|The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
|Organization type||Specialized agency|
|Abbreviation||UNESCO, ЮНЕСКО ( JUNESKO )|
( General Manager ) Lee Byong-hyun ( Chairman of the Executive Board )
|Founded||November 16, 1945|
|head office||Paris , France|
|Upper organization||United Nations|
The UNESCO ( United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization ), for Austria and Switzerland Organization of the United Nations for Education, Science and Culture , in Germany Organization of the United Nations for Education, Science and Culture , is an international organization and at the same time one of the 17 legally independent specialized agencies of the United Nations . It is based in Paris ( France ). UNESCO currently has 193 member states and 11 associated members (as of November 2020).
The areas of responsibility of UNESCO include the promotion of education , science and culture as well as communication and information . Its founding treaty was signed by 37 states in London on November 16, 1945 and entered into force on November 4, 1946 after ratification by 20 states. The first general manager was Julian Huxley .
The founding states drew the following lesson from the experience of the Second World War :
“A peace based solely on political and economic agreements between governments cannot find the unanimous, lasting and sincere approval of the peoples of the world. Peace must - if it is not to fail - be anchored in the spiritual and moral solidarity of humanity. "
Further from the preamble to the Constitution of UNESCO:
"Since wars arise in the minds of people, peace must also be anchored in the minds of people."
In the field of education, UNESCO is committed above all by the year 2015 [date] worldwide Education for All ( Education For All , EFA) to achieve.To this end, 164 countries have committed themselves to achieving six educational goals. Health education on drug and AIDS prevention as well as the reconstruction of the education system in disaster and crisis areas are also part of the field of activity. UNESCO is also committed to democratic education based on human rights.
In addition, UNESCO developed the ISCED (International Standard Classification of Education), a classification for the characterization of school systems.
An important part of the work of UNESCO is the organization of interregional and international conferences on the subject of education, such as the CONFINTEA conference on adult education .
UNESCO also coordinated the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005–2014).
In the scientific field, UNESCO promotes intergovernmental cooperation in oceanography , hydrology , geology and environmental sciences with the main aim of conserving biological species and drinking water resources .
The consequences of scientific and technical advances in the life sciences have increased the need for internationally consistent values, principles and norms of bioethics . UNESCO reacted to this and in the past few years had three declarations in the field of science and human rights that are not binding under international law , each of which was unanimously adopted by the General Conference:
- Universal Declaration on the Human Genome and Human Rights (1997)
- International Declaration on Human Genetic Data (2003)
- Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights (2005)
UNESCO entrusts the Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict of 1954, the most important tool for the preservation of cultural property, and the Convention against Illicit Trafficking in Cultural Property of 1970, the tool against looting. In 2001, the Convention for the Protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage was created , filling an important gap in the geographical coverage area of the Hague Convention.
The UNESCO World Heritage Committee administers the world heritage of mankind ( World Heritage Convention of 1972), which is a special distinction with a duty of preservation. It is made up of the world cultural and natural heritage, with which UNESCO expanded its agendas to include landscapes and natural structures (according to the concept of natural monuments ). With regard to the protection of cultural property, there is a close partnership between UNESCO and Blue Shield International . Since the freedom of movement of the United Nations personnel is significantly restricted in many wars and unrest due to security concerns, Blue Shield is considered to be particularly suitable due to its structure to act flexibly and autonomously in armed conflicts. This also concerns the cooperation of UNESCO with Blue Shield to collect the protected cultural heritage , the creation of "no-strike lists", linking civilian and military structures and the training of local military personnel with respect to protection of cultural property. The Man and Biosphere (MAB) program was launched as early as 1970, emphasizing the close interweaving of cultural services and the environment. This program also includes the biosphere reserves as model regions. For this reason, UNESCO is also involved in environmental and nature conservation, and as a result of the program, important global conventions emerged, for example on biological diversity (biodiversity) .
In 1982, at the UNESCO World Cultural Conference Mondiacult in Mexico, another “expanded concept of culture” was laid down. The 126 participating states thus took note of a conceptual development; basically it was a matter of the elite, educated middle-class concept of culture and the Europe-heavy focus on cultural heritage as monuments and works of forming " Fine Arts replace" in a museum sense.
In 2005 UNESCO passed the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions - a “Magna Charta” of cultural policy. The world document heritage as part of the Memory of the World (MOW) program from 1992, which, as the “Memory of the World”, focuses on the material evidence of significant intellectual cultural achievements (old manuscripts, original documents, libraries, etc.) also belong in this context . In October 2003, the Convention for the Conservation of Intangible Cultural Heritage was adopted. The Convention entered into force on April 20, 2006. The previous program Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity protected oral forms of expression such as myths, epics and stories from 1997 to 2006, as well as performing arts, music, dance, games, customs, manual skills and other artistic forms of expression that are not part of a material work term to express.
