United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
|Org type||Specialized Agency|
|Established||November 16, 1945|
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO; pronounced /juːˈnɛskoʊ/ yew-NESK-oh) is a specialized agency of the United Nations established on 16 November 1945. Its stated purpose is to contribute to peace and security by promoting international collaboration through education, science, and culture in order to further universal respect for justice, the rule of law, and the human rights along with fundamental freedoms proclaimed in the UN Charter.[clarification needed] It is the heir of the League of Nations‘ International Commission on Intellectual Cooperation.
UNESCO has 193 Member States and seven Associate Members. The organization is based in Paris, with over 50 field offices and many specialized institutes and centres throughout the world. Most of the field offices are “cluster” offices covering three or more countries; there are also national and regional offices. UNESCO pursues its objectives through five major programs: education, natural sciences, social and human sciences, culture, and communication and information. Projects sponsored by UNESCO include literacy, technical, and teacher-training programmes; international science programmes; the promotion of independent media and freedom of the press; regional and cultural history projects; the promotion of cultural diversity; international cooperation agreements to secure the world cultural and natural heritage (World Heritage Sites) and to preserve human rights, and attempts to bridge the worldwide digital divide.
 Mission and priorities
UNESCO’s mission is to contribute to the “building of peace”, reducing the poverty, sustainable development and intercultural dialogue through education, the sciences, culture, communication and information. The Organization focuses, in particular, on two global priorities: Africa and Gender Equality.
Other priorities of the Organization include attaining quality education for all and lifelong learning, addressing emerging social and ethical challenges, fostering cultural diversity, a culture of peace and building inclusive knowledge societies through information and communication.
As early as 1942, the governments of the European countries that were confronting Nazi Germany and its allies met in the United Kingdom for the Conference of Allied Ministers of Education (CAME). The Second World War was far from over, yet those countries were looking for ways to reconstruct their systems of education once peace was restored. The project quickly gained momentum and soon took on a universal note. New governments, including that of the United States, decided to join in.
Upon the proposal of CAME, a United Nations Conference for the establishment of an educational and cultural organization (ECO/CONF) was convened in London from 1 to 16 November 1945. Scarcely had the war ended when the conference opened. It gathered together the representatives of forty-four countries. Spurred on by France and the United Kingdom, two countries that had known great hardship during the conflict, the delegates decided to create an organization that would embody a genuine culture of peace. In their eyes, the new organization must establish the “intellectual and moral solidarity of mankind” and, in so doing, prevent the outbreak of another world war. It is an international organisation organised by the united nations.UNESCO History
As a consequence of its entry into the United Nations, the People’s Republic of China has been the only legitimate representative of China at UNESCO since 1971. The German Democratic Republic was a Member from 1972 to 1990, when it joined the Federal Republic of Germany.
The League of Nations, the United Nations’ ancestor, also had an institution to deal with intellectual cooperation: the “International Committee on Intellectual Cooperation” (ICIC), which had prestigious members such as Albert Einstein, Thomas Mann, Marie Curie and Paul Valéry.
The General Conference is a gathering of the organization’s member states and associate members, in which each state has one vote. Meeting every two years, it sets general policies and defines programme lines for the organization.
The Executive Board’s 58 members are elected by the General Conference for staggered four-year terms. The Executive Board prepares the sessions of the General Conference and ensures that its instructions are carried out. It also discharges other specific mandates assigned to it by the General Conference.
The Secretariat consists of the Director-General and her staff and is responsible for the day-to-day running of the organization. The Director-General, who serves as the public face of UNESCO, is elected for a (renewable) four-year term by the General Conference. The staff currently numbers over 2100, of whom some two-thirds are based in Paris, with the remaining third spread around the world in UNESCO’s 58 field offices. The Secretariat is divided into various administrative offices and five programme sectors that reflect the organization’s major areas of focus.
 Controversy and reform
 New World Information and Communication order
UNESCO has been the center of controversy in the past, particularly in its relationships with the United States, the United Kingdom, Singapore, and the former Soviet Union. During the 1970s and 1980s, UNESCO’s support for a “New World Information and Communication Order” and its MacBride report calling for democratization of the media and more egalitarian access to information was condemned in these countries as attempts to curb freedom of the press. UNESCO was perceived by some as a platform for communists and Third World dictators to attack the West, a stark contrast to accusations made by the USSR in the late 1940s and early 1950s. In 1984, the United States withheld its contributions and withdrew from the organization in protest, followed by the United Kingdom in 1985 and Singapore in 1986. Following a change of government in 1997, the UK rejoined. The United States rejoined in 2003, followed by Singapore on 8 October 2007.
