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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Contact Details

URL: https://www.unesco.org/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/unesco/
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/unesco/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/UNESCO

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1945-11-16 London UK


Established 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 U-XU1719 - 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: H-XH0266 - Commission internationale de la coopération intellectuelle (CICI), Geneva (Switzerland) 1922-1946; H-XH2149 - International Institute of Intellectual Cooperation, Paris (France) 1925-1946; E-XE1427 - 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 H-XH0336 - 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 A-XA3375 - United Nations (UN) within F-XF1000 - United Nations System.


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.


2025-09-04 | Temuco, Chile – International Conference on UNESCO Global Geoparks

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General Conference of representatives of member states (currently 193, plus 11 associate members) meets at Paris HQ every 2 years, elects Executive Board of 58 members. Board meets twice a year at Paris HQ and also after General Conference. Secretariat in Paris. National Commissions in most member states act as liaison bodies and advise their governments on UNESCO affairs; they comprise representatives of principal interested national bodies and civil society.

/Secretariat - Headquarters/:

  • 'Director-General (DG)';
  • 'Deputy Director-General (DDG)';
  • 'Executive Office of the Director General (CAB)';
  • 'Secretariat of the Governing Bodies (GBS)';
  • 'Office of International Standards and Legal Affairs (LA)';
  • 'Office of Internatioanl Oversight (IOS)';
  • 'Ethics Office (ETH)';
  • 'Bureau of Strategic Planning (BSP)';
  • 'Division for Gender Equality (CAB/GE)';
  • 'Division of Public Information (CAB/DPI)'.
  • Education Sector (ED);
  • Natural Sciences Sector (SC);
  • Social and Human Sciences Sector (SHS);
  • Culture Sector (CLT);
  • Communication and Information Sector (CI);
  • Priority Africa and External Relations Sector (PAX);
  • Sector for Administration and Management (ADM);
  • E-XE1118 - Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC).

/UNESCO Offices/ -

/Institutes and Centres/ -

Designated International and Regional Institutes and Centres as Category 2.


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Consultative Status

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Relations with Inter-Governmental Organizations

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Relations with Non-Governmental Organizations

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Type I Classification

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Type II Classification

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Subjects *

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UN Sustainable Development Goals **

GOAL 1: No PovertyGOAL 2: Zero HungerGOAL 3: Good Health and Well-beingGOAL 4: Quality EducationGOAL 5: Gender EqualityGOAL 6: Clean Water and SanitationGOAL 7: Affordable and Clean EnergyGOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic GrowthGOAL 9: Industry, Innovation and InfrastructureGOAL 10: Reduced InequalityGOAL 11: Sustainable Cities and CommunitiesGOAL 12: Responsible Consumption and ProductionGOAL 13: Climate ActionGOAL 14: Life Below WaterGOAL 15: Life on LandGOAL 16: Peace and Justice Strong InstitutionsGOAL 17: Partnerships to achieve the Goal



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* Subject classification is derived from the organization names and aims.
** UN SDGs are linked to the subject classification.

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