The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations. Officially, UNESCO has existed since November 4, 1946, when the Charter of the Organization, signed on November 16, 1945 by representatives of 44 states at the founding conference in London, entered into force (after ratification by twenty countries). UNESCO replaced the International Institute for Intellectual Cooperation, founded on August 9, 1925.
UNESCO has 193 member countries and 11 associate members.
The headquarters of the Organization is located in Paris (France).
The official languages of UNESCO are English, Arabic, Spanish, Chinese, Russian and French. The working languages of the Secretariat are English and French.
The governing bodies of UNESCO are the General Conference and the Executive Council.
The highest body of UNESCO is the General Conference, which consists of representatives of the Member States and convenes in regular sessions every two years. The General Conference determines the directions and general line of activity of the Organization, approves the medium-term strategy and its program and budget for two years, approves drafts of international conventions and recommendations, appoints the Director General (on the recommendation of the Executive Board), elects members of the Executive Board. .
The Executive Council, composed of 58 representatives of UNESCO Member States, coordinates its activities between sessions of the General Conference. Meetings of the Executive Board are held twice a year. It reviews and submits to the General Conference draft biennial programs and medium-term strategic directions of the Organization, determines measures for effective implementation of approved programs and budgets, prepares the agenda of the General Conference, makes recommendations on admission of new members and associates with new partners.
The UNESCO Secretariat is a permanent executive body. It is chaired by the Director-General, who is appointed by the General Conference for a four-year term. The Secretariat consists of specialists from different countries, recruited on the basis of the principle of uniform geographical representation, but taking into account their professional competence. Structurally, it is divided into sectors according to the main activities of UNESCO. The Secretariat employs more than 2,000 professionals from 130 countries.
According to the Charter, the main task of UNESCO is to promote peace and security by enhancing cooperation between peoples in the fields of education, science and culture, as well as instilling in the minds of the need to protect peace. The organization is a kind of intellectual forum, whose special mandate is based on the postulate that peace and stability of society should be based on the moral and intellectual solidarity of mankind. Thus, UNESCO's mission is to strengthen the intellectual and moral solidarity of mankind, and thus to create a humanitarian foundation for a comprehensive system of international security and stability.
The main areas of competence of UNESCO are:
education - from preschool to higher and continuous, including adult education, preventive, special, vocational and environmental; natural, basic sciences and humanities; culture and international cultural cooperation; mass media, information and communication.
The practical activities of UNESCO are based on a medium-term plan of 6 years. In turn, such a plan is based on three two-year programs. The specific work of the Organization is carried out in the following main areas:
I - Education.
II - Natural Sciences.
III - Social and Human Sciences.
IV - Culture.
V - Information and Communication.