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Small Flag of the United Nations ZP.svg United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
UNESCO.svg
Org type Specialized Agency
Acronyms UNESCO
Head Bulgaria Irina Bokova
Status Active
Established November 16, 1945
Headquarters France Paris, France
Website www.unesco.org
Headquarters of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in Paris, France, designed by Marcel Breuer

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO; pronounced /juːˈnɛskoʊ/, yoo-NES-koh) 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 and fundamental freedoms proclaimed in the UN Charter.[1] It is the heir of the League of Nations' International Commission on Intellectual Cooperation.

UNESCO has 193 Member States and seven Associate Members.[2][3] 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.

Contents

History

The UNESCO flag.

As early as 1942, in wartime, the governments of the European countries, which 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 and means to reconstruct their systems of education once peace was restored. Very quickly, the project 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.

At the end of the conference, thirty-seven countries founded the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. The Constitution of UNESCO, signed on 16 November 1945, came into force on 4 November 1946 after ratification by twenty countries: Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Egypt, France, Greece, India, Lebanon, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, United Kingdom and United States. The first session of the General Conference of UNESCO was held in Paris from 19 November to 10 December 1946 with the participation of representatives from 30 governments entitled to vote.

The ashes of the Second World War are reflected in the composition of the founding Member States of UNESCO. Japan and the Federal Republic of Germany became members in 1951, Spain in 1953. Other major historical factors, as the Cold War, the decolonization process and the dissolution of the USSR, also left their trace on UNESCO. The USSR joined UNESCO in 1954 and was replaced by the Russian Federation in 1992. Nineteen African States became Members in 1960. Twelve Republics from the former Soviet Union joined UNESCO in the period 1991 to 1993.

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.[4]

The flag of UNESCO shows a variation of the Parthenon, the ancient Greek temple, which is located in Athens, Greece.

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 his 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 some 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

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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 communist and Third World countries to attack the West, a stark contrast to accusations made by the USSR in the late 1940s and early 1950s.[5] 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.[citation needed] At the same time, the number of field units was cut from a peak of 1287 in 1998 to 93 today. Parallel management structures, including 35 Cabinet-level special adviser positions, were abolished.[citation needed] Between 1998 and 2009, 245 negotiated staff departures and buy-outs took place, causing the inherited $12 million staff cost deficit to disappear.[citation needed] 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.[citation needed] 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. The evaluation of relevance and effectiveness of programmes is carried out by the Evaluation Section of IOS.[citation needed]

Programming coherence

Programming coherence and relevance remains a challenge at UNESCO. One of the main reasons for this is that activities and projects can be identified and supervised by various services within the organization.[citation needed]

Activities

UNESCO offices at Brasília, Brazil

UNESCO implements its activities through the five programme areas of Education, Natural Sciences, Social and Human Sciences, Culture, and Communication and Information.

Official UNESCO NGOs

UNESCO enjoys official relations with 322 international NGOs.[9] Most of these are what UNESCO calls "operational", a select few are "formal".[10] 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[11] with formal associate (ASC) relations occupying offices at UNESCO are:

  1. Coordinating Committee for International Voluntary Service (CCIVS)
  2. Education International (EI)
  3. International Association of Universities (IAU)
  4. International Council for Film, Television and Audiovisual Communication (IFTC)
  5. International Council for Philosophy and Humanistic Studies (ICPHS) which publishes Diogenes
  6. International Council for Science (ICSU)
  7. International Council of Museums (ICOM)
  8. International Council of Sport Science and Physical Education (ICSSPE)
  9. International Council on Archives (ICA)
  10. International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS)
  11. International Federation of Journalists (IFJ)
  12. International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA)
  13. International Music Council (IMC)
  14. International Scientific Council for Island Development (INSULA)
  15. International Social Science Council (ISSC)
  16. International Theatre Institute (ITI)
  17. International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN)
  18. International Union of Technical Associations and Organizations
  19. Union of International Associations (UIA)
  20. World Association of Newspapers (WAN)
  21. World Federation of Engineering Organizations (WFEO)
  22. 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 institutes and centres in the sector of education

