Joined UNESCO: 04/11/1946

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Head of State and/or Government

Head of State: His Majesty King Harald V
Prime Minister: Ms Erna Solberg

Permanent Delegation to UNESCO

H. E. Mr Per Egil Selvaag
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Permanent Delegate (03/09/2018)

Permanent Delegation of the Kingdom of Norway to UNESCO
Maison de l'UNESCO 1 rue Miollis M8.37 à M8.40 75732 Paris Cedex 15
01 45 68 34 35
01 45 68 34 31
01 45 67 92 03

National Commission for UNESCO

President: Ms Tora Aasland

Vice President: Mr Espen Hernes

Secretary-General: Ms Tanja Kristine Hegge

Norwegian National Commission for UNESCO
Ministry of Education and Research Postboks 8119 Dep No-0032 Oslo Norway
(47) 22 24 75 64
(47) 22 24 79 20
natcom(a); Tanja-Kristine.Hegge(a); tkh(a) (SG)
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
MemberMr Alf Sommerfelt1946-19521-31
MemberMr Gunnar Garbo1974-197896-105
MemberMs Ingrid Eide1989-1993133-142
Representative2007- 2009178-182

Participation in subsidiary organs

Organs elected by the General Conference

Intergovernmental Council for the International Hydrological Programme
Member (Term expires : 40th General Conference)
Intergovernmental Council of the "Management of Social Transformations" Programme
Member of the Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) : Dr Gudmund Hernes, Researcher at the FAFO Institute in Oslo and Professor at BI Norwegian Business School
Intergovernmental Council of the International Programme for the Development of Communication
Member (Term expires : 40th General Conference)
Governing Board of the UNESCO Institute for Statistics
Members elected by the UNESCO General Conference : Mr Dankert Vedeler (Term expires : 31 December 2021)

Other intergovernmental organs

Intergovernmental Committee on World Heritage
Member (Term expires : 41st General Conference)
Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission
President : Dr Peter Haugan

Councils of UNESCO's Institutes and Centres

Governing Board of the UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in Education
Member : Mr. Gard TITLESTAD

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

37 session of the General Conference

Mr Hans Brattskar, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Norway

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

37 session of the General Conference

His Excellency, Mr Bjorn Haugstad, Deputy Minister of Education and Research of Norway

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. Mrs Kristin Halvorsen, Minister of Education

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. Ms Lisbet Rugtvedt, State Secretary, Ministry of Education and Research

“With 5 years left to reach the Millennium Development Goals we are not on track. (…) the Organization must further refine its ability and capacity to assist Member States in their development and implementation of policies that are in line with commonly agreed norms.”
“Education for All is UNESCO’s number one priority. Many more children are in school now (…). But still, millions of children, and especially girls, are not in school. Almost 800 million adults, two-thirds of them women, cannot read and write. This is an unacceptable situation in 2009. UNESCO must work together with the other convening agencies and relevant organizations to ensure that Education for All becomes a reality. We need to work holistically with education. While basic education must be priority in order to ensure that no child is left out, basic education must be developed in the context of an education system that also includes sound early childhood care and education, secondary education, technical and vocational education and higher education. Quality should be the guiding principle for education. Quality teacher training is perhaps the most important pre-requisite for solid basic education.”
“UNESCO activities in the science area are fragmented; UNESCO should do less but better in the field of science.”
“UNESCO is facing demanding challenges in the Culture Sector. Support to Member States in their implementation of the many cultures conventions implies a heavy workload for the Secretariat (…). Extra-budgetary means can only be a temporary solution. Given the budgetary framework during the coming years, we would suggest that conventions are given higher priority within the cultural programme.”
“Freedom of expression and free independent and pluralistic media are building blocks in UNESCO's inclusive knowledge societies. However, in many countries this fundamental right is still threatened. (…) Over the past ten years more than 1000 journalists and media staff have been killed. UNESCO should, therefore, strengthen its work for journalists’ safety and press freedom.”
“The 35 C/5 is (…) still not focused and results-oriented enough. (…) Norway is pleased with the Director-General’s proactive engagement. UNESCO must develop its decentralization strategy in line with the One UN reform. The main element in a future strategy should be to strengthen UNESCO’s abilities to support Member States. UNESCO does not need to be involved in both policy development and implementation.”
“Norway has high expectations for the post-evaluation of UNESCO’s ability to deliver. We want to see UNESCO constantly develop its ability to provide assistance to the Member States most in need.”
“We trust the new Director General to be strongly committed to continue reforms and to further develop UNESCO's major capacities. The most important tasks are the normative work, policy formation, policy advice and capacity development.”