In the area of "Communication and Information", UNESCO deals with the problems of the information society. It is committed to freedom of the press and access to information by, among other things, imparting media skills in developing countries , training journalists and setting up radio stations and news agencies.
UNESCO operates a large scientific online encyclopedia under the acronym EOLSS (Encyclopedia Life Support Systems) .
The Institute International de Coopération Intellectuelle (IICI) affiliated to the League of Nations , which started its work in Paris in January 1926, is considered to be the predecessor institution . The IICI, on the other hand, was founded because the Commission International de Coopération Intellectuelle (CICI), founded in 1922 and made up of fourteen members, including Albert Einstein , Henri Bergson , Marie Curie and Gonzague de Reynold , was not considered effective. The IICI was therefore founded as the executive body of the still existing CICI and was mainly supported by France, which also provided the majority of the staff and bore 80 percent of the institute's costs. The main tasks of the IICI were questions of copyright and intellectual property as well as translations, statistics in the cultural field and "moral disarmament", that is, the IICI was supposed to act as a complement to the League of Nations, whose main task was to secure peace through political measures such as disarmament and dispute settlement by strengthening the readiness of the peoples for peace through educational and cultural measures.
Since 1942, the British Minister of Education, Lord Butler , held talks in London with colleagues from eight European governments in exile. The aim was to rebuild education and culture in Europe after the end of the Second World War. The Soviet Union expressly refused to take part in the deliberations. Initially, bilateral agreements between the participating states were planned. However, after the founding of the United Nations had been decided, in the spring of 1944 the circle around Butler began to develop a similar structure for education and culture under the umbrella of what would later become the UN and with its headquarters in London. A first draft for the UNESCO constitution dates back to April 1944. From this point on, the United States also took part in the deliberations. The European participants were hoping for US funding for the post-war period. On the American side, they wanted to use UNESCO to shape a democratic Europe according to their own plans.
From April 1945, there were conflicts between the new French government under Charles de Gaulle and the other participants in the consultation round. The French side wanted to make their understanding of culture , based on the French Revolution , a model for UNESCO. When relatively inexperienced delegates took part in the deliberations from November 1945 after a change of government on the British side, the French pushed through Paris as the future seat of UNESCO. From this point on, science and international scientific cooperation became more important in terms of content.
Luxembourg joined UNESCO on October 27, 1947. Austria followed on August 13, 1948 as the 40th member, represented by the Permanent Representation of Austria to UNESCO . Switzerland became a member on January 18, 1949. On July 11, 1951, the Federal Republic of Germany became a member of UNESCO, represented by the Permanent Mission of the Federal Republic of Germany to UNESCO ; in November 1972 also the German Democratic Republic . To this day (as of 2017), Liechtenstein is a member of the United Nations, but not a UNESCO member state.
Increase in the number of member states
In the course of decolonization in the 1950s to 1970s, numerous newly formed states joined UNESCO, so that the number of member states rose from 59 in 1950 to 99 (1960), 125 (1970), 153 (1980) and 159 (1990). rise. In 1955 the South African Union - one of the founding states - left UNESCO because it had "become a forum for anti-South African agitators". After the end of the apartheid regime, South Africa rejoined in 1994. The Republic of China , which was also one of the founding states, was ousted from UNESCO in 1971 as a result of resolution 2758 of the UN General Assembly and the People's Republic of China was added in its place. Portugal was also not a member between 1972 and 1974, the year of the Carnation Revolution . After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, 12 former Soviet republics were added, while Russia acted as the legal successor to the Soviet Union.
UNESCO currently has 193 member states and 11 associated members (as of November 2020).
Temporary withdrawal of the United States and the United Kingdom
There have been serious differences between the United States and UNESCO on several occasions. In 1974, on the recommendation of then President Gerald Ford , the American Congress temporarily suspended payments to UNESCO after it passed a resolution recognizing the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and condemning the State of Israel . On December 29, 1983, the USA initiated the end of their UNESCO membership with a letter to the United Nations, on December 19, 1984 they announced their official withdrawal at the end of the year. The reason given was that UNESCO was “left-wing politicized” and that its finances were completely in disarray. The criticism focused heavily on the then General Secretary Amadou-Mahtar M'Bow , a Senegalese Muslim who was accused of a money-wasting patronage system. The United States actually left on December 31, 1984. 31 December 1985, also left the United Kingdom under Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher with similar arguments and concerns about the feared restriction of press freedom by the new "world information and communication" the organization, but resigned her in 1997 under Prime Minister Tony Blair again at . Singapore left at the same time as Great Britain and returned to UNESCO on October 8, 2007. The USA also rejoined UNESCO in 2003 after 19 years of absence.
