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The Participation Programme


  • Luther Evans UNESCO Director General (1953-1958) © UNESCO

First appearance
During his introduction of the 9 C/5, in 1957, the Director-General of UNESCO at the time, Luther Evans, stated his belief that many of UNESCO’s initiatives in the field of special activities should “… cross over to the Participation Programme...” It was during the first Biennium of 1957-1958 that the term “Participation Programme” was used for the first time in UNESCO’s Programme and Budget.

The legal text
The basic legal, technical, administrative and financial text establishing the Participation Programme is to be found in 10 C/Resolution 7.31 adopted by the General Conference at its 11th session (14 November-15 December 1960), which was improved and expanded at its 12th session (9 November-12 December 1962, 12 C/Resolution 7.B.21). UNESCO’s membership then stood at 109. In the early 1960s, the accession to independence of a large number of former colonies may have been a factor in the establishment of this programme.

Basic Principles
Resolution 12 C/7.21 had the merit of laying down in specific terms the basic principles of the Participation Programme together with the criteria, eligibility conditions and relevant procedure. This basic text adopted in 1962 was improved and expanded at subsequent sessions of the General Conference, in particular in 1976, 1980, 1997, 2003 and 2005.

A complementary Programme
The participation Programme is in no way a substitute for the regular programme; it is to be seen as rather complementing it by enabling Member States to carry out important projects, particularly in the organisation’s main areas of competence. Through this programme UNESCO aims to:

  • Achieve its objectives by participating in the sub-regional, inter-regional and regional projects, lead by its Member States and directly related to the activities of the Organization;
  • Strengthen the partnership between the Organization and its Member States as well as between the Organization and International Non-Governmental Organizations;
  • Boost the actions of the National Commissions for UNESCO;
  • Achieve better visibility of UNESCO’s action in its Member States

Europe and North America Latin America and the Caribbean Africa Arab States Asia Pacific