A group containing top gas-producing countries has signed a pact with United Nations wing Unesco to jointly tackle global issues such as climate change and natural resource management.

The memorandum of understanding struck between Unesco and the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF) on 7 December will focus much of its attention on Africa and was hailed by the parties as “a victory for science and education”.

The pact will see the partners share scientific competence to overcome energy poverty and to mitigate carbon dioxide emissions, among other goals.

GECF is a forum of international organisations and 20 gas-producing member countries, including Qatar, Algeria, Egypt, United Arab Emirates, Iran, Iraq, Angola, Nigeria, Norway, Libya and Equatorial Guinea. It is headquartered in Doha, capital of liquefied natural gas exporting giant Qatar.

Yury Sentyurin , GECF’s secretary general who co-signed the agreement, said: “The GECF is developing technologies, including ones in relation to reduction of GHGs emissions through the GECF Gas Research Institute, recently established in Algeria, and fully dedicated to discovering new technologies and innovations to achieve the ambitious sustainable development goals in front of us.”

Fellow co-signee, Unesco assistant director general for natural sciences Shamila Nair-Bedouelle, added: “We need science and technology, we need access to science and technology, we need to be able to reduce the knowledge gap between different countries across the world.”