UNESCO is a specialized agency of the UN, and its purpose is to promote peace and order in the world in the areas of education, science and culture. It consists of 193 members, 11 associate partners and many non-governmental, intergovernmental and private sector organizations as its partners.

To function well globally, UNESCO has 53 offices and 199 national commissions.

Founded in:

16 November 1945; 76 years ago


World Heritage Centre, Paris, France


Director-General: Audrey Azoulay

Parent organization:

United Nations Economic and Social Council

Official Website:


History of UNESCO:

In 1942, The European countries who were confronting the Nazi Germany and its allies for creating all the massive havoc they were creating in the world during wartime, gathered in United Kingdom (UK) for a meeting called as Conference of Allied Ministers of Education (CAME). The purpose of this conference was to establish and rebuild the educational and scientific systems once the war was over. The project became recognized worldwide and new countries began to join it including the USA. Later CAME proposed an idea of an International Organization for educational and cultural development in the conference held in London, United Kingdom(UK) in 1945.

After the end of war, the gateways to establishment of such an organization were open, representatives of 40 countries came together and made the decision to start the organization which works genuinely to establish World peace and avoid any massive chaos like World war.

“Intellectual and moral solidarity” became the motto of the organization to promote overall establishment of World Peace and order. Later this organization became the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

Functions of UNESCO:

  • To design and promote educational tools which prevent chaos and conflict in the world.
  • To work for the preservation of the cultural heritages of many cultures and promote that everyone should equally respect all the cultures and feel dignity in them.
  • To create programs which help in the development of scientific research for betterment of the world.
  • UNESCO is the advocate of freedom of speech for everyone and resists against the killing of journalists.
  • UNESCO provides monetary help to many programs for the development in many fields like training of teachers, scientific advancements, promotion of media and press for their freedom of expression, regional and cultural historical development, human rights etc.

The cultural conventions by UNESCO: The purpose of these conventions is to help preserve the natural and cultural heritage of the world.

  • Convention to stop trafficking of cultural property illicitly.( 1970)
  • Convention that helps preservation and protection of cultural and natural heritage throughout the World (1972)
  • Convention for the protection of Underwater Cultural Heritages throughout the World (2001)
  • International Declaration on Cultural Diversity (2001)
  • Convention for the protection and guarding the Intangible cultural heritages of the World (2003)
  • Convention to promote and protect the expression of cultural diversity throughout the World.( 2005)
  • UNESCO has a total of 1000 heritage sites in 167 countries and it’s a great value to the world.

International Days Assigned by UNESCO:

The purpose of these days is to promote and help people gain awareness about some specific cause. The days are as follows;

  • 27 January -International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust
  • 13 February -World Radio Day
  • 8 March -International Women’s Day
  • 22 March -World Water Day
  • 23 April -World Book and Copyright Day
  • 3 May -World Press Freedom Day
  • 25 May -Africa Day/ Africa Week
  • 5 June -World Environment Day
  • 12 August -International Youth Day
  • 15 September  -International Day of Democracy
  • 5 October -World Teachers Day
  • 16 November -International Day for Tolerance
  • 1 December -World AIDS Day

A lot of programs and functions are conducted on the day so that it creates awareness about a particular cause in the World.

Few of the important initiatives taken by UNESCO:

World Heritage Convention and List:

  • World heritage Convention consists of guidelines to protect and preserve world natural and cultural heritage. It began in 1972.
  • All the States parties of convention are motivated to take part in conducting regional programmes that help the preservation of natural and cultural heritage. They are encouraged to set up special staff and scientific research facilities to function well for the betterment of the cause on a regional level.
  • It governs how the World heritage fund should be used effectively.
  • There are 1121 sites currently in existence in 167 countries.

Man and biosphere programme:

  • It’s an international programme and its main purpose is to establish and promote human and nature connection. All the policies under this are to motivate humankind to preserve nature.
  • The World Network of Biosphere reserves is currently spread in 124 countries and has 701 sites.

International Geoscience and Global Geoparks Programme (IGGP):

  • It does all it takes to help geologists to get better in their knowledge and understanding about the globe so that they can contribute well for the future of planet earth.
  • It focuses on being responsible for using natural resources, surviving well against natural hazards, and how to adapt well to climate change.
  • Global Geoparks are the labs, and these labs promote the sustainability and development of Earth’s natural heritage throughout the World.
  • Currently there are 147 UNESCO Global Geoparks in 41 member states.

International Hydrological Programme (IHP):

  • In this programme, UNESCO focuses on water related research and education, for its better sustainably.

World Water Assessment Programme (WWAP):

  • In the growing global crisis of water throughout the world, which is a huge threat to our survival, this programme helps in preserving the fresh water resources in the World.
  • There are 31 members working under this programme.

FAQs about UNESCO:

Q1. When did India join UNESCO?

A1. India became a member of UNESCO in 1946.

Q2. Which country joined UNESCO recently?

A2. New Caledonia joined on 30 October 2017

Q3. Why is the USA not part of UNESCO?

 A3. The USA was a part of UNESCO but later in 1984, the US government withdrew its membership because the foreign policy of the US was not reconciling with the goals of UNESCO.

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