UNESCO

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO;[1] French: Organisation des Nations unies pour l'éducation, la science et la culture) is a specialized agency of the United Nations (UN) based in Paris. Its declared purpose is to contribute to peace and security by promoting international collaboration through educational, scientific, and cultural reforms in order to increase universal respect for justice, the rule of law, and human rights along with fundamental freedom proclaimed in the United Nations Charter.[2] It is the successor of the League of Nations' International Committee on Intellectual Cooperation.

UNESCO has 193 member states and 11 associate members.[3] Most of its field offices are "cluster" offices covering three or more countries; national and regional offices also exist.

UNESCO pursues its objectives through five major programs: education, natural sciences, social/human sciences, culture and communication/information. Projects sponsored by UNESCO include literacy, technical, and teacher-training programs, international science programs, the promotion of independent media and freedom of the press, regional and cultural history projects, the promotion of cultural diversity, translations of world literature, international cooperation agreements to secure the world's cultural and natural heritage (World Heritage Sites) and to preserve human rights, and attempts to bridge the worldwide digital divide. It is also a member of the United Nations Development Group.[4]

UNESCO's aim is "to contribute to the building of peace, the eradication of poverty, sustainable development and intercultural dialogue through education, the sciences, culture, communication and information".[5] Other priorities of the organization include attaining quality Education For All and lifelong learning, addressing emerging social and ethical challenges, fostering cultural diversity, a culture of peace and building inclusive knowledge societies through information and communication.[6]

The broad goals and objectives of the international community—as set out in the internationally agreed development goals, including the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)—underpin all UNESCO strategies and activities.

UNESCO
Emblem of the United Nations
UNESCO logo English
AbbreviationUNESCO
Formation4 November 1946
TypeUnited Nations specialised agency
Legal statusActive
HeadquartersParis, France
Head
Director-General
Audrey Azoulay
Parent organization
United Nations Economic and Social Council
Websitewww.unesco.org
UN emblem blue.svg United Nations portal

History

UNESCO and its mandate for international cooperation can be traced back to a League of Nations resolution on 21 September 1921, to elect a Commission to study feasibility.[7][8] On 18 December 1925, the International Bureau of Education (IBE) began work as a non-governmental organization in the service of international educational development.[9] However, the onset of World War II largely interrupted the work of these predecessor organizations.

After the signing of the Atlantic Charter and the Declaration of the United Nations, the Conference of Allied Ministers of Education (CAME) began meetings in London which continued from 16 November 1942 to 5 December 1945. On 30 October 1943, the necessity for an international organization was expressed in the Moscow Declaration, agreed upon by China, the United Kingdom, the United States and the USSR. This was followed by the Dumbarton Oaks Conference proposals of 9 October 1944. Upon the proposal of CAME and in accordance with the recommendations of the United Nations Conference on International Organization (UNCIO), held in San Francisco in April–June 1945, a United Nations Conference for the establishment of an educational and cultural organization (ECO/CONF) was convened in London 1–16 November 1945 with 44 governments represented. The idea of UNESCO was largely developed by Rab Butler, the Minister of Education for the United Kingdom, who had a great deal of influence in its development.[10] At the ECO/CONF, the Constitution of UNESCO was introduced and signed by 37 countries, and a Preparatory Commission was established.[11] The Preparatory Commission operated between 16 November 1945, and 4 November 1946—the date when UNESCO's Constitution came into force with the deposit of the twentieth ratification by a member state.[12]

The first General Conference took place from 19 November to 10 December 1946, and elected Dr. Julian Huxley to Director-General.[13] The Constitution was amended in November 1954 when the General Conference resolved that members of the Executive Board would be representatives of the governments of the States of which they are nationals and would not, as before, act in their personal capacity.[14] This change in governance distinguished UNESCO from its predecessor, the CICI, in how member states would work together in the organization's fields of competence. As member states worked together over time to realize UNESCO's mandate, political and historical factors have shaped the organization's operations in particular during the Cold War, the decolonization process, and the dissolution of the USSR.

Among the major achievements of the organization is its work against racism, for example through influential statements on race starting with a declaration of anthropologists (among them was Claude Lévi-Strauss) and other scientists in 1950[15] and concluding with the 1978 Declaration on Race and Racial Prejudice.[16] In 1956, the Republic of South Africa withdrew from UNESCO saying that some of the organization's publications amounted to "interference" in the country's "racial problems."[17] South Africa rejoined the organization in 1994 under the leadership of Nelson Mandela.

