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UNESCO and the European Union celebrate 10 years of strategic partnership

By joining forces at global, regional, and national levels, UNESCO and the European Union (EU) have transformed the lives of millions of people through quality education, climate change mitigation, culture and heritage, freedom of expression, and crises response. 2022 marks the 10th anniversary of this strategic partnership: it is the opportunity to celebrate the strong collaboration and acknowledge the impacts achieved so far. 

On 8 October 2012, UNESCO and the EU by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) expressed their wish to enhance the dialogue, foster exchange of best practices and further strengthen the partnership et set out clear shared priorities.

In the last decade, UNESCO and the EU have undertaken 109 projects across the world for a total value of more than USD 311 million covering all of UNESCO’s fields of competence – culture, education, freedom of expression and equal access to information, and science – and addressing common priorities.

Central to our partnership is our commitment to promote fundamental human rights, inclusive and diverse societies. We are protecting journalists at risk, supporting pluralistic media in Afghanistan, in the Balkans and elsewhere. We champion a human-centered digital transformation that upholds freedom of expression and access to information for all. Worldwide, we are harnessing the power of cultural diversity as a driver of sustainable development by promoting inclusive cultural policies through the EU/UNESCO Expert Facility on the Governance of Culture.

Empowering youth and women

UNESCO and the EU have been creating more than 3,000 jobs and trained 50,000 young women and men to rehabilitate cultural heritage in Iraq as part of the flagship initiative


In the Caribbean, through the Transcultura Programme, we have supported over 1,400 young cultural professionals with new competencies and job opportunities. In the South Mediterranean region, we have promote female film professionals  by harnessing and enabling an environment to create and express their own concerns and tackle gender-related stereotypes in films while promoting cultural diversity.

To protect biodiversity and promote sustainable development, we have strengthened the management of protected forest sites in Central Africa (CAWHFI), and we are preparing vulnerable coastal communities to respond to sea level-related risks (CoastWAVE project).

To celebrate the anniversary and present concretely how the strategic partnership contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals and peace, we will publish the stories of beneficiaries of UNESCO projects funded by the EU on social media.

By marking this 10-year milestone of the strategic partnership, UNESCO and the EU reaffirm their commitment to shared values and the acceleration of the Sustainable Development Goals. In the years to come, we want to consolidate our partnership by "Working Better Together" -UNESCO, the EU and its Member States - by jointly defining and addressing a set of key strategic priorities to reach greater impact.

To support the African continent

We have rehabilitated cultural heritage at risk including mausoleums and private libraries destroyed by war and trained local personnel to ensure lasting heritage preservation efforts in Northern Mali. In the Sahel region, we are improving the quality of education, by strengthening teachers’ qualifications and providing our expertise for education policies and management.


Watch the video on UNESCO EU partnership:

Commissioner Urpilainen statement

UNESCO Director General statement