UNESCO is the UN specialized agency building peace in the minds of people through education, the sciences, culture, communication and information. Our mission is to foster intercultural dialogue and sustainable development, by promoting the free flow of ideas.
By adopting a multi-disciplinary and inclusive approach, UNESCO works with both duty-bearers and rights-holders across the world to develop and implement targeted actions that are born out of local needs, which ensures a holistic and results-based approach for sustainable change.
In the field of communication and information, UNESCO defends and promotes freedom of expression, media independence and pluralism, and the building of inclusive knowledge societies underpinned by universal access to information and the innovative use of digital technologies.
Through capacity-building, policy advice, international cooperation, monitoring and foresight in the fields of freedom of expression, access to information, and digital transformation, UNESCO will continue to empower key actors with a view to ensuring that fundamental freedoms are guaranteed online and offline, in line with international standards.
This is all the more relevant to ensure the ethical development and use of emerging technologies, which have a growing impact on all aspects of the world’s societies. Citizens will also be empowered to enjoy these fundamental freedoms through the development of 21st century skills and the fostering of enabling environments for media pluralism and diversity.
At a time of profound transformation, inequality and upheaval, UNESCO has redoubled its efforts to ensure freedom of expression, access to information and inclusive digital development worldwide. However, much more remains to be done. We call on all Member States and partners to join us and support our action to make sure communication and information can be maintained as a common good and a cornerstone of healthy, democratic societies.
UNESCO and Agenda 2030
Global Priority Gender Equality
Gender equality is an essential component of UNESCO’s work and vision. For UNESCO, gender equality refers to the equal rights, responsibilities and opportunities of women and men and girls and boys.
It implies that the interests, needs and priorities of both women and men are taken into consideration, recognizing the diversity of different groups among women and men.
Achieving gender equality means overcoming systemic, skewed power dynamics and societal vulnerabilities. It requires the reimagining and remaking of structures and systems. By recognizing the challenges at hand and taking a transversal, thematic approach across its mandate, UNESCO and its partners aims to contribute to a dynamic global agenda to advance human rights and gender equality in all its fields of competence.
UNESCO’s work in the area of communication and information lays a particular emphasis on overcoming gender imbalances. This include promoting gender equality in media policies, practice and content, and enhancing the safety of women journalists online and offline; building capacities and knowledge of women and girls in digital technologies; and reinforcing gender inclusive access to information and knowledge, including through documentary heritage.
Read more: UNESCO’s Priority Gender Equality Action Plan 2014-2021
Global Priority Africa
Africa is a longstanding priority for UNESCO. It is the youngest continent in the world in terms of youth population - home to a fifth of the world’s young people and around 75% of the population are under 35.
As such, a focus on Africa is integrated throughout the Organization’s programmes. Adopting a transversal approach, with a particular focus on youth and gender equality, UNESCO aims to contribute to the achievement of “Agenda 2063 – The Africa We Want”, and its vision of:
“[a]n integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in the global arena”.
Through targeted actions and by mainstreaming Africa as a priority, UNESCO addresses major challenges related to demographic growth, social transformation, democratic governance, and sustainable development and economic growth.
Through its projects and activities in the field of communication and information, UNESCO supports three key lines of action in support of Global Priority Africa: contributing to a culture of peace and non-violence; promoting an environment conducive to freedom of expression and media development; and harnessing the power of innovation and technology, including Artificial Intelligence, to promote sustainable and inclusive development.
Read more: UNESCO’s Operational Strategy for Priority Africa 2014-2021