United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO): Aims and Missions
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) was created in order to respond to the firm belief of nations in 1945, forged by two world wars in less than a generation that political and economic agreements are not enough to build a lasting peace. Peace must be established on the basis of humanity’s moral and intellectual solidarity. It seeks to encourage the identification, protection and preservation of cultural and natural heritage around the world considered to be of outstanding value to humanity. This is embodied in an international treaty called the Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, adopted by UNESCO in 1972.
The Constitution of UNESCO was signed in London on 16th Nov., 1945 by 37 countries and the organisation came into force in November, 1946 with the following premix: "Since war begins in the mind of men, it is the mind of men that the defence of peace must be constructed."
It became the part of the UN system in Dec. 1946. It has dedicated aim as under:
(a) Its primary objective is to contribute by peace and security in the world.
(b) To promote collaboration among the nations through education, science, communication and culture so that universal respect for justice, rule of law, human rights and fundamental freedoms are affirmed all over the world.
Aims and Missions of UNESCO
In order to realise the aim, UNESCO has devoted itself to the following field of activities:
(a) Education: UNESCO extends various supports and promotes national projects in order to renovate educational system, thereby developing educational strategies towards a goal of life 'education for all'. It focuses in the following areas:
- To promote basic education for all.
- To expand access to basic education.
- To improve the quality of basic education.
- Education for the 21st Century.
(b) Science: It promotes inter- national scientific co-operation and encourages scientific research with a view to improve living conditions. For this purpose, UNESCO undertakes following actions:
- Science co-operation offices have been opened in Cairo, Jakarta, Nairobi, New Delhi, Montevideo and Vienna.
- A science in the service of Development Programme has the objective to provide support in the field of higher education, advanced training and research in natural and social sciences and help in the application of these features to secure development.
- It lays emphasis on issues like peace, human rights, youth, and management of social transformation, human genome and biosphere.
(c) Communication: UNESCO activates itself to promote the free flow of information, freedom of expression, press freedom, media independences and pluralism. It provides advice in order to insure the scope and charity of press, film and radio service all over the world.
(d) Culture: The UNESCO gears itself in conducting research on the luck of culture with development. It takes action to ensure conservation and protection of the world's cultural inheritance. For this purpose, it helps the states to study and preserve both the physical and non-physical heritage of their societies.
Governing Bodies of UNESCO
- The General Conference consists of the representatives of UNESCO's Member States. It meets every two years, and is attended by Member States and Associate Members, together with observers for non-Member States, intergovernmental organizations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Each country has one vote, irrespective of its size or the extent of its contribution to the budget.
It determines the policies and the main lines of work of the Organization. Its duty is to set the programmes and the budget of UNESCO. It also elects the Members of the Executive Board and appoints, every four years, the Director-General. The working languages of the General Conference are Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish.
- The Executive Board ensures the overall management of UNESCO. It prepares the work of the General Conference and sees that its decisions are properly carried out. The functions and responsibilities of the Executive Board are derived primarily from the Constitution and from rules or directives laid down by the General Conference.
Every two years the General Conference assigns specific tasks to the Board. Other functions stem from agreements concluded between UNESCO and the United Nations, the specialized UN agencies and other intergovernmental organizations.
The Executive Board’s fifty-eight members are elected by the General Conference. The choice of these representatives is largely a matter of the diversity of the cultures they represent, as well as their geographic origin. Skilful negotiations may be needed before a balance is reached among the different regions of the world in a way that will reflect the universality of the Organization. The Executive Board meets twice a year.
How UNESCO works?
The Bureau of Strategic Planning (BSP) is the central focal point of UNESCO for all strategic, programmatic and budgeting issues, as well as for cooperation with extra budgetary funding sources and public-private partnerships (PPPs), and it provides advice to the Director-General on all these matters.
Responsibilities of the Bureau of Strategic Planning (BSP)
- Preparation and monitoring of the UNESCO Medium-Term Strategy and the biennial Programme and Budget of the Organization.
- Implementation of the principles of the results-based management and the risk management approaches.
- Monitoring of the implementation of the approved programme and its work plans through regular reviews to assess progress towards the expected results, and report thereon periodically to the governing bodies in the context of the statutory reports.
- leading and coordination of UNESCO’s participation in and contribution to United Nations system inter-agency activities, in particular concerning global programme issues, and those aiming to enhance system-wide coherence, globally, regionally and at the country levels.
- Integration of a future-oriented approach and foresight in all the fields of competence of the Organization.
- Monitoring the implementation of the programme activities related to the two global priorities of the Organization, Gender Equality and Africa.
- Promotion of South-South and North-South-South cooperation; support to the least developed countries (LDCs); the small island developing states (SIDS); the most vulnerable segments of society; indigenous peoples; countries in post-conflict and post-disaster situations and to countries in transition as well as middle-income countries.
- Coordination and backstopping for the inter-sectoral platforms.
- Leading the inter-sectoral and interdisciplinary programme of action for a culture of peace and non-violence.
- Monitoring the implementation of the integrated comprehensive strategy for category 2 institutes and centres.
- Management of the System of Information on Strategies, Tasks and the Evaluation of Results (SISTER) and provisions of capacity training programmes for staff and permanent delegations.