UNESCO

Last updated

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
AbbreviationUNESCO
Formation16 November 1945;77 years ago (1945-11-16)
Type United Nations specialised agency
Legal statusActive
Headquarters World Heritage Centre
Paris, France
Head
Audrey Azoulay
(Director-General)
Parent organization
United Nations Economic and Social Council
Website unesco.org
A coloured voting box.svg   Politicsportal

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization [lower-alpha 1] is a specialised agency of the United Nations (UN) aimed at promoting world peace and security through international cooperation in education, arts, sciences and culture. [2] [3] It has 193 member states and 12 associate members, [4] as well as partners in the non-governmental, intergovernmental and private sector. [5] Headquartered at the World Heritage Centre in Paris, France, UNESCO has 53 regional field offices [6] and 199 national commissions [7] that facilitate its global mandate.

Contents

UNESCO was founded in 1945 as the successor to the League of Nations's International Committee on Intellectual Cooperation. [8] Its constitution establishes the agency's goals, governing structure, and operating framework. [9] UNESCO's founding mission, which was shaped by the Second World War, is to advance peace, sustainable development and human rights by facilitating collaboration and dialogue among nations. [9] It pursues this objective through five major programme areas: education, natural sciences, social/human sciences, culture and communication/information. UNESCO sponsors projects that improve literacy, provide technical training and education, advance science, protect independent media and press freedom, preserve regional and cultural history, and promote cultural diversity. [10] [11] [12]

As a focal point for world culture and science, UNESCO's activities have broadened over the years; it assists in the translation and dissemination of world literature, helps establish and secure World Heritage Sites of cultural and natural importance, works to bridge the worldwide digital divide, and creates inclusive knowledge societies through information and communication. [13] UNESCO has launched several initiatives and global movements, such as Education For All, to further advance its core objectives.

UNESCO is governed by the General Conference, composed of member states and associate members, which meets biannually to set the agency's programmes and the budget. It also elects members of the executive board, which manages UNESCO's work, and appoints every four years a Director-General, who serves as UNESCO's chief administrator. UNESCO is a member of the United Nations Sustainable Development Group, [14] a coalition of UN agencies and organisations aimed at fulfilling the Sustainable Development Goals.

History

Origins

UNESCO and its mandate for international cooperation can be traced back to a League of Nations resolution on 21 September 1921, to elect a Commission to study the feasibility of having nations freely share cultural, educational and scientific achievements. [15] [16] This new body, the International Committee on Intellectual Cooperation (ICIC), was created in 1922 [17] and counted such figures as Henri Bergson, Albert Einstein, Marie Curie, Robert A. Millikan, and Gonzague de Reynold among its members (being thus a small commission of the League of Nations essentially centred on Western Europe [18] ). The International Institute for Intellectual Cooperation (IIIC) was then created in Paris in September 1924, to act as the executing agency for the ICIC. [19] However, the onset of World War II largely interrupted the work of these predecessor organizations. [20] As for private initiatives, the International Bureau of Education (IBE) began to work as a non-governmental organization in the service of international educational development since December 1925 [21] and joined UNESCO in 2021, after having established a joint commission in 1952.[ citation needed ]

Creation

Flag of UNESCO Flag of UNESCO.svg
Flag of UNESCO

After the signing of the Atlantic Charter and the Declaration of the United Nations, the Conference of Allied Ministers of Education (CAME) began meetings in London which continued from 16 November 1942 to 5 December 1945. On 30 October 1943, the necessity for an international organization was expressed in the Moscow Declaration, agreed upon by China, the United Kingdom, the United States and the USSR. This was followed by the Dumbarton Oaks Conference proposals of 9 October 1944. Upon the proposal of CAME and in accordance with the recommendations of the United Nations Conference on International Organization (UNCIO), held in San Francisco in April–June 1945, a United Nations Conference for the establishment of an educational and cultural organization (ECO/CONF) was convened in London 1–16 November 1945 with 44 governments represented. The idea of UNESCO was largely developed by Rab Butler, the Minister of Education for the United Kingdom, who had a great deal of influence in its development. [22] At the ECO/CONF, the Constitution of UNESCO was introduced and signed by 37 countries, and a Preparatory Commission was established. [23] The Preparatory Commission operated between 16 November 1945, and 4 November 1946—the date when UNESCO's Constitution came into force with the deposit of the twentieth ratification by a member state. [24]

The first General Conference took place from 19 November to 10 December 1946, and elected Dr. Julian Huxley to Director-General. [25] U.S. Colonel, university president and civil rights advocate Dr. Blake R. Van Leer joined as a member as well. [26] The Constitution was amended in November 1954 when the General Conference resolved that members of the executive board would be representatives of the governments of the States of which they are nationals and would not, as before, act in their personal capacity. [27] This change in governance distinguished UNESCO from its predecessor, the ICIC, in how member states would work together in the organization's fields of competence. As member states worked together over time to realize UNESCO's mandate, political and historical factors have shaped the organization's operations in particular during the Cold War, the decolonization process, and the dissolution of the USSR. [28] [29]

