UNESCO and the UN Security Council


UNESCO contributes to relief and reconstruction in countries in crisis and transition situations in the fields of education, the sciences, culture and communication, in close coordination within the overall United Nations system-wide response. 

The Organization places its emphasis on the human and institutional dimensions of relief, recovery and reconstruction, with a focus on supporting access to quality education, protecting culture, including World Heritage at risk, and promoting freedom of expression and information during and in the aftermath of crisis so as to lay the foundations for stable and sustainable recovery towards long-term development.

Contributing to humanitarian response, UNESCO provides direct support to help communities in coping with the immediate impact of crisis on their daily lives. UNESCO ensures access to fundamental services, such as quality education for children and youth, as well as access, through support to the local media, to life-saving information.

With its unique mandate to protect cultural heritage in times of conflict, UNESCO promotes and undertakes mitigating measures to prevent and address damage and destruction; as well as looting and illicit trafficking of cultural property.

UNESCO also enables country-driven recovery and longer-term development. Through technical assistance and advisory services to local and national authorities and civil society, support is provided for damage and needs assessment, as well as capacity development of affected institutions and professionals.

UNESCO believes in the positive contribution of education, culture, communication and the sciences to peace. It supports these dimensions in dialogue, reconciliation andpeace-building programmes and initiatives.

Consequently, through UNESCO New York Office, the Organization stays engaged in the discussions of the UN Security Council, especially those pertaining to UNESCO’s mandate and of relevance for UNESCO Field Offices – particularly those in crisis-affected regions. UNESCO thus supports member states and UN secretariat at occasions when negotiations or matters being dealt with touches on UNESCO’s fields of competence.

For more information contact: Ricardo de Guimarães Pinto, Liaison Officer (+1 212 963 4383 | r.de-guimaraes-pinto(at)unesco.org)  



Recent examples of UNSC Resolution that value and take into account UNESCO and its work:

  • SC resolution S/RES/2164 on the peacekeeping operation in Mali maintains “support for cultural preservation […] in collaboration with UNESCO” in the mandate of the mission; 
  • SC resolution S/RES/2139 (2014)on humanitarian access to Syria  calls on all parties to ensure the protection of Syria’s World Heritage Sites
  • SC resolution S/RES/2199 (2015)on  ‘Threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts’, “condemns attacks on cultural heritage” and links illicit trafficking of cultural properties with financing of terrorist groups;
  • SC resolution S/RES/2222 (2015)on the on the protection of journalists highlights the critical importance of the protection of journalists  media professionals and associated personnel in armed conflicts;
  • SC resolution S/RES/2227 (2015) renewing the mandate of the peacekeeping operation in Mali for another year and maintaining in it the “support for cultural preservation”. “To assist the Malian authorities, as necessary and feasible, in protecting from attack the cultural and historical sites in Mali, in collaboration with UNESCO”;
  • SC resolution S/RES/2249 (2015) on ‘Threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts’ condemns also in the strongest terms the continued gross, systematic and widespread […] barbaric acts of destruction and looting of cultural heritage carried out by ISIL also known as Da’esh”, as well as “determines that […] by its eradication of cultural heritage and trafficking of cultural property, […] the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as Da’esh), constitutes a global and unprecedented threat to international peace and Security”;
  • SC resolution S/RES/2253 (2015) on ‘Threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts’, “condemns the destruction of cultural heritage in Iraq and Syria particularly by ISIL and ANF, including targeted destruction of religious sites and objects; and recalling its decision that all Member States shall take appropriate steps to prevent the trade in Iraqi and Syrian cultural property and other items of archaeological, historical, cultural, rare scientific, and religious importance illegally removed from Iraq since 6 August 1990 and from Syria since 15 March 2011, including by prohibiting cross-border trade in such items, thereby allowing for their eventual safe return to the Iraqi and Syrian people”. The resolution also explicitly mentions UNESCO and includes the “trade in cultural property” as one of the assigned areas to be monitored in its follow up mechanism.
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