  • 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)
  • UNESCO Oceanian Centre for Higher Education (OCHE); Melbourne (Australia)
  • 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)

UNESCO institutes and centres in the sector of natural sciences

UNESCO Institute for Statistics

  • UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS); Montreal (Canada)

Prizes, awards, and medals

UNESCO awards several prizes in education, science, culture and peace, such as:

  • UNESCO Comenius Medal[13]

Discontinued UNESCO prizes, awards and medals

Member states

As of October 2009, UNESCO counts 193 Member States and seven Associate Members.

  • Afghanistan 4 May 1948
  • Albania 16 October 1958
  • Algeria 15 October 1962
  • Andorra 20 October 1993
  • Angola 11 March 1977
  • Antigua and Barbuda 15 July 1982
  • Argentina 15 September 1948
  • Armenia 9 June 1992
  • Australia 4 November 1946
  • Austria 13 August 1948
  • Azerbaijan 3 June 1992
  • Bahamas 23 April 1981
  • Bahrain 18 January 1972
  • Bangladesh 27 October 1972
  • Barbados 24 October 1968
  • Belarus 12 May 1954
  • Belgium 29 November 1946
  • Belize 10 May 1982
  • Benin 18 October 1960
  • Bhutan 13 April 1982
  • Bolivia 13 November 1946
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina 2 June 1993
  • Botswana 16 January 1980
  • Brazil 4 November 1946
  • Brunei Darussalam 17 March 2005
  • Bulgaria 17 May 1956
  • Burkina Faso 14 November 1960
  • Burundi 16 November 1962
  • Cambodia 3 July 1951
  • Cameroon 11 November 1960
  • Canada 4 November 1946
  • Cape Verde 15 February 1978
  • Central African Republic 11 November 1960
  • Chad 19 December 1960
  • Chile 7 July 1953
  • China 4 November 1946
  • Colombia 31 October 1947
  • Comoros 22 March 1977
  • Congo 24 October 1960
  • Cook Islands 25 October 1989
  • Costa Rica 19 May 1950
  • Côte d'Ivoire 27 October 1960
  • Croatia 1 June 1992
  • Cuba 29 August 1947
  • Cyprus 6 February 1961
  • Czech Republic 22 February 1993
  • Democratic People's Republic of Korea 18 October 1974
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo 25 November 1960
  • Denmark 4 November 1946
  • Djibouti 31 August 1989
  • Dominica 9 January 1979
  • Dominican Republic 4 November 1946
  • Ecuador 22 January 1947
  • Egypt 4 November 1946
  • El Salvador 28 April 1948
  • Equatorial Guinea 29 November 1979
  • Eritrea 2 September 1993
  • Estonia 14 October 1991
  • Ethiopia 1 July 1955
  • Fiji 14 July 1983
  • Finland 10 October 1956
  • France 4 November 1946
  • Gabon 16 November 1960
  • Gambia 1 August 1973
  • Georgia 7 October 1992
  • Germany 11 July 1951
  • Ghana 11 April 1958
  • Greece 4 November 1946
  • Grenada 17 February 1975
  • Guatemala 2 January 1950
  • Guinea 2 February 1960
  • Guinea-Bissau 1 November 1974
  • Guyana 21 March 1967
  • Haiti 18 November 1946
  • Honduras 16 December 1947
  • Hungary 14 September 1948
  • Iceland 8 June 1964
  • India 4 November 1946
  • Indonesia 27 May 1950
  • Iran (Islamic Republic of) 6 September 1948
  • Iraq 21 October 1948
  • Ireland 3 October 1961
  • Israel 16 September 1949
  • Italy 27 January 1948
  • Jamaica 7 November 1962
  • Japan 2 July 1951
  • Jordan 14 June 1950
  • Kazakhstan 22 May 1992
  • Kenya 7 April 1964
  • Kiribati 24 October 1989
  • Kuwait 18 November 1960