Development

Among the major achievements of the organization is its work against racism, for example through influential statements on race starting with a declaration of anthropologists (among them was Claude Lévi-Strauss) and other scientists in 1950 and concluding with the 1978 Declaration on Race and Racial Prejudice.[ citation needed ]

In 1956, the Republic of South Africa withdrew from UNESCO saying that some of the organization's publications amounted to "interference" in the country's "racial problems".[ citation needed ] South Africa rejoined the organization in 1994 under the leadership of Nelson Mandela. [30] [31]

UNESCO's early work in the field of education included the pilot project on fundamental education in the Marbial Valley, Haiti, started in 1947. This project was followed by expert missions to other countries, including, for example, a mission to Afghanistan in 1949.[ citation needed ] In 1948, UNESCO recommended that Member States should make free primary education compulsory and universal.[ citation needed ] In 1990, the World Conference on Education for All, in Jomtien, Thailand, launched a global movement to provide basic education for all children, youths and adults.[ citation needed ] Ten years later, the 2000 World Education Forum held in Dakar, Senegal, led member governments to commit to achieving basic education for all by 2015.[ citation needed ]

UNESCO's early activities in culture included the International Campaign to Save the Monuments of Nubia, launched in 1960.[ citation needed ] The purpose of the campaign was to move the Great Temple of Abu Simbel to keep it from being swamped by the Nile after the construction of the Aswan Dam. During the 20-year campaign, 22 monuments and architectural complexes were relocated. This was the first and largest in a series of campaigns including Mohenjo-daro (Pakistan), Fes (Morocco), Kathmandu (Nepal), Borobudur (Indonesia) and the Acropolis of Athens (Greece). [32] The organization's work on heritage led to the adoption, in 1972, of the Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage.[ citation needed ] The World Heritage Committee was established in 1976 and the first sites inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1978.[ citation needed ] Since then important legal instruments on cultural heritage and diversity have been adopted by UNESCO member states in 2003 (Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage [ citation needed ]) and 2005 (Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions [ citation needed ]).

An intergovernmental meeting of UNESCO in Paris in December 1951 led to the creation of the European Council for Nuclear Research, which was responsible for establishing the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN)[ citation needed ] later on, in 1954. [33]

Arid Zone programming, 1948–1966, is another example of an early major UNESCO project in the field of natural sciences.[ citation needed ]

In 1968, UNESCO organized the first intergovernmental conference aimed at reconciling the environment and development, a problem that continues to be addressed in the field of sustainable development. The main outcome of the 1968 conference was the creation of UNESCO's Man and the Biosphere Programme. [34]

UNESCO has been credited with the diffusion of national science bureaucracies. [35]

In the field of communication, the "free flow of ideas by word and image" has been in UNESCO's constitution from its beginnings, following the experience of the Second World War when control of information was a factor in indoctrinating populations for aggression.[ citation needed ] In the years immediately following World War II, efforts were concentrated on reconstruction and on the identification of needs for means of mass communication around the world. UNESCO started organizing training and education for journalists in the 1950s.[ citation needed ] In response to calls for a "New World Information and Communication Order" in the late 1970s, UNESCO established the International Commission for the Study of Communication Problems,[ citation needed ] which produced the 1980 MacBride report (named after the chair of the commission, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate Seán MacBride).[ citation needed ] The same year, UNESCO created the International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC), a multilateral forum designed to promote media development in developing countries.[ citation needed ] In 1991, UNESCO's General Conference endorsed the Windhoek Declaration on media independence and pluralism, which led the UN General Assembly to declare the date of its adoption, 3 May, as World Press Freedom Day.[ citation needed ] Since 1997, UNESCO has awarded the UNESCO / Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize every 3 May.[ citation needed ]

21st century

UNESCO admitted Palestine as a member in 2011. [36] [37]

Laws passed in the United States after Palestine applied for UNESCO and WHO membership in April 1989 [38] [39] mean that the US cannot contribute financially to any UN organisation that accepts Palestine as a full member. [40] [41] As a result, the US withdrew its funding, which had accounted for about 22% of UNESCO's budget. [42] Israel also reacted to Palestine's admittance to UNESCO by freezing Israeli payments to UNESCO and imposing sanctions on the Palestinian Authority, [43] stating that Palestine's admittance would be detrimental "to potential peace talks". [44] Two years after they stopped paying their dues to UNESCO, the US and Israel lost UNESCO voting rights in 2013 without losing the right to be elected; thus, the US was elected as a member of the executive board for the period 2016–19. [45] In 2019, Israel left UNESCO after 69 years of membership, with Israel's ambassador to the UN Danny Danon writing: "UNESCO is the body that continually rewrites history, including by erasing the Jewish connection to Jerusalem... it is corrupted and manipulated by Israel's enemies... we are not going to be a member of an organisation that deliberately acts against us". [46]

Activities

UNESCO offices in Brasilia UNESCO Brasilia Office.jpg
UNESCO offices in Brasília

UNESCO implements its activities through the five programme areas: education, natural sciences, social and human sciences, culture, and communication and information.

