Mauritania joined UNESCO on January 10, 1962 and is coordinated by the UNESCO Office Rabat, along with Algeria, the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Morocco and Tunisia.
In 2001, Mauritania launched a 10-year national plan to reform its education system. In the framework of Education for All, it participates in the Fast Track Initiative and the Literacy Initiative for Empowerment. During a visit by UNESCO’s Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura in 2007, a further accord was signed to support education in the country.
Active in heritage protection, the country has one cultural site - the ancient Sahara Desert trading centres of Ouadane, Chinguetti, Tichitt and Oualata - and one natural site - the Banc d'Arguin National Park - inscribed on the World Heritage list. To promote intangible heritage, Mauritania launched its “living human treasures” system in 2007.
UNESCO has developed close cooperation with institutions in Mauritania concerned by renewable energies, especially the national agency ADER (Agence de Développement de l’Electrification Rurale).
Mauritania participates in the Ocean Data and Information Network for Africa, and has set up a National Oceanographic Data and Information Centre (NODC).