  • Kyrgyzstan 2 June 1992
  • Lao People's Democratic Republic 9 July 1951
  • Latvia 14 October 1991
  • Lebanon 4 November 1946
  • Lesotho 29 September 1967
  • Liberia 6 March 1947
  • Libyan Arab Jamahiriya 27 June 1953
  • Lithuania 7 October 1991
  • Luxembourg 27 October 1947
  • Madagascar 10 November 1960
  • Malawi 27 October 1964
  • Malaysia 16 June 1958
  • Maldives 18 July 1980
  • Mali 7 November 1960
  • Malta 10 February 1965
  • Marshall Islands 30 June 1995
  • Mauritania 10 January 1962
  • Mauritius 25 October 1968
  • Mexico 4 November 1946
  • Micronesia (Federated States of) 19 October 1999
  • Monaco 6 July 1949
  • Mongolia 1 November 1962
  • Morocco 7 November 1956
  • Montenegro 1 March 2007
  • Mozambique 11 October 1976
  • Myanmar 27 June 1949
  • Namibia 2 November 1978
  • Nauru 17 October 1996
  • Nepal 1 May 1953
  • Netherlands 1 January 1947
  • New Zealand 4 November 1946
  • Nicaragua 22 February 1952
  • Niger 10 November 1960
  • Nigeria 14 November 1960
  • Niue 26 October 1993
  • Norway 4 November 1946
  • Oman 10 February 1972
  • Pakistan 14 September 1949
  • Palau 20 September 1999
  • Panama 10 January 1950
  • Papua New Guinea 4 October 1976
  • Paraguay 20 June 1955
  • Peru 21 November 1946
  • Philippines 21 November 1946
  • Poland 6 November 1946
  • Portugal (1) 11 September 1974
  • Qatar 27 January 1972
  • Republic of Korea 14 June 1950
  • Republic of Macedonia 28 June 1993
  • Republic of Moldova 27 May 1992
  • Romania 27 July 1956
  • Russian Federation 21 April 1954
  • Rwanda 7 November 1962
  • Saint Kitts and Nevis 26 October 1983
  • Saint Lucia 6 March 1980
  • Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 14 January 1983
  • Samoa 3 April 1981
  • San Marino 12 November 1974
  • São Tomé and Príncipe 22 January 1980
  • Saudi Arabia 4 November 1946
  • Senegal 10 November 1960
  • Serbia (2) 20 December 2000
  • Seychelles 18 October 1976
  • Sierra Leone 28 March 1962
  • Singapore 8 October 2007
  • Slovakia 9 February 1993
  • Slovenia 27 May 1992
  • Solomon Islands 7 September 1993
  • Somalia 15 November 1960
  • South Africa (3) 12 December 1994
  • Spain 30 January 1953
  • Sri Lanka 14 November 1949
  • Sudan 26 November 1956
  • Suriname 16 July 1976
  • Swaziland 25 January 1978
  • Sweden 23 January 1950
  • Switzerland 28 January 1949
  • Syrian Arab Republic 16 November 1946
  • Tajikistan 6 April 1993
  • Thailand 1 January 1949
  • Timor-Leste 5 June 2003
  • Togo 17 November 1960
  • Tonga 29 September 1980
  • Trinidad and Tobago 2 November 1962
  • Tunisia 8 November 1956
  • Turkey 4 November 1946
  • Turkmenistan 17 August 1993
  • Tuvalu 21 October 1991
  • Uganda 9 November 1962
  • Ukraine 12 May 1954
  • United Arab Emirates 20 April 1972
  • United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (4) 1 July 1997
  • United Republic of Tanzania 6 March 1962
  • United States of America (5) 1 October 2003
  • Uruguay 8 November 1947
  • Uzbekistan 26 October 1993
  • Vanuatu 10 February 1994
  • Venezuela 25 November 1946
  • Vietnam 6 July 1951
  • Yemen 2 April 1962
  • Zambia 9 November 1964
  • Zimbabwe 22 September 1980

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

  • Palestine [14]
  • Holy See

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.

