UNESCO’s mandate in OER

Last update: April 21, 2022

The Recommendation on Open Educational Resources (OER), adopted by UNESCO’s General Conference at its 40th session on 25 November 2019, is the first international normative instrument to embrace the field of openly licensed educational materials and technologies in education.

OER are defined in this Recommendation  as  learning, teaching and research materials in any format and medium that reside in the public domain or are under copyright that have been released under an open license, that permit no-cost access, re-use, re-purpose, adaptation and redistribution by others.

Open license refers to a license that respects the intellectual property rights of the copyright owner and provides permissions granting the public the rights to access, re-use, re-purpose, adapt and redistribute educational materials.

The 2019 Recommendation aims to assist Member States at the national level by supporting the development and sharing of openly licensed learning and teaching materials, benefitting students, teachers and researchers worldwide. It supports the creation, use and adaptation of inclusive and quality OER, and facilitates international cooperation in this field through five areas of action and by: (i) building capacity of stakeholders to create, access, re-use, adapt and redistribute OER; (ii) developing supportive policy; (iii) encouraging inclusive and equitable quality OER; (iv) nurturing the creation of sustainability models for OER, and (v) facilitating international cooperation. It contributes to the building of open and inclusive knowledge societies, and to the achievement of the

2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, namely SDG 4 (Quality education), SDG 5 (Gender equality), SDG 9 (Industry, innovation and infrastructure), SDG 10 (Reduced inequalities within and among countries), SDG 16 (Peace, justice and strong institutions) and SDG 17 (Partnerships for the goals).

UNESCO launched the  Dynamic OER Coalition in March 2020 to promote and reinforce  knowledge sharing and collaboration between stakeholders implementing this Recommendation – at governmental, institutional and civil society levels.

UNESCO supports Member States globally and in numerous countries in the implementation of activities