Dispute over Palestine
On October 31, 2011, the UNESCO General Conference decided to accept Palestine as an official member by 107 votes to 14, with 52 abstentions . The 14 votes against came from Australia , Germany , Israel , Canada , Lithuania , the Netherlands , Palau , Panama , Samoa , the Solomon Islands , Sweden , the Czech Republic , the United States and Vanuatu . The states that abstained included Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Austria , France , Russia , China and India , among others, voted for admission . Then the United States, which at the time was funding about a fifth of the UNESCO budget, reduced its contributions to UNESCO. The reason given was that the admission of Palestine "would undermine international efforts for a just and lasting peace in the Middle East." In November 2013, the US and Israel lost their voting rights due to the payment boycott. For 2016–2017, the regular UNESCO budget totaled 653 million US dollars. Due to the suspension of contributions from the US and Israel, however, only an expenditure plan of US $ 518 million was available.
Exit of the USA and Israel
On October 18, 2016, at the request of Arab member states, UNESCO passed a resolution entitled “Safeguarding the cultural heritage of Palestine and the independent character of East Jerusalem ”, in which the importance of the old city of Jerusalem for the three monotheistic religions was emphasized. However, the Temple Mount was only referred to by its Arabic-Islamic name al-Haram al-Sharif , the much older Jewish connections and the name Zion were not mentioned. Israel has also been criticized for alleged violence against Islamic pilgrims and archaeological excavations. As a result, Israel temporarily suspended its cooperation with UNESCO.
The decision of UNESCO on July 7, 2017 to declare the old city of Hebron a Palestinian World Heritage Site led to protests by Israeli diplomats because the Jewish connections to Hebron (e.g. burial place of some patriarchs , ancient capital of Israel near Jerusalem) were concealed . On October 12, 2017, the US government and hours later the Israeli government announced its withdrawal from UNESCO on December 31, 2018. In addition to the previous disagreements, the possible election of Qatar Hamad bin Abdulasis al-Kawari , accused of anti-Semitism, was considered to be the reason becomes Director General of the organization. Kawari was then defeated in the executive council in the runoff election of the French candidate Audrey Azoulay . This was preceded by a criticism from US President Donald Trump that the United Nations had not achieved the goals it had set. Trump also criticized the in his view disproportionate share of the US in the regular expenditure of the United Nations (22%) and in the expenditure for peacekeeping measures (28%). The USA also criticized the fact that dictators such as the Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad continue to sit on a UNESCO human rights committee. Instead, the US is aiming for permanent observer status with UNESCO in order to continue to contribute its perspective and expertise to some of the organization's important activities. At the end of December 2017, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu formally submitted Israel's withdrawal from UNESCO, which took effect on December 31, 2018, together with the United States' withdrawal.
On October 13, 2017, the former French Minister of Culture Audrey Azoulay was elected as the future director of UNESCO by the UNESCO Executive Council by 30 votes to 28. Her opponent was the Qatari diplomat Hamad bin Abdulasis al-Kawari . The election was confirmed on November 10, 2017 by the General Conference of the 195 Member States of UNESCO. The term of office of the new Director General began on November 15, 2017.
|No.||Surname||Country of origin||Term of office|
|1.||Julian Huxley||United Kingdom||1946-1948|
|2.||Jaime Torres Bodet||Mexico||1948-1952|
|3.||John Wilkinson Taylor||United States||officiating 1952–1953|
|4th||Luther Evans||United States||1953-1958|
|6th||René Maheu||France||1961-1974; officiating in 1961|
|8th.||Federico Mayor Zaragoza||Spain||1987-1999|
|11.||Audrey Azoulay||France||since 2017|
Organizational structure of UNESCO
UNESCO's organs are the General Conference, the Executive Board and the Secretariat, headed by a Director General.
The General Conference is the highest decision-making and control body of UNESCO. It has held a regular meeting in Paris every two years (since 1954). One state - one vote is the principle in the General Conference - a principle that is also applied in the majority of the other specialized agencies and the General Assembly of the United Nations.
The General Conference is the decision-maker because it determines the objectives and general guidelines of the work of the organization and decides on the programs submitted to it by the Executive Board and has budgetary rights. The political objectives and the working guidelines are set, using a two-year work program presented by the Secretariat in coordination with the member states as a basis for discussion.
It also convenes international conferences of states, adopts international recommendations or conventions and discusses the reports of the member states to the organization on the measures taken to implement recommendations and conventions.
The general conference also elects the members of the Executive Board for a four-year term, which has consisted of 58 members since 1995 and which normally meets twice a year.
In parallel to the general conference, it also meets in important committees and commissions:
- General Committee (coordination of the work of the commissions, etc.)
