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UNESCO Publications Board

The UNESCO Publications Board was established in 2011 to guide and strengthen publishing activities at headquarters and in the field. The Board has overall responsibility for UNESCO’s publications plan. Its mandate is to provide a coherent and cost-effective strategic vision to optimize the quality and visibility of UNESCO’s outputs.

The Board meets monthly to review proposed publications and to promote best practices, including strategies towards moving to electronic delivery in line with United Nations policy. The roundtable format ensures transparency and cooperation across the organization with regards to publication projects, policies and practices.

Review of publication proposals

Review of policies and development of guidelines


See also: Item 13.5A of the Administrative Manual: UNESCO Publications Board - Terms of Reference

What kinds of projects should be submitted to the Publications Board?

All publication projects should be submitted:

"UNESCO publications consist of substantive material published for external audiences. A UNESCO publication published in print or electronic form carries an ISBN or ISSN and usually has an identified author or authors. Major UNESCO documents published in volume form may be considered as UNESCO publications, with the Organization as corporate author (e.g. Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity). UNESCO publications are issued by UNESCO alone or jointly by UNESCO and an outside publisher. They include both free and for-sale publications. UNESCO is legally responsible for the content."

UNESCO Publications Guidelines, p. 95

All proposed series and each individual title within a series should be submitted:

  • Every proposed UNESCO series should be submitted to the Publications Board for approval using the standard submission form.
  • If several individual titles in the series are already foreseen for the current biennium, they should be included on the series submission form. Details on each planned title must be provided in the summary information section (Q17) including: specific objectives, authors, number of pages, planned language versions, expected launch date, and any other relevant information. The series and its titles will be discussed by the Board at the same time.
  • The total budget detailed in the submission form should be the sum of every planned title’s individual budget.

All proposals to produce communication materials of more than 16 pages should be submitted:

"UNESCO communication materials are based on the content of UNESCO publications and documents and are published for a specific external audience in print and/or electronic form for the purpose of communicating about UNESCO’s aims/ activities and heightening the visibility of the Organization. Such materials pay particular attention to format, presentation and graphic design and are written in a specific language adapted to the target audience. UNESCO communication materials do not bear the name of the author(s). UNESCO communication materials have a specific code. UNESCO is legally responsible for the content."

UNESCO Publications Guidelines, p. 98

ISBN numbers

The criteria outlined in section 2.8 of the UNESCO Publications Guidelines continue to apply to all publication and communication materials:

  • ISBN numbers are assigned to all UNESCO publications whether printed or published online. Every new edition (i.e. including new, substantial changes) should receive a new ISBN number. Reprints should continue to use the same ISBN number. ERI/DPI/PBM is responsible for assigning ISBN numbers upon requests from UNESCO staff.
  • No ISBN number will be assigned if the publication project has not been submitted to and approved by the Publications Board beforehand.
  • UNESCO communications materials, regardless of length, do not require ISBN or ISSN numbers unless they are to be sold and distributed through commercial channels.

UNESCO staff members: To apply for an ISBN for your publication, please complete the ISBN Form on IMMT.

Publication Resources

  • Online Bookshop
    Presents titles currently for sale in English, French, Spanish, Russian, Chinese and Arabic published or co-published by UNESCO. These include books, multimedia (DVDs, CD-Roms, VHS videos), periodicals, and scientific maps for professionals.
  • UNESDOC database
    Contains 120 000 free downloadable documents in six official languages covering all UNESCO fields of competence since 1945 and most of the publications edited by the Organization.
  • Library
    The UNESCO Library provides reference and information services, including research, to the Organization as a whole, as well as to the general public with an interest in UNESCO's fields of competence.
  • Archives
    This website presents the UNESCO Archives, which document the Organization’s history and provides access to all official correspondence, documents, publications, multimedia and electronic records.