Directors-General

  1. Julian Huxley,  United Kingdom (1946–1948)
  2. Jaime Torres Bodet,  Mexico (1948–1952)
  3. John Wilkinson Taylor,  United States (acting 1952–1953)
  4. Luther Evans,  United States (1953–1958)
  5. Vittorino Veronese,  Italy (1958–1961)
  6. René Maheu,  France (1961–1974; acting 1961)
  7. Amadou-Mahtar M'Bow,  Senegal (1974–1987)
  8. Federico Mayor Zaragoza,  Spain (1987–1999)
  9. Koïchiro Matsuura,  Japan (1999–2009)
  10. Irina Bokova,  Bulgaria (2009– )

Locations

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))

Elections

Elections for the renewal of the position of Director-General will take place in Paris from 7 September to 23 September. Eight candidates are running for the position, and 58 countries[15] are to vote for them. The Executive Council will gather from 7 September to 23 September, the vote itself beginning on the 17th.

References

  1. ^ UNESCO Constitution
  2. ^ http://portal.unesco.org/en/ev.php-URL_ID=3328&URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_SECTION=201.html
  3. ^ http://www.faroeislands.org.uk/Default.aspx?ID=437&M=News&PID=1023&NewsID=2332
  4. ^ Save UNESCO : http://saveunesco.wordpress.com/2009/08/24/a-prehistory-of-unesco/
  5. ^ Grahm, S. E. (April 2006). "The (Real)politiks of Culture: U.S. Cultural Diplomacy in UNESCO, 1946–1954". Diplomatic History 30 (2): 231–251. doi:10.1111/j.1467-7709.2006.00548.x. 
  6. ^ Varga, Susan (2006). Edinburgh Old Town (Images of Scotland) (Images of Scotland). The History Press Ltd. ISBN 0-7524-4083-7. 
  7. ^ http://www.migrationmuseums.org/web/
  8. ^ http://portal.unesco.org/education/en/ev.php-URL_ID=35173&URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_SECTION=201.html
  9. ^ [1] quoted on UNESCO official site
  10. ^ [2] the full list of NGOs enjoying official relations with UNESCO
  11. ^ [3] UNESCO Headquarters Committee 107th session 13 Feb 2009 found on a UNESCO official site
  12. ^ UNESCO/L'ORÉAL Co-Sponsored Fellowships for Young Women in Life Sciences
  13. ^ The Comenius Medal
  14. ^ WADA. "Summary update on Government progress to become a State Party to the UNESCO International Convention against Doping in Sport" (PDF). p. 2. http://www.wada-ama.org/rtecontent/document/Item_8_6_Attachment_1_SummaryUpdateGovernments_UNESCO_Oct2008_ENG_FINAL.pdf. Retrieved 2009-07-28. 
  15. ^ List of the voting countries : http://saveunesco.files.wordpress.com/2009/08/electoral-groups-unesco.pdf

External links


Simple English

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is the United Nations agency that looks after

  • Education: Learning and the way people learn.
  • Culture: What people do in different countries, and what different people think is important.
  • Science: What people know about the world.

One of the things UNESCO does is to make a list of all the most important, special, interesting or beautiful places in the world. This list is called "UNESCO World Heritage Sites". These places and buildings musn't be destroyed, because they are important and that beautiful that the people in the future can enjoy this places. These places are telling us a lot about the past. The Uluru for example tells us a lot about the culture of Aborigines. Most countries have at least one place on this list, but some have many. They include historical buildings or sites, beautiful landscapes, places that have scientific value (for instance in geology), or places that are very important to one culture (such as Uluru).krc:Бирлешген Миллетлени Окъуудан, Илмудан эмда Культурадан Организациясы


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