About the Office

Established in 1994, the responsibilities of UNESCO’s Moscow Office were originally limited to cooperating with the Russian Federation.  In 2002, however, and following discussions with a number of sub-regional Member States that requested a closer, more active relationship with UNESCO, the Office’s mandate was expanded both technically – it now covers the full spectrum of UNESCO’s sectoral activities – as well as geographically since it now covers four additional countries, namely Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus and Moldova. It is the Organization’s only cluster office based in Europe.

Referring to the conceptual framework and operational guidelines contained in UNESCO’s Programme and Budget submitted to and ultimately approved by the General Conference, the Office develops and implements the biennial work plan and projects for the countries it serves in close consultation with the five National Commissions of the cluster countries.

UNESCO’s active engagement in joint United Nations Agency programming exercises is most effectively brought to bear in countries where the Organization would otherwise have no field presence. Its effectiveness is directly related to its having high level specialists at its disposal who, by virtue of their on-the-ground familiarity with local problems, are well positioned to maximize their eventual impact. The Office also undertakes to ensure that its comparative advantage in the fields of its recognized technical competency is made available to the joint country programming exercises – e.g. CCA/UNDAF.


The Moscow Office’s strategy focuses on cost-effective and quality programme delivery. Considered the sine qua non for the qualitative improvement of any operational undertaking, close attention will be paid to results-based management and to the use of performance measures (indicators) to assess the degree of impact. The benefits that are expected to accrue include increased verifiable programme relevance, more quantifiable results, reinforced local and even national impact, and greater coherence in the work of the UN agencies active in the sub-region.

To implement this strategy, the Moscow Office will focus on the vital importance of multilateral and bilateral partnerships. To that end, it will seek new forms of collaboration beginning, first and foremost, with the members of the “UNESCO family”, i.e. National Commissions, national committees of intergovernmental programmes, Category 2 Centres, UNESCO Chairs and Associated Schools. In this endeavor, the full potential of national civil societies will also be given all due attention.

Programme Priorities

  • Continued support for on-going efforts to reach children who, for reasons of cost, conflict or material inaccessibility, are unable to enjoy an acknowledged human right - that of education. Working through its programme on “inclusive” education, efforts will be directed towards supporting national and local efforts to provide education for the indigenous children of the North and to develop life skills and work-oriented education in order to reinforce efforts to achieve both the EFA and UN Millennium Development Goals
  • Contribute to sustainable development by supporting environmental protection; water resources management including the restoration of previously damaged aquatic ecosystems – and the preservation of biodiversity and the sustainable utilisation of natural resources
  • Support for national initiatives aimed at developing a national recognition of the place of ethics in sustainable development – e.g. bioethics, environmental ethics, and how the interface between gender issues and migration  translate into development planning policy
  • Promotion of an understanding, in the cluster countries, of the importance of cultural diversity together with the related imperative of protecting  tangible and intangible cultural heritage including  the safeguarding of languages in peril of extinction like those of the peoples of the North
  • Promotion of the ideas of press freedom and freedom of expression in the cluster countries.
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