UNESCO does not accredit institutions of higher learning. [47]

The UNESCO transparency portal [67] 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 biofacts. 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 kakapo of New Zealand, and the mountain tapir of Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. [68] [69]

Media

UNESCO and its specialized institutions issue a number of magazines.

The UNESCO Courier magazine states its mission to "promote UNESCO's ideals, maintain a platform for the dialogue between cultures and provide a forum for international debate". Since March 2006 it has been available online, with limited printed issues. Its articles express the opinions of the authors which are not necessarily the opinions of UNESCO. There was a hiatus in publishing between 2012 and 2017. [70]

In 1950, UNESCO initiated the quarterly review Impact of Science on Society (also known as Impact) to discuss the influence of science on society. The journal ceased publication in 1992. [71] UNESCO also published Museum International Quarterly from the year 1948.

Official UNESCO NGOs

UNESCO has official relations with 322 international non-governmental organizations (NGOs). [72] Most of these are what UNESCO calls "operational"; a select few are "formal". [73] The highest form of affiliation to UNESCO is "formal associate", and the 22 NGOs [74] with formal associate (ASC) relations occupying offices at UNESCO are:

AbbrOrganization
IB International Baccalaureate
CCIVS Co-ordinating Committee for International Voluntary Service
CIPSH International Council for Philosophy and Humanistic Studies (Conseil International de Philosophie et des Sciences Humaines; publishes Diogenes)
CIOFF International Council of Organizations of Folklore Festivals and Folk Arts (Conseil International des Organisations de Festivals de Folklore et d'Arts Traditionnels)
EI Education International
IAU International Association of Universities
IFTC International Council for Film, Television and Audiovisual Communication
ICOM International Council of Museums
ICSSPE International Council of Sport Science and Physical Education
ICA International Council on Archives
ICOMOS International Council on Monuments and Sites
IFJ International Federation of Journalists
IFLA International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions
IFPAInternational Federation of Poetry Associations
IMC International Music Council
IPA International Police Association
INSULAInternational Scientific Council for Island Development
ISC International Science Council (formerly ICSU and ISSC)
ITI International Theatre Institute
IUCN International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources
IUTAOInternational Union of Technical Associations and Organizations
UIA Union of International Associations
WAN World Association of Newspapers
WFEO World Federation of Engineering Organizations
WFUCAWorld Federation of UNESCO Clubs, Centres and Associations
UNESCO Institute for Water Education in Delft Unesco-IHE.JPG
UNESCO Institute for Water Education in Delft

Institutes and centres

The institutes are specialized departments of the organization that support UNESCO's programme, providing specialized support for cluster and national offices.

AbbrNameLocation
IBE International Bureau of Education Geneva [75]
UIL UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning Hamburg [76]
IIEP UNESCO International Institute for Educational Planning Paris (headquarters) and Buenos Aires and Dakar (regional offices) [77]
IITEUNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in EducationMoscow [78]
IICBAUNESCO International Institute for Capacity Building in Africa Addis Ababa [79]
IESALCUNESCO International Institute for Higher Education in Latin America and the Caribbean Caracas [80]
MGIEP Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development New Delhi [81]
UNESCO-UNEVOC UNESCO-UNEVOC International Centre for Technical and Vocational Education and Training Bonn [82]
ICWRGCInternational Centre for Water Resources and Global Change Koblenz [83]
IHE IHE-Delft Institute for Water Education Delft [84]
ICTP International Centre for Theoretical Physics Trieste [85]
UIS UNESCO Institute for Statistics Montreal [86]

Prizes

UNESCO awards 22 prizes [87] in education, science, culture and peace:

Inactive prizes

International Days observed at UNESCO

International Days observed at UNESCO is provided in the table given below: [88]

DateName
14 January World Logic Day
24 January International Day of Education
27 January International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust
11 February International Day of Women and Girls in Science
13 February World Radio Day
21 February International Mother Language Day
8 March International Women's Day
14 March International Day of Mathematics
20 March International Francophonie Day
21 MarchInternational Day of Nowruz
21 March World Poetry Day
21 March International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
22 March World Water Day
5 April International Day of Conscience
6 April International Day of Sport for Development and Peace
15 April World Art Day
23 April World Book and Copyright Day
30 April International Jazz Day
3 May World Press Freedom Day
5 May African World Heritage Day
5 May World Portuguese Language Day
16 May International Day of Light
21 May World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development
22 May International Day for Biological Diversity
5 June World Environment Day
8 June World Oceans Day
17 June World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought
18 July Nelson Mandela International Day
9 August International Day of the World's Indigenous People
12 August International Youth Day
23 August International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition
8 September International Literacy Day
15 September International Day of Democracy
21 September International Day of Peace
28 September International Day for the Universal Access to Information
5 October World Teachers' Day
11 October International Day of the Girl Child
13 October International Day for Disaster Reduction
17 October International Day for the Eradication of Poverty
24 October United Nations Day
27 October World Day for Audiovisual Heritage
2 November International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists [89]
5 November World Day of Romani Language
10 November World Science Day for Peace and Development
3rd Thursday in November World Philosophy Day
16 November International Day for Tolerance
25 November International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women
29 November International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People
1 December World AIDS Day
3 December International Day of Persons with Disabilities
10 December Human Rights Day
18 December International Migrants Day
18 December World Arabic Language Day

