Brief information about the organization
A specialized agency of the UN, UNESCO is the world’s largest intergovernmental forum in the fields of education, science, culture, information and communication. The Constitution of the Organization was signed on 16 November, 1945, in London. On November 4, 1946, UNESCO officially came into force with 20 member states.
Currently UNESCO comprises of 195 Member States and ten Associate Member States. It closely cooperates with the UN and other specialized agencies. UNESCO also works in partnership with other leading intergovernmental organizations (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, OSCE, the African Union, the League of Arab States, ISESCO, TURKSOY, and others). At the same time, UNESCO actively cooperates with hundreds of leading international and non-governmental organizations.
Three principal bodies of UNESCO are the General Conference, the Executive Board and the Secretariat.
The General Conference is UNESCO’s supreme governing body. Its ordinary sessions are held every two years. Each country has one vote, irrespective of its size or the extent of its contribution to the budget. The General Conference determines strategic directions of UNESCO’s activities.
The Executive Board ensures the overall management of UNESCO. It prepares work of the General Conference and controls that its decisions are properly carried out. Functions and responsibilities of the Executive Board are derived primarily from the Constitution and rules or guidelines issued by the General Conference. The Executive Board of 58 members are elected by the General Conference. This choice is largely a matter of geography and diversity of cultures represented by UNESCO member states. The Executive Board meets twice a year.
The Secretariat is a permanent executive body of UNESCO. It is based in Paris, France. The Secretariat employs civil servants from 170 UNESCO Member States.
Irina Bokova (Bulgaria) has been the Director-General of UNESCO since 15 November 2009.
UNESCO,along with its Headquarters in Paris operates a worldwide network of regional bureaus, institutes and centers.