Cuba joined UNESCO in August 1947.
The capital Havana hosts the Regional Bureau for Culture in Latin America and the Caribbean (ORCALC), which in February 2005 celebrated its 50th anniversary. This office also covers the Dominican Republic and Aruba.
The 5th International Congress on Culture and Development was held June 2007 in Havana, focusing on ways to implement UNESCO’s Convention on the Protection and Promotion of Cultural Diversity.
Cuba’s record on literacy and education is noteworthy: 99.8 percent of Cubans aged over 15 are literate, a rate that reaches 100 percent for those in the 15 to 24 age range.
Havana’s historic centre has been included on the World Heritage List since 1982. Cuba has a total of eight sites – six cultural, two natural – listed.
In 1994, at Cuba’s initiative, UNESCO created the José Marti International Prize, awarded for contributions to the unity of Latin American and Caribbean countries and the preservation of their identities, cultural traditions and historical values.
There are six Biosphere Reserves in the country linked to the Man and the Biosphere (MAB) programme.