How we work

© UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe 2010
General Assembly of the United Nations

UNESCO is the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. It seeks to build peace through international cooperation in Education, the Sciences and Culture. UNESCO's programmes contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals defined in Agenda 2030, adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2015.

UNESCO's vision

Political and economic arrangements of governments are not enough to secure the lasting and sincere support of the peoples. Peace must be founded upon dialogue and mutual understanding. Peace must be built upon the intellectual and moral solidarity of humanity.

In this spirit, UNESCO develops educational tools to help people live as global citizens free of hate and intolerance. UNESCO works so that each child and citizen has access to quality education. By promoting cultural heritage and the equal dignity of all cultures, UNESCO strengthens bonds among nations. UNESCO fosters scientific programmes and policies as platforms for development and cooperation. UNESCO stands up for freedom of expression, as a fundamental right and a key condition for democracy and development. Serving as a laboratory of ideas, UNESCO helps countries adopt international standards and manages programmes that foster the free flow of ideas and knowledge sharing.

UNESCO's founding vision was born in response to a world war that was marked by racist and anti-Semitic violence. Seventy years on and many liberation struggles later, UNESCO’s mandate is as relevant as ever. Cultural diversity is under attack and new forms of intolerance, rejection of scientific facts and threats to freedom of expression challenge peace and human rights. In response, UNESCO's duty remains to reaffirm the humanist missions of education, science and culture.

What we do

Our activities strive in helping the region achieve sustainable development by 2030.

In Science, our action is centred on Biosphere Reserves and Global Geoparks as learning and model sites for sustainable development, integrated water and natural resource management in transboundary basins, multi-hazard disaster risk reduction, and science diplomacy.

In Culture, we work on World Heritage management, intangible cultural heritage, emergency preparedness and response, enhancing culture for sustainable development, fighting illicit traffic of cultural property, promoting culture as a tool for mutual understanding and dialogue, and fostering regional integration through cultural cooperation.

The interdisciplinary capacity of the bureau also allows us to develop activities on transversal priorities such as education for sustainable development, preventing violent extremism and integrated management of cultural and natural resources.

We also actively contribute to UN coordination activities at regional and country levels.

Back to top