than 310 million visitors and participants are deeply committed to raising awareness and helping all members of society to be participants in the solutions achievable to meet these goals for our planet;
  • Expressing confidence that science centres and science museums are agile institutions responsive to rapid changes and behaving proactively, share the vision on their roles in the ever-changing society;
  • Declaring that science centres and science museums worldwide are concerned, committed, and prepared to address these increasingly urgent goals,

Have agreed as follows:

General Provision
This Protocol stands as a fully endorsed supplement to the Mechelen Declaration opened for signature on 19 March, 2014 at the convening of the first Science Centre World Summit in Mechelen, Belgium and adopted as a framework with the following seven action points:

We will …

  1. Investigate how to engage even more effectively with local communities and increasingly diverse audiences, and keep the focus on gender differences in engagement.
  2. Continue taking actions that have a positive global impact and that will make people everywhere more aware of the opportunities that science and technology hold for the sustainable advancement of humankind.
  3. Draw the attention of decision makers and the media to the essential role of public engagement with science and technology by setting up high-profile global activities.
  4. Endeavour to leverage the position of science centres as “trusted” places to introduce the public to new technological solutions and sustainable technologies, and to broaden the potential use of these solutions.
  5. Take the lead in developing the best methods for engaging learners and optimizing their education in both formal and informal settings using appropriate technologies in widely varying contexts.
  6. Engage the public more directly with research, using this engagement to help empower people, broaden attitudes and ensure that the work of universities and research institutions is relevant to society and to wider social concerns on a global scale.
  7. Work together in a creative celebration of the International Science Centre Year 2019, encouraging people throughout the world to take part in shared experiences relating to science and technology and society.

Statement of Purposes

The purposes of this Protocol are therefore to:

  1. Recognise and utilize science centres and science museums as platforms to help various relevant stakeholders build a better understanding of the challenges of realising the SDGs in increasingly diverse communities;
  2. Bring to the attention of the decision makers worldwide the accomplishments of the science centre and science museum field with regard to the SDGs consistent with the relevant action points of the Mechelen Declaration.

With Actions Set Forth:

The Parties to this Protocol will endeavour to –

  1. Give priority consideration to the importance and urgency of expanding public awareness of, and engagement in actions that help achieve the SDGs;
  2. Undertake actions relevant and appropriate to local communities with consideration for the SDGs;
  3. Serve as platforms for discourse and exchange among all diverse actors in society on these critical issues - bridging ideas, cultures, and views, whether they are founded in indigenous knowledge and long-standing traditions or fashioned in the rapid pace of global change;
  4. Establish new and strengthen existing partnerships and collaborations with other organisations and entities that share the commitment of science centres and science museums to raise public awareness and engagement toward timely success in achieving the SDGs;
  5. Embrace and incorporate the contributions of technological innovation as tools to more effectively engage the public in these topics;
  6. Serve as trusted links and valued communicators of both the progress being made and the challenges encountered by the scientific research community worldwide in contributing to the achievement of the SDGs;
  7. Support advancement in the number, capabilities and efforts of science centres and science museums everywhere to achieve progress in meeting the SDGs;
  8. Accept the responsibility to serve as catalysts for better understanding and coordinated actions within communities throughout the world by stimulating tolerance and critical thinking, distinguishing fact from belief, reinforcing the imperative for evidence-based decision-making, and inspiring a new generation to view the SDGs as foundations on which to grow a better world;
  9. Support the organisation of collective worldwide public STEM activities, wherever possible, to include observance of an annual international science centre and science museum day, consistent with intent of action item #7 of the Mechelen Declaration, but modifying in scope from an international year to an annual international day.

Click here for the signed Tokyo Protocol in pdf file.

You can also find versions of the Tokyo Protocol in:

Arabic (PDF)
Filipino (PDF)
Japanese (PDF)
Korean (PDF)
Malay (PDF)
Portuguese_Brazil (PDF)
Portuguese_Portugal (PDF)
Spanish (PDF)
Thai (PDF)
Simplified Chinese (PDF)
Traditional Chinese_Hong Kong & Macao (PDF)
Traditional Chinese_Taiwan (PDF)