Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak


Precautionary actions

  • Stay at home and seek medical advice if you or any of your immediate family members have possible coronavirus covid-19 symptoms;
  • Avoid handshakes and hugs ;
  • Wash your hands very regularly with soap, or use a hydro-alcoholic solution;
  • Cough and sneeze into your sleeve or into a disposable handkerchief;
  • Stay at home in case of fever and consult a doctor;
  • Wear a surgical mask only in case of fever and cough;
  • Welcome our colleagues that have returned from a quarantine period and take all necessary measures to ensure they can normally perform their work and do not feel isolated and discriminated.

Message sent to Permanent Delegations to UNESCO on coronavirus

We wish to recall that all measures taken by the French authorities in relation the movement of critical staff,  aim solely at mitigation of risk of COVID-19.  Decisions taken by French authorities are in the interest of all present on French territory and we are bound to  follow them strictly.

In light of these measures, the Director-General of UNESCO decided to close  the catering service  as well as the medical service in Fontenoy and Miollis/Bonvin buildings. You can reach the medical service at the following address: service.medical(at) or by phone, during the day, at: 01 45 68 08 67.

Access to the two buildings will be authorized for persons whose presence is deemed as essential (including members of Permanent Delegations and staff of organizations whose offices are located in UNESCO buildings) and who will be in a possession of the attached certificates, duly completed and signed, as well as UNESCO badge.  We would like to remind you that the security will reduced therefore you are requested to bring your personal keys in order to get access to your offices.

Once again we appeal to your sense of responsibility and professionalism in respecting prevailing measures within your respective offices and we remain at your disposal for any further information. 

Well-being initiatives

Mindfulness Meditation Workshops

Mindfulness Meditation Workshops will be restarting as from next week – every Tuesday - for all staff at Headquarters and in the Field.  Mindfulness mediation is a great option to incorporate into your regular routine to reduce anxiety and stress, and if you’ve never tried it before, now's your chance! 

Mindfulness Mediation workshops will be held on a weekly basis over the next 5 weeks for one-hour in French and English and will be led by Thomas-John Doucende, a certified Mindfulness Mediation Instructor – see timetable below:

11:30 -12:30 (Paris time)

14:00 – 15:00 (Paris time)

31 March 2020



7 April 2020



14 April 2020



21 April 2020



28 April 2020



Please find below the link to access the live broadcast of the next Mindfulness Meditation workshop:

UN Secretary-General's wellbeing webpage

The UN Secretary-General’s dedicated webpage on wellbeing also contains some useful tips on telecommuting and general staff wellbeing: 


For those staff who like to practice sport, the ISAU staff association has compiled a list of links to different sport activities that you can carry out at home.

Library and Archives on-line projects/opportunities   

The UNESCO Library and Archives is pleased to continue offering virtual services by email. We invite staff to send requests for information related to our services and collections to library(at) and archives(at); we will respond within the means possible. Virtual requests are an important and dynamic part of our services. Since our doors closed due to COVID-19 on 16 March 2020, we have responded to approximately 136 email requests combined. Our online UNESDOC Digital Library and Digital Archives collections are also available for your consultation 24/7. In good times and bad, the UNESCO Library and Archives are at your service, wherever you are! 

As part of the “Digitizing Our Shared UNESCO History” Project, KMI Archives unit are seeking volunteers to help on transcribing captions on 5,000 newly-digitized photos from UNESCO's historic photo collection.  These exceptional photos, available online for the first time, show images from UNESCO's programmes and missions around the world, from 1945 to the present.

For more information visit:

Messages sent to UNESCO staff on coronavirus

26 MARCH 2020

As I write to you today, most of us are teleworking and adapting to this new life. 

Working from home creates new challenges. How do we stay alert? How can we be productive while balancing private and professional life? How do we keep in touch with colleagues? How do we deal with the stress caused by this unique situation?

We do not yet have answers to all of these questions. However, we are doing our best to support the transition, by resolving any technical issues and sharing information and best practices. On Monday, you received a UNESCO update on new initiatives and forums on the intranet to communicate with colleagues through Yammer and share news or videos. AIPU colleagues sent some helpful links to practice exercises and keep in shape.

The medical service is available to assist you should you need guidance or medical care, at the following email address: medical.service(at) Similarly, Christine Goletto, UNESCO’s social worker, will make every effort to help you should you need personal support of any kind.

In addition to carrying out our daily tasks, we can also use this opportunity to finalize administrative work from home, put in place new working methods, discover new communication tools, and take part in training. HRM offers several e-learning modules that you can access remotely: just click on the “My learning” icon in the intranet “top apps”. KMI has also invited colleagues to participate in webinars on various Microsoft tools. In this way, you can improve your knowledge and develop skills in different areas, while boosting your career prospects.

During these difficult times, it is important that we rely on accurate information, and refrain from sharing fake news and rumours. You can also write to coronavirus.coordination(at)  

For staff at Headquarters, the French Government has recently issued a new form for personal trips taken outside the home. You will find it attached to this message.  

UNESCO continues to play an essential role, at Headquarters, in the field, and at home – despite the Coronavirus crisis. 

Best wishes to everyone, and keep safe.


18 MARCH 2020

As part of the measures for mitigating the risk of COVID-19, the Director-General has decided to step up precautionary measures at the UNESCO Secretariat by requesting all staff to telework until further notice. Colleagues in the field are to follow the instructions of the Host country that are communicated by their respective UN country teams/Resident Coordinators.

Only staff members, whose presence is considered necessary by their ADG or Director, will be authorized to access their office. This includes staff responsible for key functions such as security and the implementation of the COVID-19 crisis response. The catering services at Miollis and Fontenoy will be closed.

The remaining public spaces that have been open for the past few days are now closed. Visitor badges will no longer be issued. The security service will ensure that this is strictly adhered to.

All March/April meetings are postponed/cancelled, except for meetings between staff members whose presence in the Secretariat is deemed essential. In this case, precautionary measures (in particular distance between people) must be respected. Other exceptions will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

All measures apply to the Fontenoy and Miollis/Bonvin sites.

We encourage staff to keep in touch with colleagues who feel vulnerable or isolated. At times like this, it is especially important to demonstrate even more support and care than usual.

Over the next few days and weeks, we will depend more than ever on everyone's sense of responsibility and professionalism. We have the utmost confidence in the commitment of our staff to ensure each other's safety.