Last update: 20 April 2023

The United Nations has reformed itself to better respond to the needs of its Member States through the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Adopted in September 2015, the SDGs represent the new global agenda, aimed at improving the lives of people around the world by 2030 through efforts to foster coherence, efficiency and enhanced high-quality delivery.

UNESCO is engaged and committed to this reform in order to guarantee Member States access to the full range of competences existing in the UN system. UN Reform is both a challenge and an opportunity for UNESCO, and is having a major impact on the Organization’s action at the global, regional and country levels.

At the global level, UNESCO is an active participant in the global coordination mechanisms of the system, notably in the Chief Executives Board for coordination (CEB) and its three pillars:

High Level Committee on Programmes (HLCP)
High Level Committee on Management (HLCM)
United Nations Development Group (UNDG)
The Global Goals

Sustainable Development Goals

Sustainable Development Goals

The SDGs comprise seventeen ambitious, interdependent goals based on core concepts such as inclusion, integration and universality. These goals are beacons for governments as well as the private sector, civil society, and even individual citizens, so they can all participate in this common project that aims to eradicate poverty, protect the planet and guarantee prosperity for all.


As an active member of this global coalition, UNESCO contributes more specifically to the implementation of nine SDGs in the areas for which its expertise and leadership are recognized. Although none of the objectives are specifically attributed to culture, its role is considered a key factor in the implementation of the entire Agenda.

Against the backdrop of poverty eradication (SDG 1) and inequality reduction (SDG 10), and based on partnerships for SDG achievement (SDG 17), the Organization is notably in charge of coordinating the 2030 Education agenda, aimed at fair and inclusive quality education and the promotion of lifelong learning opportunities for all (SDG 4).

Throughout all its programmes, UNESCO is intensifying its efforts to advance gender equality and empower women and girls (SDG 5) in terms of access to education, the participation of women in decision-making (especially in science), the promotion of women as agents of social change, and in the fight against violence towards women.

With the help of its research programmes on water-resource management and on scientific and technological capacity-building, the Organization is improving secure access to drinking water (SDG 6) and participating in the recognition of science, technology and innovation in sustainable development (SDG 9). It promotes better knowledge of the oceans, participates in strengthening capacities to sustainably manage oceans and coastlines (SDG 14); supports the protection and sustainable use of biodiversity as well as the management of natural resources, through world heritage sites and biosphere reserves (SDG 15). It also supports efforts to adapt to and mitigate climate change (SDG 13).

UNESCO actively participates in the creation of inclusive, safe and resilient cities, targeting, among other things, the conservation of humanity’s cultural and natural heritage (SDG 11). The Organization is also working to ensure public access to information, the safety of journalists, and the promotion of good governance and the rule of law (SDG 16).

Agenda 2030: challenges for us all
Apr. - June 2017