UNESCO's early work in the field of education included the pilot project on fundamental education in the Marbial Valley, Haiti, started in 1947.[18] This project was followed by expert missions to other countries, including, for example, a mission to Afghanistan in 1949.[19] In 1948, UNESCO recommended that Member States should make free primary education compulsory and universal.[20] In 1990, the World Conference on Education for All, in Jomtien, Thailand, launched a global movement to provide basic education for all children, youths and adults.[21] Ten years later, the 2000 World Education Forum held in Dakar, Senegal, led member governments to commit to achieving basic education for all by 2015.[22]

UNESCO's early activities in culture included, for example, the Nubia Campaign, launched in 1960.[23] The purpose of the campaign was to move the Great Temple of Abu Simbel to keep it from being swamped by the Nile after construction of the Aswan Dam. During the 20-year campaign, 22 monuments and architectural complexes were relocated. This was the first and largest in a series of campaigns including Mohenjo-daro (Pakistan), Fes (Morocco), Kathmandu (Nepal), Borobudur (Indonesia) and the Acropolis (Greece). The organization's work on heritage led to the adoption, in 1972, of the Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage.[24] The World Heritage Committee was established in 1976 and the first sites inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1978.[25] Since then important legal instruments on cultural heritage and diversity have been adopted by UNESCO member states in 2003 (Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage[26]) and 2005 (Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions[27]).

An intergovernmental meeting of UNESCO in Paris in December 1951 led to the creation of the European Council for Nuclear Research, which was responsible for establishing the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN)[28] in 1954.

Arid Zone programming, 1948–1966, is another example of an early major UNESCO project in the field of natural sciences.[29] In 1968, UNESCO organized the first intergovernmental conference aimed at reconciling the environment and development, a problem which continues to be addressed in the field of sustainable development. The main outcome of the 1968 conference was the creation of UNESCO's Man and the Biosphere Programme.[30]

In the field of communication, the "free flow of ideas by word and image" has been in UNESCO's constitution from its beginnings, following the experience of the Second World War when control of information was a factor in indoctrinating populations for aggression.[31] In the years immediately following World War II, efforts were concentrated on reconstruction and on the identification of needs for means of mass communication around the world. UNESCO started organizing training and education for journalists in the 1950s.[32] In response to calls for a "New World Information and Communication Order" in the late 1970s, UNESCO established the International Commission for the Study of Communication Problems,[33] which produced the 1980 MacBride report (named after the Chair of the Commission, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate Seán MacBride).[34] The same year, UNESCO created the International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC), a multilateral forum designed to promote media development in developing countries.[35][36] In 1991, UNESCO's General Conference endorsed the Windhoek Declaration on media independence and pluralism, which led the UN General Assembly to declare the date of its adoption, 3 May, as World Press Freedom Day.[37] Since 1997, UNESCO has awarded the UNESCO / Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize every 3 May. In the lead up to the World Summit on the Information Society in 2003 (Geneva) and 2005 (Tunis), UNESCO introduced the Information for All Programme.

UNESCO admitted Palestine as a member in 2011.[38][39] Laws passed in the United States in 1990 and 1994 mean that it cannot contribute financially to any UN organisation that accepts Palestine as a full member.[40] As a result, it withdrew its funding which accounted for about 22% of UNESCO's budget.[41] Israel also reacted to Palestine's admittance to UNESCO by freezing Israel payments to the UNESCO and imposing sanctions to the Palestinian Authority,[42] stating that Palestine's admittance would be detrimental "to potential peace talks".[43] Two years after they stopped paying their dues to UNESCO, US and Israel lost UNESCO voting rights in 2013 without losing the right to be elected; thus, the US was elected as a member of the Executive Board for the period 2016–19.[44]

Activities

UNESCO Brasília Office
UNESCO offices in Brasília

UNESCO implements its activities through the five programme areas: education, natural sciences, social and human sciences, culture, and communication and information.

  • Education: UNESCO supports research in comparative education; and provide expertise and fosters partnerships to strengthen national educational leadership and the capacity of countries to offer quality education for all. This includes the

UNESCO does not accredit institutions of higher learning.[45]

The UNESCO transparency portal has been designed to enable public access to information regarding Organization's activities, such as its aggregate budget for a biennium, as well as links to relevant programmatic and financial documents. These two distinct sets of information are published on the IATI registry, respectively based on the IATI Activity Standard and the IATI Organization Standard.

There have been proposals to establish two new UNESCO lists. The first proposed list will focus on movable cultural heritage such as artifacts, paintings, and biofacts. The list may include cultural objects, such as the Jōmon Venus of Japan, the Mona Lisa of France, the Gebel el-Arak Knife of Egypt, The Ninth Wave of Russia, the Seated Woman of Çatalhöyük of Turkey, the David (Michelangelo) of Italy, the Mathura Herakles of India, the Manunggul Jar of the Philippines, the Crown of Baekje of South Korea, The Hay Wain of the United Kingdom and the Benin Bronzes of Nigeria. The second proposed list will focus on the world's living species, such as the Komodo Dragon of Indonesia, the Panda of China, the Bald eagle of North American countries, the Aye-aye of Madagascar, the Asiatic Lion of India, the Kakapo of New Zealand, and the Mountain tapir of Colombia, Ecuador and Peru.[62][63]

Media

UNESCO and its specialized institutions issue a number of magazines.

