United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)

Organisation des Nations Unies pour l'éducation, la science et la culture
Organización de las Naciones Unidas para la Educación, la Ciencia y la Cultura

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History

16 Nov 1945, London (UK), on adoption of Constitution signed by 37 countries, at conclusion of United Nations Conference for Establishment of an Educational and Cultural Organization (ECO/CONF), 1-16 Nov 1945, London, comprising representatives of 44 governments. Establishment followed proposal of Conference of Allied Ministers of Education (CAME), commenced Nov 1942, London, continuing until 5 Dec 1945, at which 18 governments were represented. Preparatory Commission was established on signature of UNESCO Constitution, 16 Nov 1945; first session of the General Conference took place 19 Nov-10 Dec 1946, Paris, with participation of representatives from 30 governments entitled to vote. Constitution came into force 4 Nov 1946, on 20th ratification, on which date agreement between the United Nations and UNESCO was approved by General Assembly of the United Nations at its Oct-Dec 1946 Session, New York NY (USA).

Main predecessors: International Commission on Intellectual Cooperation (CICI), Geneva (Switzerland) 1922-1946; International Institute of Intellectual Cooperation (IICI), Paris (France) 1925-1946; International Bureau of Education (IBE), Geneva 1925-1968; from 1969 the latter has been part of the Charter of UNESCO Secretariat under its own statutes. CICI and IICI together comprised International Organization for Intellectual Cooperation (IOIC), whose official establishment was prevented by World War II but which would have performed a similar function to that of UNESCO.

UNESCO is a specialized agency of United Nations (UN) within United Nations System.

Aims

Contribute to lasting peace and security by promoting cooperation among nations through education, science, culture and communication in order to further universal respect for justice, for the rule of law and for human rights and fundamental freedoms which are affirmed for the peoples of the world, without distinction of race, sex, language or religion, by the Charter of the United Nations; give fresh impulse to education for all throughout a person's lifetime and to the spread of culture through fostering ever wider access to and sharing of knowledge, and through building of endogenous capabilities encourage cooperation among nations in all branches of intellectual activity; initiate methods of international cooperation aimed at giving the people of all countries access to printed, published and electronically transmitted materials produced by any of them.

/Strategic Objectives/

 • 'Education': promote education as a fundamental right in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; improve the quality of education through diversification of contents and methods and promotion of universally shared values; promote experimentation, innovation and the diffusion and sharing of information and best practices and policy dialogue in education.

 • 'Natural Sciences': promote principles and ethical norms to guide scientific and technological development and social transformation; improve human security by better management of the environment and social change; enhance scientific, technical and human capacities to participate in the emerging knowledge societies.

 • 'Social and Human Sciences': promote principles and ethical norms to guide scientific and technological development and social transformation; improve human security by better management of the environment and social change; enhance scientific, technical and human capacities to participate in the emerging knowledge society.

 • 'Culture': promote the drafting and implementation of standard-setting instruments in the cultural field; safeguard cultural diversity and encourage dialogue among cultures and civilizations; enhance links between culture and development through capacity-building and sharing of knowledge.

 • 'Communication and Information': promote free flow of ideas and universal access to information; promote expression of pluralism and cultural diversity in the media and world information networks; promote access for all to information and communication technology, especially in the public domain.

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Activities

Activities are defined by the Programme, approved every 2 years by General Conference and, since 1977, by Medium-Term Plans or Strategies.

/Major Programmes/ (5):

'Major Programme I - Education' - Includes Education for All (EFA). Education Institutes (6):

 • International Bureau of Education (IBE);

 • International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP);

 • UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL);

 • UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in Education (IITE);

 • UNESCO - International Institute for Capacity Building in Africa (IICBA);

 • UNESCO International Institute for Higher Education in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNESCO-IESALC).