 Internal reforms
Part of the reason for their change of stance was due to considerable reforms implemented by UNESCO over the past 10 years. These included the following measures: the number of divisions in UNESCO was cut in half, allowing a corresponding halving of the number of Directors—from 200 to under 100, out of a total staff of approximately 2,000 worldwide. At the same time, the number of field units was cut from a peak of 1,287 in 1998 to 93 today. Parallel management structures, including 35 Cabinet-level special adviser positions, were abolished. Between 1998 and 2009, 245 negotiated staff departures and buy-outs took place, causing the inherited $12 million staff cost deficit to disappear. The staff pyramid, which was the most top-heavy in the UN system, was cut back as the number of high-level posts was halved and the “inflation” of posts was reversed through the down-grading of many positions. Open competitive recruitment, results-based appraisal of staff, training of all managers and field rotation were instituted, as well as SISTER and SAP systems for transparency in results-based programming and budgeting. In addition, the Internal Oversight Service (IOS) was established in 2001 to improve organizational performance by including the lessons learned from programme evaluations into the overall reform process. It regularly carries out audits of UNESCO offices that essentially look into administrative and procedural compliance, but do not assess the relevance and usefulness of the activities and projects that are carried out. At least in thoery, the evaluation of the relevance and effectiveness of programmes is carried out by the Evaluation Section of IOS, although evidence of using “lessons learned” in programming is less clear and not always free from donor preferences.
In October 2010, UNESCO’s Executive Board voted to include Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem on the West Bank referring to it as the ‘Bilal Bin Rabah Mosque/Rachel’s Tomb and a part of Palestinian territory under occupation. The board demanded that Israel remove the site from its own list of National Heritage Sites, even though the site has had Jewish significance for thousands of years, on the grounds that this unilateral action was a violation of international law.  Subsequently, Israel partially suspended ties with UNESCO. Danny Ayalon, the Deputy Foreign Minister of Israel, declared that it was another example of campaign of delegitimization that the Palestinian National Authority was waging and that it hurt UNESCO for seeming to be a rubber stamp. Zevulun Orlev, chairman of Israel’s Education and Culture Committee, referred to the resolutions as an attempt undermine the mission of UNESCO as a scientific and cultural organization that promotes cooperation throughout the world. . Writers such as Larry Derfner recognized that UNESCO’s October 21st decision “spells out in black and white that the Tomb of the Patriarchs and Rachel’s Tomb are holy to Muslims, Christians and Jews.”
UNESCO implements its activities through the five programme areas of Education, Natural Sciences, Social and Human Sciences, Culture, and Communication and Information.
- Education: UNESCO is providing international leadership in creating learning societies with educational opportunities for all; it supports research in Comparative education; and provides expertise and fosters partnerships to strengthen national educational leadership and the capacity of countries to offer quality education for all. This includes the
- Eight specialized Institutes in different topics of the sector
- UNESCO Chairs, an international network of 644 UNESCO Chairs, involving over 770 institutions in 126 countries.
- Environmental Conservation Organisation
- Organization of the International Conference on Adult Education (CONFINTEA) in an interval of 12 years
- UNESCO ASPNet, an international network of 8,000 schools in 170 countries
UNESCO does not accredit institutions of higher learning.
- UNESCO also issues public ‘statements’ to educate the public:
- Seville Statement on Violence: A statement adopted by UNESCO in 1989 to refute the notion that humans are biologically predisposed to organised violence.
- Designating projects and places of cultural and scientific significance, such as:
- International Network of Geoparks
- Biosphere reserves, through the Programme on Man and the Biosphere (MAB), since 1971
- City of Literature; in 2007, the first city to be given this title was Edinburgh, the site of Scotland’s first circulating library. In 2008, Iowa City, Iowa became the City of Literature.
- Endangered languages and linguistic diversity projects
- Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity
- Memory of the World International Register, since 1997
- Water resources management, through the International Hydrological Programme (IHP), since 1965
- World Heritage Sites
- Encouraging the “free flow of ideas by images and words” by:
- Promoting freedom of expression, press freedom and access to information, through the International Programme for the Development of Communication and the Communication and Information Programme
- Promoting universal access to ICTs, through the Information for All Programme (IFAP)
- Promoting Pluralism and cultural diversity in the media
- Promoting events, such as:
- International Decade for the Promotion of a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence for the Children of the World: 2001–2010, proclaimed by the UN in 1998
- World Press Freedom Day, 3 May each year, to promote freedom of expression and freedom of the press as a basic human right and as crucial components of any healthy, democratic and free society.
