Overview of the UNESCO Office in Dakar

©UNESCO/M. Vaccariello

The UNESCO Office in Dakar (otherwise called UNESCO Multisectoral Regional Office in Dakar or UNESCO Dakar) represents UNESCO in seven West African countries (Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, the Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger and Senegal) in all UNESCO's fields of competence, namely Education, Natural Sciences, Social and Human Sciences, Culture as well as Communication & Information. It is still sometimes known under its previous name as BREDA (Bureau régional de l'éducation en Afrique – Regional Bureau for Education in Africa).

The Mission

UNESCO Dakar's mission is to:

  • document and analyze the situation and major development trends of the Organization’s fields of competence in the countries covered by the Office (Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal and the Gambia)
  • ensure that education, sciences, culture, communication and information are placed high on Member States’ development agenda
  • support Member States in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals in UNESCO’s fields of competence by means of policy advice, capacity development, technical assistance and knowledge sharing
  • promote partnership and networking with and between Governments, multilateral agencies, civil society organizations, academic community and other relevant institutions in collaboration with the national commissions for UNESCO, UNESCO chairs, clubs and associated schools

Historical Background

The Dakar office was created in 1970 initially to deal with educational planning in sub-Saharan Africa.

The Office progressively extended its activities to other areas of education development to eventually cover the entire education system as well as UNESCO’s other fields of competence (natural sciences, human and social sciences, culture, communication and information).

  • Until 2014, the Office functioned as the Regional Bureau for Education, coordinating UNESCO’s education programme throughout sub-Saharan Africa.

Today, UNESCO Dakar is a multisectoral regional office covering seven West African countries (Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, the Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger and Senegal).

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