Education communities/networks supported and/or coordinated by UNESCO include:

 • African Network of Scientific and Technological Institutions (ANSTI);

 • Asia-Pacific Programme of Education for All (APPEAL);

 • Asia-Pacific Programme of Educational Innovation for Development (APEID);

 • UNESCO Associated Schools Project Network (ASPnet);

 • Child Rights International Network (CRIN);

 • Community of Practice in Curriculum Development;

 • E-Network on Educational Planning and Management (EMPA);

 • Educational Leadership Network;

 • UNESCO International Centre for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (UNESCO-UNEVOC);

 • Latin American Laboratory for Assessment of Quality in Education (LLECE);

 • Mediterranean Education Initiative for Environment and Sustainability (MEdIES);

 • Palestinian European Academic Cooperation in Education (PEACE);

 • Sistema Regional de Información (SIRI) for Latin America and the Caribbean;

 • Southern and Eastern Africa Consortium for Monitoring Educational Quality (SACMEQ);

 • Teacher Network of Latin America and the Caribbean (KIPUS);

 • Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE);

 • Latin American and Caribbean Education Innovation Network (INNOVEMOS);

 • United Nations Girls' Education Initiative (UNGEI);

 • UNITWIN/UNESCO Chairs Programme;

 • UNESCO/NGO Collective Consultation on Higher Education.

'Major Programme II - Natural Sciences' - Communities/networks involved:

 • IHE Delft Institute for Water Education;

 • CONOSUR - Network of Ecumenical Lay Centres - OIKOSNET Latin America;

 • UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS);

 • International Hydrological Programme (IHP);

 • Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC);

 • Programme on Man and the Biosphere (MAB);

 • International Geoscience Programme (IGCP).

'Major Programme III - Social and Human Sciences' - Includes the programme Management of Social Transformations (MOST).

'Major Programme IV - Culture' - includes Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage.

'Major Programme V - Communication and Information' - Includes Memory of the World Programme (Memoria Mundi). Programmes (2):

 • International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC);

 • Information for All Programme (IFAP).

Portals include: UNESCO Network of Associated Libraries (UNAL).

'Instrumental in setting up':

 • African Network of Scientific and Technological Institutions (ANSTI);

 • African Training Centre for Literacy and Adult Education;

 • Arab Network on Staff Development in Higher Education (ANSD);

 • Asia/Pacific Cultural Centre for UNESCO (ACCU);

 • Asia Pacific Information Network (APIN);

 • Asia Pacific Network for Tolerance (APNT);

 • Asia-Pacific Programme of Educational Innovation for Development (APEID);

 • Asian Network for Analytical and Inorganic Chemistry (ANAIC);

 • Asian-Pacific Information Network on Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (APINMAP);

 • Caribbean Coastal Marine Productivity (CARICOMP);

 • Central and Eastern European Media Centre Foundation (EMF-FCP);

 • World Heritage Information Centre, Luang Prabang;

 • Centre international pour le dialogue des cultures, St Pétersbourg;

 • Centro de Cooperación Regional para la Educación de Adultos en América Latina y el Caribe (CREFAL);

 • International Centre for Biological Sciences, Caracas (CICB);

 • COMARNORTH;

 • COSTED-IBN;

 • Culturelink - the Network of Networks for Research and Cooperation in Cultural Development;

 • European Network on Staff Development in Higher Education (ENSDHE);

 • European Regional Centre for Ecohydrology of the Polish Academy of Sciences, Lodz (ERCE PAS);

 • Focusing Resources on Effective School Health (FRESH);

 • Global Alliance on Cultural Diversity;

 • Global Geoparks Network (GGN);

 • Global Movement for a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence;

 • Information Society Program for Latin America and the Caribbean (INFOLAC);

 • INFOYOUTH - Worldwide Information Network on Youth Related Issues (INFOYOUTH);

 • African Institute for Economic and Social Development - African Training Centre (INADES-Formation);

 • Institute for Black Peoples (IBP);

 • Intergovernmental Committee for Physical Education and Sport (CIGEPS);

 • Intergovernmental Regional Committee on Education in Asia and the Pacific (EDCOM);

 • International Centre for Chemical Studies (ICCS);

 • International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD);

 • International Centre for Physical Land Resources (ICPLR);

 • International Centre for Water Hazard and Risk Management (ICHARM);

 • International Clearinghouse on Children, Youth and Media;

