What is our mission?
Our mission since 1945 is to build peace through international cooperation as it is the only way to build bridges between nations. Therefore, as a laboratory of ideas, UNESCO seeks to offer a broad range of expertise in the fields of Education, the Sciences and Culture.
Education transforms lives and is at the heart of UNESCO’s mission to build peace, eradicate poverty and drive sustainable development. UNESCO believes that education is a human right for all throughout life and that access must be matched by quality. The Organization is the only United Nations agency with a mandate to cover all aspects of education. It has been entrusted to lead the Global Education 2030 Agenda through Sustainable Development Goal 4.
UNESCO provides global and regional leadership in education, strengthens education systems worldwide and responds to contemporary global challenges through education with gender equality as an underlying principle. Its work encompasses educational development from pre-school to higher education and beyond.
Creating knowledge and understanding through science equips us to find solutions to today’s acute economic, social and environmental challenges and to achieving sustainable development and greener societies. As no one country can achieve sustainable development alone, international scientific cooperation contributes, not only to scientific knowledge but also to building peace.
The Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (IOC) is the United Nations body responsible for supporting global ocean science and services. The IOC enables its 150 Member States to work together to protect the health of our shared ocean by coordinating programmes in areas such as ocean observations, tsunami warnings and marine spatial planning. Since it was established in 1960, the IOC has provided a focus for all other United Nations bodies that are working to understand and improve the management of our oceans, coasts and marine ecosystems. Today, the IOC is supporting all its Member States to build their scientific and institutional capacity in order to achieve the global goals including the UN Agenda 2030 and its Sustainable Development Goals, the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and the Sendai Framework on Disaster Risk Reduction.
From cherished historic monuments and museums to living heritage practices and contemporary art forms, culture enriches our lives in countless ways and helps build inclusive, innovative and resilient communities.
Protecting and safeguarding the world’s cultural and natural heritage and supporting creativity and dynamic cultural sectors are fundamental to addressing the challenges of our time, from climate change to poverty, inequality, the digital divide and ever more complex emergencies and conflicts. UNESCO is convinced that no development can be sustainable without a strong culture component. Indeed only a human-centred approach to development based on mutual respect and open dialogue among cultures can lead to lasting peace.
Communication & 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.
UNESCO's global priorities are Africa and Gender Equality. As such, UNESCO and development partners are attentive to 54 African countries with a stronger and better-targeted strategy. The African Renaissance is underway, with the adoption of the African Union Agenda 2063 and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development paving the ground for the African Economic Community. To this end, regional communities are consolidating ties.
Women make up more than two-thirds of the world's 750 million adults without basic literacy skills; women represent less than 30% of the world’s researchers; and women journalists are more exposed to assault, threat or physical, verbal or digital attack than their male counterparts.
UNESCO believes that all forms of discrimination based on gender are violations of human rights, as well as a significant barrier to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
Our message is clear: women and men must enjoy equal opportunities, choices, capabilities, power and knowledge as equal citizens. Equipping girls and boys, women and men with the knowledge, values, attitudes and skills to tackle gender disparities is a precondition to building a sustainable future for all.
Social and Human Sciences
In today’s increasingly diverse societies, UNESCO continues to accomplish every day its fundamental humanist mission to support people in understanding each other and working together to build lasting peace. UNESCO also helps to enable people to create and use knowledge for just and inclusive societies.