34 session of the General Conference

H.E. Mr Harald Neple, Ambassador to the OECD and UNESCO

Norway is very concerned by the global climate change challenge and welcomes the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and to Al Gore. This prize is a strong recognition of the efforts to counteract climate change. UNESCO, as a United Nations specialized agency, has a unique role to play in this matter.
Norway praises UNESCO on its efforts to build and disseminate knowledge on sustainable development, accordingly to the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development.
Norway commends UNESCO for taking the leading role in coordinating the global efforts to ensure all children and youth access to free primary education. Primary education is one of the attainable goals of the Education for All. UNESCO needs to coordinate and to monitor the development of this project. This should be done in close collaboration with Member States, civil society, bilateral donors and multilateral organizations. Furthermore, quality education, vocational training and development of entrepreneurial skills are also vital for economic growth.
Norway highly values the active participation of youth in the Youth Forum but regrets the lack of organizational capacity of this Forum, and encourages the Secretariat to ensure that it may realize its full potential in the future.
“Norway supports the budget ceiling of $631 million recommended by the Executive Board. We hope moving away from many years with zero nominal growth will be an impetus to the revitalization of UNESCO.”
Norway endorses priority accorded to Africa and gender equality. However, the C/5 is still not focused and result-oriented enough. UNESCO needs to strengthen programme activities at the costs of support activities.
The budget and programme for the next biennium must be implemented in the context of United Nations reform. UNESCO should also use this opportunity to develop its decentralization strategy. The main element in a future strategy should be to strengthen UNESCO’s ability to support Member States, by participating in United Nations country teams and creating strong regional offices.
“The cultural dimension is an indispensable element of policies for sustainable development. Norway expects UNESCO to play a prominent role in facilitating the implementation in Member States of the Cultural Diversity Convention.”
UNESCO’s role as a watchdog for freedom of expression is as vital as ever. Almost daily the freedom of speech and the right for independent media are violated. UNESCO needs to support journalists’ work as a base for inclusive knowledge societies.

Celebration of anniversaries

  • 150th anniversary of the birth of Fridtjof Nansen, explorer, and the 100th anniversary of the reaching of the South Pole by Roald Amundsen, explorer (2011)

  • Fridtjof Nansen (1861-1930) was a Norwegian explorer, scientist and diplomat. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest personalities in the history of Norway. Nansen initially started out as pioneer sports skier, and soon became interested in Arctic exploration. He led the first crossing of Greenland by ski, and achieved great success with his Arctic expedition aboard the Fram. He later became noted as a zoologist and oceanographer, and was a pioneer of the neuron theory. His work had a genuine impact in the world as a whole by his scientific achievements in oceanography.
    Roald Amundsen (1872-1928) was a Norwegian explorer of polar regions. He led the first Antarctic expedition which reached the South Pole in 1911. He was also the first person to reach both the North and South Poles, and he is known as the first to traverse the Northwest Passage in a small sailing vessel. He disappeared in June 1928 while taking part in a rescue mission.

  • 200th anniversary of the birth of Niels Henrik Abel (2002)

  • The Science Sector supports the Norwegian proposal to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the famous Norwegian mathematician Niels Henrik Abel by convening The International Abel Bicentennial Conference. Abel was born in 1802 and died in 1829. Despite his short life, he contributed very remarkably to several mathematical theories. At the age of 16 he gave a proof of the binomial theorem for all numbers, extending a result of Euler. He also proved the insolubility of the general quintic equation. This problem had attracted generations of mathematicians but remained unsolved until Abel’s attempt. For studying these quintic equations he invented group theory (independently of Galois), a branch of mathematics that is extremely important. He also studied elliptic functions and wrote a monumental work on this subject.

    100th anniversary of the birth of Fridtjof Nansen (Cuba and Norway) (1961)

    Reference document: 57 EX/21