 • International Fund for the Promotion of Culture (IFPC);

 • International Information Centre for Terminology (INFOTERM);

 • International Institute for Central Asian Studies (IICAS);

 • International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications (INASP);

 • International Network of Centres for Computer Applications (INCCA);

 • International Research and Training Centre on Erosion and Sedimentation (IRTCES);

 • #International Rostrum of Composers;

 • #International Rostrum of Electroacoustic Music;

 • #International Rostrum of Young Performers - New Talent;

 • International Scientific Committee for the Drafting of a General History of the Caribbean;

 • International Scientific Committee for the Drafting of a General History of Latin America;

 • International Scientific Committee for the Drafting of a History of Civilizations of Central Asia;

 • International Scientific Committee for the Drafting of a Work on the Various Aspects of Islamic Culture;

 • International Scientific Committee for the 'Iron Routes in Africa';

 • International Statistical Education Centre (ISEC);

 • International Youth Library (IYL);

 • Latin American Network for Tolerance and Solidarity;

 • Mediterranean and Black Sea Regional Network against Intolerance, Discrimination and Violence;

 • Molecular and Cell Biology Network (MCBN);

 • Observatory on the Information Society;

 • ORBICOM - International Network of UNESCO Chairs in Communication;

 • Panel international sur la construction de la démocratie;

 • Planet Society (PS);

 • Regional Centre for Biotechnology Training and Education, India (RCB);

 • Regional Centre for Training and Water Studies of Arid and Semiarid Zones, Cairo (RCTWS);

 • Regional Centre on Urban Water Management;

 • Regional Centre on Urban Water Management, Teheran (RCUWM);

 • Regional Network for the Chemistry of Natural Products in Southeast Asia;

 • Regional Programme for the Universalization and Renewal of Primary Education and the Eradication of Illiteracy in the Arab States by the Year 2000 (ARABUPEAL);

 • Regional Project for Research and Training on Coastal Ecosystems in Africa (COMARAF);

 • Regional Project for Research and Training on Coastal Systems of Latin America and the Caribbean and their relations with the Continental Shelf (COSALC);

 • Regional Water Centre for Arid and Semi-Arid Regions of Latin America and the Caribbean (CAZALAC);

 • Réseau coopératif inter-universitaire de formation et de perfectionnement du personnel d'enseignement supérieur;

 • South-Eastern Mediterranean Programme (SEMEP);

 • UNESCO Co-Action Programme (Co-Action);

 • UNESCO Early Childhood Cooperating Centre, Mali;

 • UNESCO Environment and Development in Coastal Regions and Small Islands (UNESCO CSI Programme);

 • UNESCO Fellowships Programme;

 • UNESCO-ICOM Museum Information Centre;

 • UNESCO International Research Network on Educational Resources;

 • UNESCO/UNEP International Environmental Education Programme (IEEP);

 • UNESCO World Network of Microbiological Resources Centres MIRCEN;

 • Water and Development Information for Arid Lands Global Network (G-WADI);

 • World Heritage Fund.

Agreements concluded under UNESCO auspices:

 • Agreement for Facilitating the International Circulation of Visual and Auditory Materials of an Educational, Scientific and Cultural Character (Beirut Agreement);

 • Agreement on the Importation of Educational, Scientific and Cultural Materials;

 • International Convention to Facilitate the Importation of Commercial Samples and Advertising Material;

 • Protocol 1 Annexed to the Universal Copyright Convention Concerning the Application of That Convention to the Works of Stateless Persons and Refugees, 1952;

 • Protocol 2 Annexed to the Universal Copyright Convention, Concerning the Application of That Convention to the Works of Certain International Organizations, 1952;

 • Protocol 3 Annexed to the Universal Copyright Convention;

 • Universal Copyright Convention, 1952;

 • Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict (The Hague Convention, 1954);

 • Protocol for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict;

 • Convention Concerning the Exchange of Official Publications and Government Documents between States;

 • Convention Concerning the International Exchange of Publications;

 • Convention Against Discrimination in Education;