Member states

As of January 2019, UNESCO has 193 member states and 11 associate members. [90] Some members are not independent states and some members have additional National Organizing Committees from some of their dependent territories. [91] UNESCO state parties are the United Nations member states (except Liechtenstein, United States [92] and Israel [93] ), as well as Cook Islands, Niue and Palestine. [94] [95] The United States and Israel left UNESCO on 31 December 2018. [96]

Governing bodies

Director-General

As of 2022, there have been 11 Directors-General of UNESCO since its inception nine men and two women. The 11 Directors-General of UNESCO have come from six regions within the organization: West Europe (5), Central America (1), North America (2), West Africa (1), East Asia (1), and East Europe (1).

To date, there has been no elected Director-General from the remaining ten regions within UNESCO: Southeast Asia, South Asia, Central and North Asia, Middle East, North Africa, East Africa, Central Africa, South Africa, Australia-Oceania, and South America.

The list of the Directors-General of UNESCO since its establishment in 1946 is as follows: [97]

ImageNameCountryTerm
Julian Huxley 1-2.jpg Julian Huxley Flag of the United Kingdom.svg  United Kingdom 1946–1948
JAIME TORRES BODET 1902, ESCRITOR, POETA Y POLITICO MEXICANO (13451293993).jpg Jaime Torres Bodet Flag of Mexico (1934-1968).svg  Mexico 1948–1952
Captura de Pantalla 2022-06-03 a las 23.24.45.png John Wilkinson Taylor Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg  United States acting 1952–1953
Luther Harris Evans, Diretor-geral da United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).tif Luther Evans Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg  United States 1953–1958
Contemporary history, Italy - UNESCO - PHOTO0000002707 0001.tiff Vittorino Veronese Flag of Italy.svg  Italy 1958–1961
Rene Maheu (France), UNESCO Director General (1961-1974).JPG René Maheu Flag of France.svg  France acting 1961; 1961–1974
Unesco history, M'Bow - UNESCO - PHOTO0000002701 0001.tiff Amadou-Mahtar M'Bow Flag of Senegal.svg  Senegal 1974–1987
Federico Mayor Zaragoza 1988 (cropped).jpg Federico Mayor Zaragoza Flag of Spain.svg  Spain 1987–1999
Matsuura Koichiro 1-2.jpg Koïchiro Matsuura Flag of Japan.svg  Japan 1999–2009
Irina Bokova crop.jpg Irina Bokova Flag of Bulgaria.svg  Bulgaria 2009–2017
Didier Plowy - Audrey Azoulay (cropped).jpg Audrey Azoulay Flag of France.svg  France 2017–Incumbent

General Conference

This is the list of the sessions of the UNESCO General Conference held since 1946: [98]

SessionLocationYearChaired byfrom
1stParis1946 Léon Blum Flag of France.svg  France
2nd Mexico City 1947 Manuel Gual Vidal Flag of Mexico.svg  Mexico
3rd Beirut 1948Hamid Bey FrangieFlag of Lebanon.svg  Lebanon
1st extraordinaryParis1948
4thParis1949 Edward Ronald Walker Flag of Australia (converted).svg  Australia
5th Florence 1950 Stefano Jacini Flag of Italy.svg  Italy
6thParis1951 Howland H. Sargeant Flag of the United States.svg  United States
7thParis1952 Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan Flag of India.svg  India
2nd extraordinaryParis1953
8th Montevideo 1954Justino Zavala MunizFlag of Uruguay.svg  Uruguay
9thNew Delhi1956 Abul Kalam Azad Flag of India.svg  India
10thParis1958 Jean Berthoin Flag of France.svg  France
11thParis1960Akale-Work Abte-WoldFlag of Ethiopia.svg  Ethiopia
12thParis1962Paulo de Berrêdo CarneiroFlag of Brazil.svg  Brazil
13thParis1964 Norair Sisakian Flag of the Soviet Union.svg  Soviet Union
14thParis1966Bedrettin TuncelFlag of Turkey.svg  Turkey
15thParis1968 William Eteki Mboumoua Flag of Cameroon.svg  Cameroon
16thParis1970Atilio Dell'Oro MainiFlag of Argentina.svg  Argentina
17thParis1972Toru HaguiwaraFlag of Japan.svg  Japan
3rd extraordinaryParis1973
18thParis1974Magda JóborúFlag of Hungary.svg  Hungary
19th Nairobi 1976Taaita ToweettFlag of Kenya.svg  Kenya
20thParis1978Napoléon LeBlancFlag of Canada (Pantone).svg  Canada
21st Belgrade 1980Ivo MarganFlag of Yugoslavia (1946-1992).svg  Yugoslavia
4th extraordinaryParis1982
22ndParis1983Saïd TellFlag of Jordan.svg  Jordan
23rd Sofia 1985 Nikolai Todorov Flag of Bulgaria (1967-1971).svg  Bulgaria
24thParis1987Guillermo Putzeys AlvarezFlag of Guatemala.svg  Guatemala
25thParis1989 Anwar Ibrahim Flag of Malaysia.svg  Malaysia
26thParis1991 Bethwell Allan Ogot Flag of Kenya.svg  Kenya
27thParis1993Ahmed Saleh SayyadFlag of Yemen.svg  Yemen
28thParis1995Torben KroghFlag of Denmark.svg  Denmark
29thParis1997 Eduardo Portella Flag of Brazil.svg  Brazil
30thParis1999 Jaroslava Moserová Flag of the Czech Republic.svg  Czech Republic
31stParis2001 Ahmad Jalali Flag of Iran.svg  Iran
32ndParis2003 Michael Omolewa Flag of Nigeria.svg  Nigeria
33rdParis2005 Musa Bin Jaafar Bin Hassan Flag of Oman.svg  Oman
34thParis2007 Georgios Anastassopoulos Flag of Greece.svg  Greece
35thParis2009Davidson HepburnFlag of the Bahamas.svg  Bahamas
36thParis2011 Katalin Bogyay Flag of Hungary.svg  Hungary
37th [99] Paris2013 Hao Ping Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg  China
38thParis2015Stanley Mutumba Simataa [100] Flag of Namibia.svg  Namibia
39thParis2017Zohour Alaoui [101] Flag of Morocco.svg  Morocco
40thParis2019

