The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations (UN) aimed at promoting world peace and security through international cooperation in education, arts, sciences and culture. It has 194 member states and 12 associate members, as well as partners in the non-governmental, intergovernmental and private sector. Headquartered in Paris, France, UNESCO has 53 regional field offices and 199 national commissions that facilitate its global mandate.
UNESCO implements its activities through the five program areas: education, natural sciences, social and human sciences, culture, and communication and information.
- UNESCO supports research in comparative education, provides expertise and fosters partnerships to strengthen national educational leadership and the capacity of countries to offer quality education for all. This includes the
- UNESCO Chairs, an international network of 644 UNESCO Chairs, involving over 770 institutions in 126 countries.
- Environmental Conservation Organization.
- Convention against Discrimination in Education adopted in 1960
- Organization of the International Conference on Adult Education (CONFINTEA) in an interval of 12 years
- Publication of the Education for All Global Monitoring Report
- Publication of the Four Pillars of Learning seminal document
- 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 organized violence.
Designating projects and places of cultural and scientific significance, such as:
- Global Geoparks Network
- Biosphere reserves, through the Program 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 (UNESCO Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger)
- Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity
- Memory of the World International Register, since 1997
- Water resources management, through the International Hydrological Program (IHP), since 1965
- World Heritage Sites
- World Digital Library
Encouraging the “free flow of ideas by images and words” by:
- Promoting freedom of expression, including freedom of the press and freedom of information legislation, through the Division of Freedom of Expression and Media Development, including the International Program for the Development of Communication.
- Promoting the safety of journalists and combatting impunity for those who attack them, through coordination of the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity
- Promoting universal access to and preservation of information and open solutions for sustainable development through the Knowledge Societies Division, including the Memory of the World Program and Information for All Program.
- Promoting pluralism, gender equality and cultural diversity in the media
- Promoting Internet Universality and its principles, that the Internet should be (I) human Rights-based, (ii) Open, (iii) Accessible to all, and (iv) nurtured by Multi-stakeholder participation (summarized as the acronym R.O.A.M.)
- Generating knowledge through publications such as World Trends in Freedom of Expression and Media Development, the UNESCO Series on Internet Freedom, and the Media Development Indicators, as well as other indicator-based studies.
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, 8 September each year
- International Year for the Culture of Peace, 2000
- Health Education for Behavior Change program in partnership with the Ministry of Education of Kenya which was financially supported by the Government of Azerbaijan to promote health education among 10-19-year-old young people who live in informal camp in Kibera, Nairobi. The project was carried out between September 2014 – December 2016.
- World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development 21 May each year
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 decentralized 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, Focusing Resources on Effective School Health
- OANA, 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 program supporting taxonomy, and biological and cultural diversity of medicinal and ornamental plants, and their protection against environmental pollution
- The UNESCO Collection of Representative Works, translating works of world literature both to and from multiple languages, from 1948 to 2005
- GoUNESCO, an umbrella of initiatives to make heritage fun supported by UNESCO, New Delhi Office.
- UNESCO-CHIC BIRUP, UNESCO-CHIC Group (China) Biosphere Rural and Urbanization Program.
The UNESCO transparency portal has been designed to enable public access to information regarding the Organization’s activities, such as its aggregate budget for a biennium, as well as links to relevant programmatic and financial documents. These two distinct sets of information are published on the IATI registry, respectively based on the IATI Activity Standard and the IATI Organization Standard.
There have been proposals to establish two new UNESCO lists. The first proposed list will focus on movable cultural heritage such as artifacts, paintings, and bio facts. The list may include cultural objects, such as the Jōmon Venus of Japan, the Mona Lisa of France, the Gebel el-Arak Knife of Egypt, The Ninth Wave of Russia, the Seated Woman of Çatalhöyük of Turkey, the David (Michelangelo) of Italy, the Mathura Herakles of India, the Manunggul Jar of the Philippines, the Crown of Baekje of South Korea, The Hay Wain of the United Kingdom and the Benin Bronzes of Nigeria. The second proposed list will focus on the world’s living species, such as the komodo dragon of Indonesia, the panda of China, the bald eagle of North American countries, the aye-aye of Madagascar, the Asiatic lion of India, the kākāpō of New Zealand, and the mountain tapir of Colombia, Ecuador and Peru.
Pakistan’s Significant Role in UNESCO:
Pakistan is an active member of UNESCO and has been contributing a lot since beginning. Due to its significant contributions, Pakistan enjoys a good reputation among the member states and acknowledged.
Pakistan was re-elected yesterday to the Executive Board of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) for the term 2023-2027.
Pakistan’s re-election is a testament to its longstanding support for and constructive role at the United Nations. Pakistan values the ever-relevant and crucial role of UNESCO as a universal forum to promote the intellectual and moral solidarity of mankind and advancement of global peace and development through education, science, culture and communication.
During its new term on the Executive Board, Pakistan will continue to work with all Member States to strengthen UNESCO’s mandate, advance our shared goals and contribute to the policymaking, development of norms, advancement of global priorities, and effective oversight of programs and activities of the Organization.
As an ardent advocate of multilateralism, Pakistan will endeavor to strengthen our collective efforts at UNESCO, including by building bridges across regions and forging consensus on key issues for tangible outcomes and impact on ground. As a partner, Pakistan will continue to extend proactive support for the SIDS Operational Strategy and Global Priorities – Africa and Gender Equality.
Pakistan has been elected, with overwhelming support, as Vice Chair of UNESCO Executive Board for the term 2023-2025 from the Asia Pacific Group. The elections were held at the 218th Session of the UNESCO Executive Board held in Paris today.
Pakistan is grateful to members of the Executive Board and all member states of UNESCO for their overwhelming support and the trust reposed in its candidature.
Pakistan will carry out its responsibilities with a deep sense of commitment, credibility, honest dialogue and mutual respect. As an ardent advocate of cooperative multilateralism, Pakistan will continue to work together with all members states to defend shared values and the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, and to mobilize collective efforts to promote our common objectives at UNESCO. These would include Africa and Gender Equality and the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) Operational Strategy.