The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) was founded at the London conference on 16 November 1945.
The Constitution of UNESCO came into force on 4 November 1946 after ratification by twenty countries.
In December 1946 UNESCO was given the status of a specialized United Nations agency.
The General Conference is the primary decision-making body.
It holds the sessions every two years. Along with representatives of all Member States the sessions are assisted by the representatives of Associate Members and the observers from Non-Member States, international governmental and non-governmental organizations.
The General Conference determines the policies and main lines of work of the Organization, approves UNESCO’s programme and budget, elects the Executive Board, appoints the Director-General.
The working languages of the General Conference are English, Arabian, Spanish, Chinese, Russian, French.
The Executive Board exercises the overall management of the activities of the organization.
It is also responsible for preparing the work of the General Conference and for ensuring the implementation its decisions.
58 Member States of the Executive Board are elected by the General Conference with regard to the diversity of cultures and a balanced geographical distribution.
The Executive Board meets twice a year.
The UNESCO Secretariat is responsible for the implementation of the Programme approved by the General Conference.
The head of the Secretariat is the Director-General of UNESCO, who is appointed for 6 years.
Since 1999 the Director-General is Koпchiro Matsuura of Japan.
The headquarters of UNESCO is in Paris (France).
UNESCO is competent in the fields of Education, Natural Sciences, Social and Human Sciences, Culture, Communication and Information.
The purpose of the organization is to contribute to peace “founded upon the intellectual and moral solidarity of mankind”.
It is even more important now when the world is facing the threat of the terrorism directed against the mankind.
The mission of the UNESCO is to form a unified position concerning the global sustainable development based on the observance of human rights, mutual respect, eradication of poverty (The Medium-Term Strategy for 2002-2007).
Within its mandate the UNESCO is actively engaged in the activities aimed at:
• developing and promoting universal principles and norms, based on shared values, in order to meet emerging challenges in education, science, culture and communication and to protect and strengthen the “common public good” ;
• promoting pluralism, through recognition and safeguarding of diversity together with the observance of human rights;
• promoting empowerment and participation in the emerging knowledge society through equitable access, capacity-building and sharing of knowledge.
Through its activities the UNESCO actively contributing to the achievement of the goals set in The United Nations Millennium Declaration of September 2000, namely:
• halve the proportion of people living in extreme poverty in developing countries by 2015;
• achieve universal primary education in all countries by 2015;
• eliminate gender disparity in primary and secondary education by 2005;
• help countries implement a national strategy for sustainable development by 2005.