- PRX Commission (program and budget)
- ED Commission (Education)
- SC Commission (natural sciences)
- SHS Commission (Social Sciences and Humanities)
- CLT Commission (Culture)
- CI Commission (communication and information)
- ADM Commission (personnel management and use of funds)
- Credentials Committee (eligibility)
- Nominations Committee (elections)
- Legal Committee (legal issues)
The Executive Board acts as a liaison between the General Conference and the Secretariat. He is responsible for preparing the General Conference agenda, reviewing the work program and budget, and overseeing the work program approved by the Secretariat. With regard to the composition of the Executive Board, there has been increasing nationalization over the past 50 years . Until 1954 the members were considered private persons - elected as representatives of the spiritual life who were to act on behalf of the general conference. According to a proposal by the United States and the United Kingdom, the representatives are no longer considered to be independent, but at the same time as politicians who represent the states from which they come. Since 1976, governments have also been able to remove and replace their representatives before the end of their four-year term, regardless of their consent. According to Article V, Paragraph 2 of the UNESCO Constitution, those persons are elected who have the necessary experience and skills to fulfill the administrative and executive duties of the Council.
|Term of office||Group I
Western Europe and North America
Latin America and the Caribbean
Asia and Pacific
|Group V (a)
|Group V (b)
Chair of the Executive Board
The secretariat is divided into several departments. Around 2100 employees from around 170 nations currently work at its headquarters in Paris. Another 700 employees work in the 65 branch offices around the world.
The Secretariat is headed by a Director General, who is elected by the General Conference on a proposal from the Executive Board for a term of four years. The Director attends the meetings of the General Conference, the Executive Board and the committees without voting rights and prepares reports on the activities of the Organization.
UNESCO assigns its member states to five regions:
- Arabic states
- Asia and Pacific
- Europe and North America
- Latin America and the Caribbean
Even if these regions have the designation of continents in their names, they are not purely geographically oriented, but are also based on cultural aspects. For example, states can be assigned to a UNESCO region that is named after a different continent than the one in which they are geographically located (example Israel: geographically Asia, UNESCO region Europe and North America). Even states that have areas on more than one continent are assigned as a whole to a UNESCO region (example Russia: including its Asian part completely assigned to the UNESCO region Europe and North America, as well as e.g. France with all overseas territories).
The UNESCO national commissions are not organs of UNESCO, but are already provided for by the UNESCO constitution in each member state. The states should bring their "relevant institutions dealing with issues of education, science and culture" into contact with the work of UNESCO, preferably by forming a national commission in which the government and the institutions concerned are represented. "National commissions exist in all member states, see above also in Germany ( German UNESCO Commission ), Austria ( Austrian UNESCO Commission ) and Switzerland ( Swiss UNESCO Commission ).
- International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)
- Blue Shield International (BSI)
- International Council of Museums (ICOM)
- International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS)
- International Institute of Humanitarian Law (IIHL)
Institutions, initiatives, funding programs
- UNESCO club
- Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) in Paris
- Intergovernmental Committee to Promote the Return of Cultural Property to its Countries of Origin or its Return in the Event of Unauthorized Appropriation (PRCP)
- Intergovernmental Council on Social Change Management (MOST) programs
- International Communication Development Program (IPDC) in Paris
- International Hydrological Program (IHP) in Paris
- Program Man and the Biosphere (MAB) (and biosphere reserves )
- International Bioethics Committee (IBC)
- Intergovernmental Committee on Bioethics (IGBC)
- Intergovernmental Committee on Sport and the Promotion of Physical Education (CIGEPS)
- Numerous memorial and Action Days : Heritage Day , International Literacy Day , World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development , World Day for Audiovisual Heritage , World Day of Science , World Book and Copyright Day , World Intellectual Property Day , World Philosophy Day , World Teachers' Day , World Poetry Day , International Dance Day , world wetlands day , world Music day , world day of radio , International mother language day , International Jazz day , International day of Mathematics , International Monuments day , etc.
Institutes and Centers
- International Center for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) in Miramare Castle near Trieste
- Institute for Water Education (UNESCO-IHE) in Delft
- International Center for Vocational Education and Training of UNESCO (UNESCO-UNEVOC) in Bonn
- International Office for Education (IBE-UNESCO) in Geneva
- UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL) in Hamburg
- International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP-UNESCO) in Paris and Buenos Aires
- International Institute of Information Technology in Education (IITE-UNESCO) in Moscow
- International Institute for the Performance of Africa (IICBA-UNESCO) in Addis Ababa
- International Institute for Higher Education in Latin America and the Caribbean (IESALC-UNESCO) in Caracas
- Institute of Statistics (UIS) in Montreal
- European Center for Higher Education (CEPES) in Bucharest
- UNESCO Chair (UNESCO Chairs)
- UNESCO Chair for Telemedicine (UNES_CT)
- UNESCO project school
- List of UNESCO World Heritage
- World Document Heritage List
- List of UNESCO Global Geoparks
- List of biosphere reserves
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