Ahmet Altay Cengizer [102]

Flag of Turkey.svg  Turkey
41st [103] Paris2021Santiago Irazabal MourãoFlag of Brazil.svg  Brazil

Executive Board

TermGroup I
(9 seats)
Group II
(7 seats)
Group III
(10 seats)
Group IV
(12 seats)
Group V(a)
(13 seats)
Group V(b)
(7 seats)
2012–2015

Flag of Austria.svg  Austria
Flag of France.svg  France
Flag of Italy.svg  Italy
Flag of India.svg  India
Flag of Spain.svg  Spain
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg  United Kingdom
Flag of the United States.svg  United States

Flag of the Czech Republic.svg  Czech Republic
Flag of Montenegro.svg  Montenegro
Flag of North Macedonia.svg  North Macedonia
Flag of Russia.svg  Russia

Flag of Brazil.svg  Brazil
Flag of Cuba.svg  Cuba
Flag of Ecuador.svg  Ecuador
Flag of Mexico.svg  Mexico

Flag of Afghanistan (2004-2021).svg  Afghanistan
Flag of Indonesia.svg  Indonesia
Flag of Pakistan.svg  Pakistan
Flag of Papua New Guinea.svg  Papua New Guinea
Flag of South Korea.svg  South Korea
Flag of Thailand.svg  Thailand

Flag of Angola.svg  Angola
Flag of Ethiopia.svg  Ethiopia
Flag of Gabon.svg  Gabon
Flag of The Gambia.svg  Gambia
Flag of Malawi.svg  Malawi
Flag of Mali.svg  Mali
Flag of Namibia.svg  Namibia
Flag of Nigeria.svg  Nigeria

Flag of Jordan.svg  Jordan
Flag of Tunisia.svg  Tunisia
Flag of the United Arab Emirates.svg  United Arab Emirates

2014–2017 [104]

Flag of Germany.svg  Germany
Flag of the Netherlands.svg  Netherlands
Flag of Sweden.svg  Sweden

Flag of Albania.svg  Albania
Flag of Estonia.svg  Estonia
Flag of Ukraine.svg  Ukraine

Flag of Argentina.svg  Argentina
Flag of Belize.svg  Belize
Flag of the Dominican Republic.svg  Dominican Republic
Flag of El Salvador.svg  El Salvador
Flag of Saint Kitts and Nevis.svg  Saint Kitts and Nevis
Flag of Trinidad and Tobago.svg  Trinidad and Tobago

Flag of Bangladesh.svg  Bangladesh
Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg  China
Flag of India.svg  India
Flag of Japan.svg  Japan
Flag of Nepal.svg    Nepal
Flag of Turkmenistan.svg  Turkmenistan

Flag of Chad.svg  Chad
Flag of Guinea.svg  Guinea
Flag of Mauritius.svg  Mauritius
Flag of Mozambique.svg  Mozambique
Flag of Togo.svg  Togo
Flag of Uganda.svg  Uganda

Flag of Algeria.svg  Algeria
Flag of Egypt.svg  Egypt
Flag of Kuwait.svg  Kuwait
Flag of Morocco.svg  Morocco

2017–2019 [105]

Flag of France.svg  France
Flag of Greece.svg  Greece
Flag of Italy.svg  Italy
Flag of Spain.svg  Spain
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg  United Kingdom