- Criança Esperança in Brazil, in partnership with Rede Globo, to raise funds for community-based projects that foster social integration and violence prevention.
- International Literacy Day
- International Year for the Culture of Peace
- Founding and funding projects, such as:
- Migration Museums Initiative: Promoting the establishment of museums for cultural dialogue with migrant populations.
- UNESCO-CEPES, the European Centre for Higher Education: established in 1972 in Bucharest, Romania, as a de-centralized office to promote international co-operation in higher education in Europe as well as Canada, USA and Israel. Higher Education in Europe is its official journal.
- Free Software Directory: since 1998 UNESCO and the Free Software Foundation have jointly funded this project cataloguing free software.
- FRESH Focussing Resources on Effective School Health.
- OANA, the Organization of Asia-Pacific News Agencies
- International Council of Science
- UNESCO Goodwill Ambassadors
- ASOMPS, Asian Symposium on Medicinal Plants and Spices, a series of scientific conferences held in Asia
- Botany 2000, a programme supporting taxonomy, and biological and cultural diversity of medicinal and ornamental plants, and their protection against environmental pollution
 Official UNESCO NGOs
UNESCO enjoys official relations with 322 international NGOs. Most of these are what UNESCO calls “operational”, a select few are “formal”. Operational relations are reserved for an NGO with an active presence in the field, with special expertise and with an ability to channel the concerns of their clients. Requests for admission by an NGO to UNESCO for operational relations can be made to the Director-General at any time. Formal relations are reserved for those NGOs who have a sustained role in cooperating with UNESCO both upstream and downstream. Admission for formal recognition is only granted to international NGOs that are widely representative and expert in their field of activity, and with a genuinely international structure and membership. Formal relations are themselves sub-divided into two types, “consultative” or “associate”, depending on the role and structure of the NGO itself. The Executive Board, one of UNESCO’s governing bodies, decides on requests for admission by NGOs to one or the other type of formal relation on the basis of recommendations made by the Director-General. Formal relations are established for renewable periods of six years.
The highest form of affiliation to UNESCO is “formal associate”, and the 22 NGOs with formal associate (ASC) relations occupying offices at UNESCO are:
- International Baccalaureate (IB)
- Coordinating Committee for International Voluntary Service (CCIVS)
- Education International (EI)
- International Association of Universities (IAU)
- International Council for Film, Television and Audiovisual Communication (IFTC)
- International Council for Philosophy and Humanistic Studies (ICPHS) which publishes Diogenes
- International Council for Science (ICSU)
- International Council of Museums (ICOM)
- International Council of Sport Science and Physical Education (ICSSPE)
- International Council on Archives (ICA)
- International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS)
- International Federation of Journalists (IFJ)
- International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA)
- International Federation of Poetry Associations (IFPA)
- International Music Council (IMC)
- International Scientific Council for Island Development (INSULA)
- International Social Science Council (ISSC)
- International Theatre Institute (ITI)
- International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN)
- International Union of Technical Associations and Organizations
- Union of International Associations (UIA)
- World Association of Newspapers (WAN)
- World Federation of Engineering Organizations (WFEO)
- World Federation of UNESCO Clubs, Centres and Associations (WFUCA)
 UNESCO Institutes and Centres
The institutes are specialized departments of the Organization that support UNESCO’s programme, providing specialized support for cluster and national offices.
- UNESCO International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP); Paris (France) and Buenos Aires (Argentina); A centre for training and research to strengthen the capacity of countries to plan and manage their education systems.
- UNESCO International Bureau of Education (IBE); Geneva (Switzerland)
- UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL); Hamburg (Germany); A research, training, information, documentation and publishing centre on literacy, non-formal education, adult and lifelong learning.
- UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in Education (IITE); Moscow (Russian Federation)
- UNESCO International Institute for Capacity-Building in Africa (IICBA); Addis Ababa (Ethiopia)
- UNESCO International Institute for Higher Education in Latin America and the Caribbean (IESALC); Caracas (Venezuela)
- UNESCO International Centre for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (UNEVOC); Bonn (Germany)
- UNESCO European Centre for Higher Education (CEPES); Bucarest (Romania)
 Natural Sciences
- UNESCO Institute for Water Education (IHE); Delft (Netherlands)
- International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP); Trieste (Italy)
- UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS); Montreal (Canada)
 Official List of UNESCO Prizes
UNESCO currently awards 22 prizes in education, science, culture and peace:
- Félix Houphouët-Boigny Peace Prize
- L’ORÉAL-UNESCO Prize “For Women in Science”
- UNESCO/King Sejong Literacy Prize
- UNESCO/Confucius Prize for Literacy
- UNESCO/UNESCO-Emir Jaber al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah Prize to promote Quality Education for Persons with Intellectual Disabilities
- UNESCO/King Hamad Bin Isa Al Khalifa Prize for the Use of Information and Communication Technologies in Education
- UNESCO/Hamdan Bin Rashid Al-Maktoum Prize for Outstanding Practice and Performance in Enhancing the Effectiveness of Teachers
- UNESCO/Kalinga Prize for the Popularization of Science
- UNESCO/Sultan Qaboos Prize for Environmental Preservation
- Great Man-Made River International Water Prize for Water Resources in Arid Zones presented by UNESCO (title to be reconsidered)
- UNESCO/Obiang Nguema Mbasogo International Prize for Research in the Life Sciences
- UNESCO/Bilbao Prize for the Promotion of a Culture of Human Rights
- UNESCO Prize for Peace Education
- UNESCO-Madanjeet Singh Prize for the Promotion of Tolerance and Non-Violence
- UNESCO/International José Martí Prize
- UNESCO/Avicenna Prize for Ethics in Science
- UNESCO/Juan Bosch Prize for the Promotion of Social Science Research in Latin America and the Caribbean
- UNESCO/Sharjah Prize for Arab Culture
- Melina Mercouri International Prize for the Safeguarding and Management of Cultural Landscapes (UNESCO-Greece)
- IPDC-UNESCO Prize for Rural Communication
- UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize
- UNESCO/Jikji Memory of the World Prize
 Inactive UNESCO prizes,
- Carlos J. Finlay Prize (for Meritorious Work in Microbiology) (inactive since 2005)
- International Simón Bolívar Prize (inactive since 2004)
|This section requires expansion.|
 Member states
As of 2008, Liechtenstein is not a member of UNESCO, but they have a NOC.
 Associate members
- Aruba 20 October 1987
- British Virgin Islands 24 November 1983
- Cayman Islands 30 October 1999
- Macau, China 25 October 1995
- Netherlands Antilles 26 October 1983
- Tokelau 15 October 2001
- Faroe Islands 12 October 2009
 Observer status
 Postage stamps
Various countries have issued postage stamps commemorating UNESCO. The organization’s seal and its headquarters building have been common themes. In 1955 the United Nations Postal Administration (UNPA) issued its first ones honouring the organization.
While UNESCO has never separately issued stamps valid for postage, from 1951 to 1966 it issued a series of 41 “gift stamps” to raise money for its activities. Designed by artists in various countries, they were sold at a desk by the UNPA counter located in the United Nations Headquarters building in New York City. No longer available at the UN, most of these Cinderella stamps can be purchased at low cost from speciality stamp dealers.
- Julian Huxley (1946–1948)
- Jaime Torres Bodet (1948–1952)
- John Wilkinson Taylor (acting 1952–1953)
- Luther Evans (1953–1958)
- Vittorino Veronese (1958–1961)
- René Maheu (1961–1974; acting 1961)
- Amadou-Mahtar M’Bow (1974–1987)
- Federico Mayor Zaragoza (1987–1999)
- Koïchiro Matsuura (1999–2009)
- Irina Bokova (2009– )
 UNESCO Offices
UNESCO has offices in many locations across the globe; its headquarters are located in Paris, France.48°51′00″N 2°18′22″E / 48.85°N 2.306°E / 48.85; 2.306 (UNESCO headquarters))Coordinates: 48°51′00″N 2°18′22″E / 48.85°N 2.306°E / 48.85; 2.306 (UNESCO headquarters)) Through its field offices, UNESCO develops strategies, programmes and activities in consultation with national authorities and other partners.
 Office Types
UNESCO’s field offices are categorized into four primary office types based upon their function and geographic coverage. The following descriptions identify the primary dividing lines.
 Cluster Offices
A cluster office covers a group of countries and is the central component in the field, around which are organized national offices and regional bureaux. The 27 cluster offices, covering 148 Member States, represent the main supporting structure of UNESCO Secretariat’s network in the field.
 National Offices
In addition to cluster offices which are the main supporting structure of the Secretariat’s network in the field, there are 21 national offices, each serving a single Member State. These exceptions to the cluster system involve either the so-called E-9 countries (nine highly-populated countries) which are either in post-conflict situations or are in transition.
