Category

Specialized Agencies

HQ location

Paris

Date established

1945

Resolution

GA Resolution 50(I)

Joined CEB

14 December 1946
Director-General

The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) was established in 1945 to promote the aims set out in article 1, para. 3 of the UN Charter. Its purpose, as stated in article 1 of its Constitution, is to contribute to peace and security by promoting collaboration among nations through education, science and culture.

  • General Conference
  • Executive Board
  • Secretariat

The General Conference is UNESCO's supreme body and meets every two years. On the proposal of the Executive Board, the General Conference, during its ordinary session, sets the next session's venue. The Executive Board is elected by the General Conference for a four year term and consists of 58 Member States. Each Member State appoints a representative with competence in fields related to UNESCO and qualified to fulfil the administrative and executive duties of the Board. Alternates may also be appointed.

The following are some of the inter-governmental bodies that are sub-organs of the UNESCO General Conference:

  • Intergovernmental Council of the International Hydrological Programme (IHP)
  • International Coordinating Council of the Programme on Man and the Biosphere (MAB)
  • International Geoscience Programme (IGCP)
  • Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC)
  • Intergovernmental Council for the Information for All Programmes (IFAP)
  • Intergovernmental Council of the International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC)
  • Intergovernmental Committee for Physical Education and Sport (CIGEPS)
  • Intergovernmental Committee for Promoting the Return of Cultural Property to its Countries of Origin or its Restitution in the Case of Illicit Appropriation
  • Intergovernmental Council of the Management of Social Transformations Programme (MOST)
  • Intergovernmental Bioethics Committee (IGBC).

UNESCO has 193 Member States and six associate members (as of April 2011), one of the highest memberships in the UN system. The electoral grouping system allocates each region a specific number of Executive Board seats:

  • Group I (Western European and North American countries), nine seats;
  • Group II (Eastern European countries), seven seats;
  • Group III (Latin America and the Caribbean counttries or GRULAC), 10 seats;
  • Group IV (Asia and the Pacific countries or ASPAC), 12 seats;
  • Group V(a) (Africa), 13 seats;
  • Group V(b) (Arab States), seven seats.

Group I Members:
Andorra
Austria
Belgium
Canada
Cyprus
Denmark
Finland
France
Germany
Greece
Iceland
Ireland
Israel
Italy
Luxembourg
Malta
Monaco
Netherlands
Norway
Portugal
San Marino
Spain
Sweden
Switzerland
Turkey
UK
USA

Group II Members:
Albania
Armenia
Azerbaijan
Belarus
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bulgaria
Croatia
Czech Republic
Estonia
Georgia
Hungary
Latvia
Lithuania
Montenegro
Poland
Republic of Moldova
Romania
Russian Federation
Serbia
Slovakia
Slovenia
Tajikistan
The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
Ukraine
Uzbekistan

Group III Members:
Antigua and Brubuda
Argentina
Bahamas
Barbados
Belize
Bolivia
BraziL
Chile
Colombia
Costa Rica
Cuba
Dominica
Dominican Republic
Ecuador
El Salvador
Grenada
Guatemala
Guyana
Haiti
Honduras
Jamaica
Mexico
Nicaragua
Panama
Paraguay
Peru
Saint Kitts and Nevis
Saint Lucia
Saint Vmcent and the Grenadines
Suriname
Trinidad and Tobago
Uruguay
Venezuela

Group IV Members:
Afghanistan
Australia
Bangladesh
Brunei Darussalam
Cambodia
China
Cook Islands
Democratic People's Republic of Korea
Fiji
India
Indonesia
Iran
Japan
Kazakhstan
Kiribati
Kyrgyzstan
Lao PDR
Malaysia
Maldives
Marshall Islands
Micronesia
Mongolia
Myanmar
Nauru
Nepal
New Zealand
Niue
Pakistan
Palau
Papua New Guinea
Philippines
ROK
Samoa
Singapore
Solomon Islands
Sri Lanka
Thailand
Timor-Leste
Tonga
Turkmenistan
Tuvalu
Vanuatu
Viet Nam

Group V Members:
Algeria
Angola
Bahrain
Benin
Botswana
Burkina Faso
Burundi
Cameroon
Cape Verde
Central African Republic
Chad
Comoros
Congo
COte d'Ivoire
DR Congo
Djibouti
Egypt
Equatorial Guinea
Eritrea
Ethiopia
Gabon
Gambia
Ghana
Guinea
Guinea-Bissau
Iraq
Jordan
Kenya
Kuwait
Lebanon
Lesotho
Liberia
Libyan AJ
Madagascar
Malawi
Mali
Mauritania
Mauritius
Morocco
Mozambique
Namibia
Niger
Nigeria
Oman
Qatar
Rwanda
Saudi Arabia
Senegal
Seychelles
Sierra Leone
Somalia
South Africa
Sudan
Swaziland
Syrian AR
Togo
Tunisia
Uganda
UAE
UR of Tanzania
Yemen
Zambia
Zimbabwe

Associate Members:
Aruba
British Virgin Islands
Cayman Islands
Faroe Islands
Macau, China
Tokelau

Observer Status:
Holy See
Palestine

 

 

UNESCO's General Conference is held every two years.  The 36th session was held from 25 October to 11 November 2011 in Paris, France. The Board meets in regular sessions at least four times in any two-year period. As a general rule there are at least two regular sessions a year, normally in April and October.

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Email: info@unesco.org