Flag of Lithuania.svg  Lithuania
Flag of Russia.svg  Russia
Flag of Serbia.svg  Serbia
Flag of Slovenia.svg  Slovenia

Flag of Brazil.svg  Brazil
Flag of Haiti.svg  Haiti
Flag of Mexico.svg  Mexico
Flag of Nicaragua.svg  Nicaragua
Flag of Paraguay.svg  Paraguay

Flag of India.svg  India
Flag of Iran.svg  Iran
Flag of Malaysia.svg  Malaysia
Flag of Pakistan.svg  Pakistan
Flag of South Korea.svg  South Korea
Flag of Sri Lanka.svg  Sri Lanka
Flag of Vietnam.svg  Vietnam

Flag of Cameroon.svg  Cameroon
Flag of Cote d'Ivoire.svg  Ivory Coast
Flag of Ghana.svg  Ghana
Flag of Kenya.svg  Kenya
Flag of Nigeria.svg  Nigeria
Flag of Senegal.svg  Senegal
Flag of South Africa.svg  South Africa

Flag of Lebanon.svg  Lebanon
Flag of Oman.svg  Oman
Flag of Qatar.svg  Qatar
Flag of Sudan.svg  Sudan

2019–2023 [106]

Flag of France.svg  France
Flag of Germany.svg  Germany
Flag of Italy.svg  Italy
Flag of the Netherlands.svg  Netherlands
Flag of Spain.svg  Spain
Flag of Switzerland (Pantone).svg  Switzerland

Flag of Hungary.svg  Hungary
Flag of Poland.svg  Poland
Flag of Russia.svg  Russia
Flag of Serbia.svg  Serbia

Flag of Argentina.svg  Argentina
Flag of Brazil.svg  Brazil
Flag of the Dominican Republic.svg  Dominican Republic
Flag of Uruguay.svg  Uruguay

Flag of Afghanistan (2004-2021).svg  Afghanistan
Flag of Kyrgyzstan.svg  Kyrgyzstan
Flag of the Philippines.svg  Philippines
Flag of Pakistan.svg  Pakistan
Flag of South Korea.svg  South Korea
Flag of Thailand.svg  Thailand

Flag of Benin.svg  Benin
Flag of the Republic of the Congo.svg  Congo
Flag of Guinea.svg  Guinea
Flag of Ghana.svg  Ghana
Flag of Kenya.svg  Kenya
Flag of Namibia.svg  Namibia
Flag of Senegal.svg  Senegal
Flag of Togo.svg  Togo

Flag of Saudi Arabia.svg  Saudi Arabia
Flag of the United Arab Emirates.svg  UAE
Flag of Tunisia.svg  Tunisia

Offices and headquarters

The Garden of Peace at UNESCO headquarters April 2010, UNESCO Headquarters in Paris - The Garden of Peace (or Japanese Garden) in Spring.jpg
The Garden of Peace at UNESCO headquarters

The UNESCO headquarters, the World Heritage Centre, is located at Place de Fontenoy in Paris, France. Its architect was Marcel Breuer. [107] It includes a Garden of Peace which was donated by the Government of Japan. [108] This garden was designed by American-Japanese sculptor artist Isamu Noguchi in 1958 and installed by Japanese gardener Toemon Sano. In 1994–1995, in memory of the 50th anniversary of UNESCO, a meditation room was built by Tadao Ando. [109]

UNESCO's field offices across the globe are categorized into four primary office types based upon their function and geographic coverage: cluster offices, national offices, regional bureaus and liaison offices.

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. [110]

Africa

Arab States

Asia and Pacific

Europe and North America

Latin America and the Caribbean

Carondelet Palace, Presidential Palace - with changing of the guards. The Historic Center of Quito, Ecuador, is one of the largest, least-altered and best-preserved historic centres in the Americas. This centre was, together with the historic centre of Krakow in Poland, the first to be declared World Heritage Site by UNESCO on 18 September 1978. Carondolete en el cambio de guardia.jpg
Carondelet Palace, Presidential Palace – with changing of the guards. The Historic Center of Quito, Ecuador, is one of the largest, least-altered and best-preserved historic centres in the Americas. This centre was, together with the historic centre of Kraków in Poland, the first to be declared World Heritage Site by UNESCO on 18 September 1978.

Partner Organisations

Controversies

New World Information and Communication Order

UNESCO has been the centre 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 as a platform for communists and Third World dictators to attack the West, in contrast to accusations made by the USSR in the late 1940s and early 1950s. [114] In 1984, the United States withheld its contributions and withdrew from the organization in protest, followed by the United Kingdom in 1985. [115] Singapore withdrew also at the end of 1985, citing rising membership fees. [116] Following a change of government in 1997, the UK rejoined. The United States rejoined in 2003, followed by Singapore on 8 October 2007. [117]

