Higher education regional conventions

University students
Last update: April 21, 2022

UNESCO serves as the Secretariat to the Global Convention on the Recognition of Qualifications concerning Higher Education as well as five complementary regional recognition conventions. While the regional recognition conventions cover recognition and mobility in each region, the Global Convention facilitates this between regions. 

Regional conventions

The Revised Convention on the Recognition of Studies, Certificates, Diplomas, Degrees and Other Academic Qualifications in Higher Education in African States, known as the Addis Convention, establishes a legal framework for the fair and transparent recognition of higher education qualifications in the African region to facilitate mobility and inter-university cooperation. Supporting academic mobility and exchange among African States strengthens trust in the quality enhancement of institutions and systems, while also providing a pivotal network for advancing the SDG targets for equitable access in the region.

The Convention was adopted on 12 December 2014 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and entered into force on 15 December 2019. It is open to UNESCO Member States belonging to the Africa Region and as of December 2021 has 13 States Parties. Model instrument of ratification.

The first meeting of the Convention Committee – responsible for overseeing the implementation of the instrument – was hosted by the government of Togo in Lomé, on 9 and 10 December 2021. 

Secretariat
Mr Abdoulaye Salifou, UNESCO Regional Office in Abuja - a.salifou@unesco.org

The revised Convention on the Recognition of Studies, Diplomas and Degrees in Higher Education in the Arab States was adopted on 2 February 2022 in Paris, France. The text is the result of a four-year process of consultations with experts from the region and takes into account the unprecedented changes in higher education systems, in policies and particularly in international cooperation and student mobility.

The Convention is open for ratification by Member States of the League of Arab States and UNESCO’s Arab region. The Regional Committee may allow UNESCO Member States that do not belong to the Arab region and the Holy See to accede to it. It requires 5 ratifications from the region to enter into force. Model instrument of ratification

Secretariat
Mr Anasse Bouhlal,  UNESCO Regional Bureau for Education in Beirut - a.bouhlal@unesco.org

The Asia-Pacific Regional Convention on the Recognition of Qualifications in Higher Education, known as the Tokyo Convention, provides a mechanism for countries in the Asia and the Pacific region to facilitate the recognition of higher education qualifications through basic principles, increased information provision and transparency. Ratification of the Convention demonstrates a country’s commitment to improved mobility of students and academics within Asia and the Pacific, while also strengthening collaboration and solidarity across the region.

The Convention was adopted on 26 November 2011 in Tokyo, Japan and entered into force on 1 February 2018. It is open to all UNESCO Member States and the Holy See and as of October 2021 has 12 States Parties. Model instrument of ratification.

Convention Committee

The Committee of the Tokyo Convention is responsible for overseeing its implementation. It had its most recent meeting on 14 and 15 October 2021 (virtually), presided over by Japan. 

More information on the recommendations and decisions adopted by the Committee,   the archive and regional statements.

Regional network of national information centres

The Asia-Pacific Network of National Information Centres (APNNIC), was recently established, bringing together the national information centres of the States Parties to the Tokyo Convention. They provide authoritative information on the recognition of qualifications to help facilitate the mobility of learners, researchers and faculty.

Visit the APNNIC portal.

Secretariat

Mr Libing Wang, Secretary of the Tokyo Convention Committee - l.wang@unesco.org.
Mr Wesley Teter - wr.teter@unesco.org.
UNESCO Asia and Pacific Regional Bureau for Education in Bangkok

The Convention on the Recognition of Qualifications concerning Higher Education in the European Region, known as the Lisbon Convention, is the main legal instrument on the recognition of qualifications in the European region. The Convention was adopted on 11 April 1997 in Lisbon, Portugal and entered into force on 1 February 1999. As of October 2021, it has 54 States Parties, demonstrating nearly universal adherence and commitment to facilitating recognition, mobility, inter-university cooperation and quality assured higher education provision.

The Convention is open to Member States of the Council of Europe, Member States of the UNESCO Europe Region as well as any other signatory, contracting state of party to the European Cultural Convention of the Council of Europe and/or to the UNESCO Convention on the Recognition of Studies, Diplomas and Degrees concerning Higher Education in the States belonging to the Europe Region, which have been invited to the diplomatic conference entrusted with the adoption of this Convention.

Convention Committee

The Committee of the Lisbon Convention is responsible for overseeing its implementation. It is currently presided over by Italy and will have its next session 15 November 2022 in Strasbourg.

More information on the recommendations and decisions adopted by the Committee.

Regional network of national information centres

The European Network of Information Centres (ENIC) on mobility and recognition, set up by the Council of Europe and UNESCO to give effect to the terms of the Lisbon Convention, works in close co-operation with the National Academic Recognition Information Centres (NARIC), a network put in place by the European Union. Together, ENIC/NARIC bring together the national information centres tasked with recognizing academic qualifications at the national level and facilitating mobility and cooperation in the region. More information, visit the ENIC/NARIC portal.

Secretariat:
Ms Vanja Gutovic, UNESCO Headquarters - v.gutovic@unesco.org (co-Secretariat with the Council of Europe)

The new Regional Convention on the Recognition of Studies, Diplomas and Degrees in Higher Education, known as the Buenos Aires Convention, aims to strengthen the recognition of qualifications in a fair and transparent manner across the region and strengthen inter-university cooperation. It serves as an important instrument for enhancing higher education systems and tying them more closely together in the region

The Convention was adopted on 13 July 2019 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. It is open to Member States of the Latin America and Caribbean Region, other UNESCO Member States belonging to other regions of the world and the Holy See. As of December 2021, it has three States Parties, requiring one more to enter into force. Model instrument of ratification

More information on the recognition process of each country in the region as well as the capacity development module on the Convention in four languages.

Secretariat
Mr Francesc Pedró, UNESCO International Institute for Higher Education in Latin America and the Caribbean (IESALC) - f.pedro@unesco.org