Overview of the UNESCO Office for Iraq

UNESCO's Office for Iraq

The UNESCO Office for Iraq was founded in 2003 to enable the international community to monitor and influence the evolution of Education, Culture, Sciences and Media situation in the country.

In 2004, facing recurrent threats from armed groups and bombings, United Nations agencies based part of their activities in Amman, Jordan. UNESCO has the main office in Baghdad and other office in Erbil as well as associated monitors elsewhere in Iraq, however, who conduct frequent site visits throughout the country reporting on the implementation and evaluation of projects.

In addition, international staff undertake frequent missions to Iraq and the Organization is preparing to further reinforce its in-country capacity on a more permanent basis.

UNESCO supports programme implementation in line with the objectives of the Iraqi National Development Plan (2010-2014) and the International Compact with Iraq, as well as the objectives of its key national partners: the Ministries of Education and Higher Education, Water Resources, Labour and Social Affairs, Culture, Tourism and Antiquities, Governorates, the Independent Higher Electoral Commission, the Communications and Media Commission and others, as well as national and international NGOs.

A growing number of projects are implemented jointly with other UN agencies

Role and Area of Responsibility

Underlying UNESCO’s mission in Iraq and embedded within the activities implemented under its mandate for education, science, culture, communication and information is support to peace-building and reconciliation in the country.  Within these areas, UNESCO interventions are designed to:

  1. Strengthen and support Iraqi civil society, human rights and freedom of expression;
  2. To assist vulnerable groups and targeted professions such as journalists and academics;
  3. Support national capacity to manage the urgent sectoral needs.
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