Israel

Israel was admitted to UNESCO in 1949, one year after its creation. Israel has maintained its membership since 1949. In 2010, Israel designated the Cave of the Patriarchs, Hebron and Rachel's Tomb, Bethlehem as National Heritage Sites and announced restoration work, prompting criticism from the Obama administration and protests from Palestinians. [118] In October 2010, UNESCO's executive board voted to declare the sites as "al-Haram al-Ibrahimi/Tomb of the Patriarchs" and "Bilal bin Rabah Mosque/Rachel's Tomb" and stated that they were "an integral part of the occupied Palestinian Territories" and any unilateral Israeli action was a violation of international law. [119] UNESCO described the sites as significant to "people of the Muslim, Christian and Jewish traditions", and accused Israel of highlighting only the Jewish character of the sites. [120] Israel in turn accused UNESCO of "detach[ing] the Nation of Israel from its heritage", and accused it of being politically motivated. [121] The Rabbi of the Western Wall said that Rachel's tomb had not previously been declared a holy Muslim site. [122] Israel partially suspended ties with UNESCO. Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon declared that the resolution was a "part of Palestinian escalation". Zevulun Orlev, chairman of the Knesset Education and Culture Committee, referred to the resolutions as an attempt to undermine the mission of UNESCO as a scientific and cultural organization that promotes cooperation throughout the world. [123] [124]

On 28 June 2011, UNESCO's World Heritage Committee, at Jordan's insistence, censured[ clarification needed ] Israel's decision to demolish and rebuild the Mughrabi Gate Bridge in Jerusalem for safety reasons. Israel stated that Jordan had signed an agreement with Israel stipulating that the existing bridge must be dismantled for safety reasons; Jordan disputed the agreement, saying that it was only signed under U.S. pressure. Israel was also unable to address the UNESCO committee over objections from Egypt. [125]

In January 2014, days before it was scheduled to open, UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova, "indefinitely postponed" and effectively cancelled an exhibit created by the Simon Wiesenthal Centre entitled "The People, The Book, The Land: The 3,500-year relationship between the Jewish people and the Land of Israel". The event was scheduled to run from 21 January through 30 January in Paris. Bokova cancelled the event after representatives of Arab states at UNESCO argued that its display would "harm the peace process". [126] The author of the exhibition, Professor Robert Wistrich of the Hebrew University's Vidal Sassoon International Centre for the Study of Anti-Semitism, called the cancellation an "appalling act", and characterized Bokova's decision as "an arbitrary act of total cynicism and, really, contempt for the Jewish people and its history". UNESCO amended the decision to cancel the exhibit within the year, and it quickly achieved popularity and was viewed as a great success. [127]

On 1 January 2019, Israel formally left UNESCO in pursuance of the US withdrawal over the perceived continuous anti-Israel bias.[ citation needed ]

Occupied Palestine Resolution

On 13 October 2016, UNESCO passed a resolution on East Jerusalem that condemned Israel for "aggressions" by Israeli police and soldiers and "illegal measures" against the freedom of worship and Muslims' access to their holy sites, while also recognizing Israel as the occupying power. Palestinian leaders welcomed the decision. [128] While the text acknowledged the "importance of the Old City of Jerusalem and its walls for the three monotheistic religions", it referred to the sacred hilltop compound in Jerusalem's Old City only by its Muslim name "Al-Haram al-Sharif", Arabic for Noble Sanctuary. In response, Israel denounced the UNESCO resolution for its omission of the words "Temple Mount" or "Har HaBayit", stating that it denies Jewish ties to the key holy site. [128] [129] After receiving criticism from numerous Israeli politicians and diplomats, including Benjamin Netanyahu and Ayelet Shaked, Israel froze all ties with the organization. [130] [131] The resolution was condemned by Ban Ki-moon and the Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, who said that Judaism, Islam and Christianity have clear historical connections to Jerusalem and "to deny, conceal or erase any of the Jewish, Christian or Muslim traditions undermines the integrity of the site. [132] [133] "Al-Aqsa Mosque [or] Al-Haram al-Sharif" is also Temple Mount, whose Western Wall is the holiest place in Judaism." [134] It was also rejected by the Czech Parliament which said the resolution reflects a "hateful anti-Israel sentiment", [135] and hundreds of Italian Jews demonstrated in Rome over Italy's abstention. [135] On 26 October, UNESCO approved a reviewed version of the resolution, which also criticized Israel for its continuous "refusal to let the body's experts access Jerusalem's holy sites to determine their conservation status". [136] Despite containing some softening of language following Israeli protests over a previous version, Israel continued to denounce the text. [137] The resolution refers to the site Jews and Christians refer to as the Temple Mount, or Har HaBayit in Hebrew, only by its Arab name — a significant semantic decision also adopted by UNESCO's executive board, triggering condemnation from Israel and its allies. U.S. Ambassador Crystal Nix Hines stated: "This item should have been defeated. These politicized and one-sided resolutions are damaging the credibility of UNESCO." [138]

In October 2017, the United States and Israel announced they would withdraw from the organization, citing in-part anti-Israel bias. [139] [140]

Palestine

Palestinian youth magazine controversy

In February 2011, an article was published in a Palestinian youth magazine in which a teenage girl described one of her four role models as Adolf Hitler. In December 2011, UNESCO, which partly funded the magazine, condemned the material and subsequently withdrew support. [141]