 • Customs Convention Concerning Facilities for the Importation of Goods for Display or Use at Exhibitions, Fairs, Meetings or Similar Events;

 • International Convention for the Protection of Performers, Producers of Phonograms and Broadcasting Organizations (Rome Convention);

 • Protocol Instituting a Conciliation and Good Offices Commission to be Responsible for Seeking the Settlement of Any Disputes Which May Arise between States Parties to the Convention Against Discrimination in Education;

 • Declaration of principles of international cultural cooperation;

 • Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property (Paris, 1970);

 • Convention for the Protection of Producers of Phonograms Against Unauthorized Duplication of Their Phonograms (Geneva Convention);

 • Convention on Wetlands of International Importance Especially as Waterfowl Habitat (Ramsar convention);

 • Protocol 1 Annexed to the Universal Copyright Convention Concerning the Application of That Convention to Works of Stateless Persons and Refugees, 1971;

 • Protocol 2 Annexed to the Universal Copyright Convention Concerning the Application of That Convention to the Works of Certain International Organizations, 1971;

 • Universal Copyright Convention, 1971;

 • Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage (World Heritage Convention);

 • Declaration of Guiding Principles on the Use of Satellite Broadcasting for the Free Flow of Information, the Spread of Education and Greater Cultural Exchange;

 • Déclaration des Principes Directeurs de L'utilisation de la Radiodiffusion par Satellites pour la Libre Circulation de L'information, L'extension de L'éducation et le Développement des échanges Culturels;

 • Declaration on Race and Racial Prejudice;

 • Convention Relating to the Distribution of Programme-carrying Signals Transmitted by Satellite (Brussels Convention);

 • Regional Convention on the Recognition of Studies, Diplomas and Degrees in Higher Education in Latin America and the Caribbean;

 • International Convention on the Recognition of Studies, Diplomas and Degrees in Higher Education in the Arab States and European States Bordering on the Mediterranean;

 • Protocol to the Agreement on the Importation of Educational, Scientific and Cultural Materials;

 • Convention on the Recognition of Studies, Diplomas and Degrees in Higher Education in the Arab States;

 • Declaration on Fundamental Principles Concerning the Contribution of the Mass Media to Strengthening Peace and International Understanding, to the Promotion of Human Rights and to Countering Racialism, Apartheid and Incitement to War;

 • Déclaration sur les Principes Fondamentaux Concernant la Contribution des Organes D'information au Renforcement de la Paix et de la Compréhension Internationale, à la Promotion des Droits de L'homme et à la Lutte Contre le Racisme et L'apartheid et L'incitation à la Guerre;

 • Déclaration sur la Race et les Préjugés Raciaux;

 • International Charter of Physical Education and Sport;

 • Convention on the Recognition of Studies, Diplomas and Degrees in Higher Education in the States Belonging to the Europe Region;

 • Multilateral Convention for the Avoidance of Double Taxation of Copyright Royalties and Additional Protocol (Madrid Multilateral Convention);

 • Regional Convention on the Recognition of Studies, Certificates, Diplomas, Degrees and other Academic Qualifications in Higher Education in the African States;

 • Protocol to Amend the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance Especially as Waterfowl Habitat;

 • Regional Convention on the Recognition of Studies, Diplomas and Degrees in Higher Education in Asia and the Pacific;

 • Convention on Technical and Vocational Education;

 • Convention on Stolen or Illegally Exported Cultural Objects;

 • Convention on the Recognition of Qualifications Concerning Higher Education in the European Region;

 • Declaration on the Responsibilities of Present Generations Towards Future Generations;

 • Universal Declaration on the Human Genome and Human Rights;

 • Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage;

 • Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage;

 • International Declaration on Human Genetic Data;

 • Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions;

 • Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights.

Structure

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Languages

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Staff

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Financing

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Relations with Inter-Governmental Organizations

Relations with 106 inter-governmental organizations.
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Relations with Non-Governmental Organizations

Relations with 382 non-governmental organizations.
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Publications

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Information Services

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Members

Members in 205 countries
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Type I Classification

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Type II Classification

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UIA Org ID

B3383

Last News Received

20150227p
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