United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

Joined UNESCO: 01/07/1997

Hosts the International Maritime Organization (IMO) - London.

Head of State and/or Government

Head of State: H. M. Queen Elizabeth II
Prime Minister: The Right Honourable Theresa May, MP

Permanent Delegation to UNESCO

Mr Matthew Lodge
Permanent Delegate (12/09/2017)

Permanent Delegation of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to UNESCO
British Embassy Paris 35 rue du Faubourg St Honoré 75383 Cedex 08 Paris

National Commission for UNESCO

Chairperson: Professor Colin McInnes.

Vice Chairperson: Professor Kiran Fernandes
Secretary-General and Chief Executive: Mr James Bridge
Finance and Office Manager: Ms Andrea Blick

United Kingdom National Commission for UNESCO
c/o United Nations Association-UK 3 Whitehall Court London SW1A 2 EL United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
(44) (0) 20 7766 3491

uknatcom(a)unesco.org.uk; jbridge(a)unesco.org.uk (Secretary-General); ablick(a)unesco.org.uk (Ms Andrea Blick)
Web site

Read more National Commission for UNESCO

Representation in the Executive Board

The 1991 amendment modified Article V of the Constitution, regarding the status of members of the Board. From the 27th session of the General Conference (1993), the Executive Board consists of Member States rather than of persons (26 C/Resolution 19.3).
Title Name Years Sessions
MemberSir John Maud1946-19501-21
ChairpersonSir John Maud1949-195018-21
MemberSir Ronald Adam1950-195422-39
ChairpersonSir Ronald Adam1952-195432-39
MemberSir Ben Bowen Thomas1954-196240-63
ChairpersonSir Ben Bowen Thomas1958-196053-57
MemberDame Mary G. Smieton1962-196864-81
MemberMr William A.C. Mathieson1968-197481-95
MemberMr Leonard C.J. Martin1974-197896-105
ChairpersonMr Leonard C.J. Martin1976-1978101-105
MemberMr Donald James Kirkness1978-1983106-117
MemberMr William A. Dodd1983-1985118-123

Participation in subsidiary organs

Organs elected by the General Conference

Executive Board
Member (Term expires : 2019)
International Coordinating Council of the Programme on Man and the Biosphere
Member (Term expires : 40th General Conference)
Intergovernmental Council for the International Hydrological Programme
Vice-Chairperson : Mr Alan Jenkins
Member (Term expires : 41st General Conference)
Intergovernmental Council of the International Programme for the Development of Communication
Member (Term expires : 41st General Conference)
Headquarters Committee
Member (Term expires : 40th General Conference)
Legal Committee
Member elected by the General Conference at its 38th session - Member of the Legal Committee from the beginning of the 39th session (2017) until the beginning of the 40th session (2019)
Member elected by the General Conference at its 39th session - Member of the Legal Committee from the beginning of the 40th session (2019) until the beginning of the 41st session (2021)
Intergovernmental Bioethics Committee
Member (Term expires : 41st General Conference)

Other intergovernmental organs

Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission

Councils of UNESCO's Institutes and Centres

Governing Board of the UNESCO International Institute for Educational Planning
Chairperson : Mr Nicholas Burnett

Addresses delivered in the general policy debate by the Head of Delegation at the General Conference

37 session of the General Conference

Mr Matthew Sudders, Ambassador, Permanent Delegate of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to UNESCO

Speech delivered during the General Policy Debate of the 37th session of the General Conference - revised and corrected version of the verbatim records of plenary meetings

36 session of the General Conference

H.E. Mr Alan DUNCAN, Minister of State for International Development

Speech delivered during the General Policy Debate of the 36th session of the General Conference and posted as received

35 session of the General Conference

H.E. Mr Peter Landymore, Ambassador and Permanent Delegate to UNESCO

“(…) May I first associate myself fully with the statement made yesterday by the distinguished representative of Sweden, on behalf of the Member States of the EU. I wish to begin by paying tribute to the achievements of the outgoing Director-General, Mr Matsuura. Under his leadership, UNESCO has made considerable progress in recovering its relevance to the challenges facing the world today. (...) The UK also welcomes the nomination of Ms Irina Bokova to be the next Director-General. (...) We hope she will continue Mr. Matsuura’s emphasis on UNESCO’s role in the global effort to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.”
“(…) The fact that Programmes still receive less than half of UNESCO's budget resources remains a major concern for the UK.”
“The British Government believes that UNESCO, and the UN more broadly, should work above all in the service of the developing countries, and especially the poorest among these. We strongly support UNESCO's priority for Africa, and we want to see this more effectively demonstrated in practice. (…) It is important, (…) for new proposals on Decentralization to look primarily to deploy UNESCO staff in UN country teams and not to operate separate UNESCO country offices except in the most exceptional circumstances.”
“The British Government believes also that the achievement of the MDG Education Goals, and the wider EFA goals, is one of the most important tasks facing the world. Britain is spending $16 billion between 2006 and 2015 to promote their achievement in the poorest countries. This must remain the top priority for UNESCO, truly its flagship programme. UNESCO should be the loudest advocate of EFA; should celebrate the progress of those countries which achieve it; and should draw attention to those where the needs are not matched by sufficient policy dynamism, or internal and external resources, or co-ordination of aid agencies. We welcome the creation of the new Task Force to Teachers, and salute the EFA Global Monitoring Report as one of the best products of any international organization. (…) We want to see a much more significant redirection of resources towards education in the following 2012-13 programme and budget.”
“UNESCO has much to be proud of, including in connection with the conservation of the World's Heritage. It is also important that UNESCO's expertise in ensuring that the standards of the World Heritage Sites are maintained, important that also maintains resources for this expertise in its next programme on Budget.”