 Regional Bureaux
Regional bureaux and regional advisers specializing in the fields of education, science, the social sciences, culture and communication provide specialized support to cluster and national offices in a given region.
 Liaison Offices
The decentralized network includes two liaison offices to the United Nations in New York and Geneva and a liaison office to the European Union in Brussels.
 UNESCO Field Offices by Region
The following list of all UNESCO Field Offices is organized geographically by UNESCO Region and identifies the members states and associate members of UNESCO which are served by each office.
- Abuja – National Office to Nigeria.
- Accra – Cluster Office for Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Togo.
- Addis Ababa – Cluster Office for Djibouti and Ethiopia.
- Bamako – Cluster Office for Burkina Faso, Guinea, Mali and Niger.
- Brazzaville – National Office to Congo.
- Bujumbura – National Office to Burundi.
- Dakar – Regional Bureau for Education in Africa and Cluster Office for Cape Verde, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, and Senegal.
- Dar es-Salaam – Cluster Office for Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius, Seychelles and United Republic of Tanzania.
- Harare – Cluster Office for Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
- Kinshasa – National Office to the Democratic Republic of Congo.
- Libreville – Cluster Office for Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Sao Tome and Principe.
- Maputo – National Office to Mozambique.
- Nairobi – Regional Bureau for Sciences in Africa and Cluster Office for Burundi, Eritrea, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia and Uganda.
- Windhoek – Cluster Office to Angola, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa and Swaziland.
- Yaoundé – Cluster Office to Cameroon, Central African Republic and Chad.
 Arab States
- Iraq – National Office for Iraq.
- Amman – National Office to Jordan.
- Beirut – Regional Bureau for Education in the Arab States and Cluster Office to Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Iraq and the Autonomous Palestinian Territories.
- Cairo – Regional Bureau for Sciences in the Arab States and Cluster Office for Egypt, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya and Sudan.
- Doha – Cluster Office to Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.
- Khartoum – National Office to Sudan.
- Rabat – Cluster Office to Algeria, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia.
- Ramallah – National Office to the Palestinian Authority.
 Asia and Pacific
- Almaty – Cluster Office to Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
- Apia – Cluster Office to Australia, Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Micronesia (Federated States of), Nauru, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu and Tokelau (Associate Member).
- Bangkok – Regional Bureau for Education in Asia and the Pacific and Cluster Office to Thailand, Myanmar, Lao PDR, Singapore, Viet Nam and Cambodia.
- Beijing – Cluster Office to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), Japan, Mongolia, the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of Korea (ROK).
- Dhaka – National Office to Bangladesh.
- Hanoi – National Office to Vietnam.
- Islamabad – National Office to Pakistan.
- Jakarta – Regional Bureau for Sciences in Asia and the Pacific and Cluster Office to Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Timor Leste.
- Kabul – National Office to Afghanistan.
- Kathmandu – National Office to Nepal.
- New Delhi – Cluster Office to Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka.
- Phnom Penh – National Office to Cambodia.
- Tashkent – National Office to Uzbekistan.
- Tehran – Cluster Office to the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and Turkmenistan.
 Europe and North America
- Brussels – Liaison Office to the European Union and its subsidiary bodies in Brussels.
- Geneva – Liaison Office to the United Nations in Geneva.
- New York – Liaison Office to the United Nations in New York.
- Moscow – Cluster Office to Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Republic of Moldova and the Russian Federation.
- Venice – Regional Bureau for Sciences and Culture in Europe and North America.
 Latin America and the Caribbean
- Brasilia – National Office to Brazil.
- Guatemala – National Office to Guatemala.
- Havana – Regional Bureau for Culture in Latin America and the Caribbean and Cluster Office to Cuba, Dominican Republic, Haiti and Aruba.
- Kingston – Cluster Office to Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago as well as the associate member states of British Virgin Islands, Netherlands Antilles and Cayman Islands.
- Lima – National Office to Peru.
- Mexico – National Office to Mexico.
- Montevideo – Regional Bureau for Sciences in Latin America and the Caribbean and Cluster Office to Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay.
- Port-au-Prince – National Office to Haiti.
- Quito – Cluster Office to Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela.
- San José – Cluster Office to Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua and Panama.
- Santiago de Chile – Regional Bureau for Education in Latin America and the Caribbean and National Office to Chile.
Elections for the renewal of the position of Director-General took place in Paris from 7 September to 23 September 2009. Eight candidates ran for the position, and 58 countries voted for them. The Executive Council gathered from 7 September to 23 September, the vote itself beginning on the 17th. Irina Bokova was elected the new Director-General.