Islamic University of Gaza controversy

In 2012, UNESCO decided to establish a chair at the Islamic University of Gaza in the field of astronomy, astrophysics, and space sciences, [142] fueling controversy and criticism. Israel bombed the school in 2008 stating that they develop and store weapons there, which Israel restated in criticizing UNESCO's move. [143] [144]

The head, Kamalain Shaath, defended UNESCO, stating that "the Islamic University is a purely academic university that is interested only in education and its development". [145] [146] [147] Israeli ambassador to UNESCO Nimrod Barkan planned to submit a letter of protest with information about the university's ties to Hamas, especially angry that this was the first Palestinian university that UNESCO chose to cooperate with. [148] The Jewish organization B'nai B'rith criticized the move as well. [149]

Listing Nanjing Massacre documents

In 2015, Japan threatened to halt funding for UNESCO over the organization's decision to include documents relating to the 1937 Nanjing massacre in the latest listing for its "Memory of the World" program. [150] In October 2016, Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida confirmed that Japan's 2016 annual funding of ¥4.4 billion had been suspended, although he denied any direct link with the Nanjing document controversy. [151]

US withdrawals

The United States withdrew from UNESCO in 1984, citing the "highly politicized" nature of the organisation, its ostensible "hostility toward the basic institutions of a free society, especially a free market and a free press", as well as its "unrestrained budgetary expansion", and poor management under then Director-General Amadou-Mahtar M'Bow of Senegal. [152]

On 19 September 1989, former U.S. Congressman Jim Leach stated before a Congressional subcommittee: [153]

The reasons for the withdrawal of the United States from UNESCO in 1984 are well-known; my view is that we overreacted to the calls of some who wanted to radicalize UNESCO, and the calls of others who wanted the United States to lead in emasculating the UN system. The fact is UNESCO is one of the least dangerous international institutions ever created. While some member countries within UNESCO attempted to push journalistic views antithetical to the values of the west, and engage in Israel bashing, UNESCO itself never adopted such radical postures. The U.S. opted for empty-chair diplomacy, after winning, not losing, the battles we engaged in… It was nuts to get out, and would be nuttier not to rejoin.

Leach concluded that the record showed Israel bashing, a call for a new world information order, money management, and arms control policy to be the impetus behind the withdrawal; he asserted that before departing from UNESCO, a withdrawal from the IAEA had been pushed on him. [153] On 1 October 2003, the U.S. rejoined UNESCO. [152]

On 12 October 2017, the United States notified UNESCO that it would again withdraw from the organization, on 31 December 2018; Israel followed suit. [154] The Department of State cited "mounting arrears at UNESCO, the need for fundamental reform in the organization, and continuing anti-Israel bias at UNESCO". [139]

The United States has not paid over $600 million in dues [155] since it stopped paying its $80 million annual UNESCO dues when Palestine became a full member in 2011. Israel and the US were among the 14 votes against the membership out of 194 member countries. [156]

Kurdish-Turkish conflict

On 25 May 2016, the noted Turkish poet and human rights activist Zülfü Livaneli resigned as Turkey's only UNESCO goodwill ambassador. He highlighted the human rights situation in Turkey and the destruction of historical Sur district of Diyarbakir, the largest city in Kurdish-majority southeast Turkey, during fighting between the Turkish army and Kurdish militants as the main reasons for his resignation. Livaneli said: "To pontificate on peace while remaining silent against such violations is a contradiction of the fundamental ideals of UNESCO." [157]

Campaigns against illicit art trading

In 2020 UNESCO stated that the size of the illicit trade in cultural property amounted to 10 billion dollars a year. A report that same year by the Rand Organisation suggested the actual market is "not likely to be larger than a few hundred million dollars each year". An expert cited by UNESCO as attributing the 10 billion figure denied it and said he had "no idea" where the figure came from. Art dealers were particularly critical of the UNESCO figure, because it amounted to 15% of the total world art market. [158]

In November 2020 part of a UNESCO advertising campaign intended to highlight international trafficking in looted artefacts had to be withdrawn, after it falsely presented a series of museum-held artworks with known provenances as recently looted objects held in private collections. The adverts claimed that a head of Buddha in the Metropolitan Museum's collection since 1930 had been looted from Kabul Museum in 2001 and then smuggled into the US art market; that a funerary monument from Palmyra that the MET had acquired in 1901 had been recently looted from the Palmyra Museum by Islamic State militants and then smuggled into the European antiquities market, and that an Ivory Coast mask with a provenance that indicates it was in the US by 1954 was looted during armed clashes in 2010–2011. After complaints from the MET, the adverts were withdrawn. [159]

Products and services

Information processing tools

UNESCO develops, maintains and disseminates, free of charge, two interrelated software packages for database management (CDS/ISIS [not to be confused with UK police software package ISIS]) and data mining/statistical analysis (IDAMS). [161]

See also

Related Research Articles

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Further reading