34 session of the General Conference

H.E. Mr Peter Landymore, Ambassador and Permanent Delegate to UNESCO

The United Kingdom associates itself with the statement made by the representative of Portugal on behalf of the Member States of the European Union.
“The United Kingdom attaches great importance to a strong and effective multilateral system with leadership from the United Nations system. That leadership should be exercised to confront the two main challenges that the world faces: conflict and poverty. In both of these, UNESCO has its part to play.”
“It is clear that progress has been made towards the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals, but unless we redouble our efforts, the MDGs will not be met by 2015. […] We face a development emergency.”
The United Kingdom urges to develop a system-wide coherence and supports firmly the United Nations reforms. A United Nations system that delivers as one can have a unified presence on the ground and be focused on nationally owned objectives.
The United Kingdom is not entirely satisfied with the progress of the Global Action Plan. The Plan is not yet implemented and only four countries were chosen for starting it. The United Kingdom intends to give US$16 billion to countries with viable plans to make primary education universal and urges all other agencies to work together for the same goal.
UNESCO should be the international leader of the education MDGs and the other EFA goals. The United Kingdom expects now a stronger and more visible implementation of the flagship programmes of UNESCO on EFA, on literacy, and on teacher training in Africa.
Priority for Africa needs to be turned into real and visible results in the sciences. The Major Review of this programme still needs to be translated into better resource allocations.
The International Oceanographic Commission needs more resources. The same goes for building up African science policy capacities.
The United Kingdom welcomes the new Medium-Term Strategy and the 2008-2009 Programme and Budget. However it is still unclear how the resources of UNESCO are used to deliver these programmes. Furthermore, the United Kingdom recommends placing more of the central resources into specific priority programmes.
The World’s Heritage work is the best example of UNESCO’s visibility and success. The United Kingdom also supports the Convention on Cultural Diversity and plans to ratify it in the nearest future.

Celebration of anniversaries

  • 450th anniversary of the birth of Francis Bacon, writer and philosopher (1561-1626) (2011)

  • Francis Bacon was an English philosopher, one of the leading figures in natural philosophy, a statesman and a scientist. He is well known for his treatises on empiricist natural philosophy (The Advancement of Learning, Novum Organum Scientiarum) and for his doctrine of the idols, which he put forward in his early writings, as well as for the idea of a modern research institute, which he described in Nova Atlantis.

    250th anniversary of the birth of Robert Burns, poet (1759-1796) (2009)

    Robert Burns (1759-1796) was a poet and a lyricist. He is widely regarded as the national poet of Scotland and is celebrated worldwide. He is the best known of the poets who have written in the Scots language, although much of his writing is also in English and a “light” Scots dialect which would have been accessible to a wider audience than only Scottish people.

    200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin, naturalist (1809-1882) (2009)

    Charles Robert Darwin (1809-1882) was an eminent English naturalist who achieved lasting fame by convincing the scientific community that species develop over time from a common origin. His theories explaining this phenomenon through natural and sexual selection are central to the modern understanding of evolution as the unifying theory of the life sciences, essential in biology and important in other disciplines such as anthropology, psychology and philosophy. Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution is one of the most fundamentally important concepts in science, philosophy and human culture.

    400th anniversary of the birth of John Milton, poet (1608-1674) (2008)

    John Milton (1608-1674) was an English poet, prose polemicist, and civil servant for the English Commonwealth. Most famed for his epic poem Paradise Lost, Milton is celebrated as well for his eloquent treatise condemning censorship, Areopagitica. Long considered the supreme English poet, Milton experienced a dip in popularity in the mid-twentieth century; but Milton’s reputation remains strong in the twenty-first century.

  • 400th anniversary of the birth of William Shakespeare (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland) (1964)

  • Reference document: 61 EX/16

  • 100th anniversary of the publication of the first edition of 'The Origin of Species' by Charles Darwin (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland) (1960)

  • Reference document: 54 EX/7