The UNESCO Courier magazine states its mission to "promote UNESCO's ideals, maintain a platform for the dialogue between cultures and provide a forum for international debate." Since March 2006 it is available online, with limited printed issues. Its articles express the opinions of the authors which are not necessarily the opinions of UNESCO. There was a hiatus in publishing between 2012 and 2017.[64]

In 1950, UNESCO initiated the quarterly review Impact of Science on Society (also known as Impact) to discuss the influence of science on society. The journal ceased publication in 1992.[65] UNESCO also published museum international quarterly from the year 1948.

Official UNESCO NGOs

UNESCO has official relations with 322 international non-governmental organizations (NGOs).[66] Most of these are what UNESCO calls "operational"; a select few are "formal".[67] The highest form of affiliation to UNESCO is "formal associate", and the 22 NGOs[68] with formal associate (ASC) relations occupying offices at UNESCO are:

Abbr Organization
IB International Baccalaureate
CCIVS Co-ordinating Committee for International Voluntary Service
EI Education International
IAU International Association of Universities
IFTC International Council for Film, Television and Audiovisual Communication
ICPHS International Council for Philosophy and Humanistic Studies which publishes Diogenes
ICSU International Council for Science
ICOM International Council of Museums
ICSSPE International Council of Sport Science and Physical Education
ICA International Council on Archives
ICOMOS International Council on Monuments and Sites
IFJ International Federation of Journalists
IFLA International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions
IFPA International Federation of Poetry Associations
IMC International Music Council
IPA International Police Association
INSULA International Scientific Council for Island Development
ISSC International Social Science Council
ITI International Theatre Institute
IUCN International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources
IUTAO International Union of Technical Associations and Organizations
UIA Union of International Associations
WAN World Association of Newspapers
WFEO World Federation of Engineering Organizations
WFUCA World Federation of UNESCO Clubs, Centres and Associations

Institutes and centres

The institutes are specialized departments of the organization that support UNESCO's programme, providing specialized support for cluster and national offices.

Abbr Name Location
IBE International Bureau of Education Geneva[69]
UIL UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning Hamburg[70]
IIEP UNESCO International Institute for Educational Planning Paris (headquarters) and Buenos Aires and Dakar (regional offices)[71]
IITE UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in Education Moscow[72]
IICBA UNESCO International Institute for Capacity Building in Africa Addis Ababa[73]
IESALC UNESCO International Institute for Higher Education in Latin America and the Caribbean Caracas[74]
UNESCO-UNEVOC UNESCO-UNEVOC International Centre for Technical and Vocational Education and Training Bonn[75]
UNESCO-IHE UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education Delft[76]
ICTP International Centre for Theoretical Physics Trieste[77]
UIS UNESCO Institute for Statistics Montreal[78]

Prizes

UNESCO awards 22 prizes[79] in education, science, culture and peace:

Inactive prizes

International Days observed at UNESCO

International Days observed at UNESCO is provided in the table given below[80]

Date Name
27 January International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust
13 February World Radio Day
21 February International Mother Language Day
8 March International Women's Day
20 March International Francophonie Day
21 March International Day of Nowruz
21 March World Poetry Day
21 March International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
22 March World Day for Water
23 April World Book and Copyright Day
30 April International Jazz Day
3 May World Press Freedom Day
21 May World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development
22 May International Day for Biological Diversity
25 May Africa Day / Africa Week
5 June World Environment Day
8 June World Oceans Day
17 June World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought
9 August International Day of the World's Indigenous People
12 August International Youth Day
23 August International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition
8 September International Literacy Day
15 September International Day of Democracy
21 September International Day of Peace
28 September International Day for the Universal Access to Information
2nd October International Day of Non-Violence
5th October World Teachers' Day
2nd Wednesday in October International Day for Disaster Reduction
17 October International Day for the Eradication of Poverty
20 October World Statistics Day
27 October World Day for Audiovisual Heritage
2 November International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists[81]
10 November World Science Day for Peace and Development
3rd Thursday in November World Philosophy Day
16 November International Day for Tolerance
19 November International Men's Day
25 November International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women
29 November International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People
1 December World AIDS Day
10 December Human Rights Day
18 December International Migrants Day

Member states

As of January 2019, UNESCO has 195 member states and 11 associate members.[82] Some members are not independent states and some members have additional National Organizing Committees from some of their dependent territories.[83] UNESCO state parties are the United Nations member states (except Liechtenstein, United States[84] and Israel[85]), as well as Cook Islands, Niue and Palestine.[86][87] The United States and Israel left UNESCO on 31 December 2018.[88]

Governing bodies

Director-General

There has been no elected UNESCO Director-General from Southeast Asia, South Asia, Central and North Asia, Middle East, North Africa, East Africa, Central Africa, South Africa, Australia-Oceania, and South America since inception.

The Directors-General of UNESCO came from West Europe (5), Central America (1), North America (2), West Africa (1), East Asia (1), and East Europe (1). Out of the 11 Directors-General since inception, women have held the position only twice. Qatar, the Philippines, and Iran are proposing for a Director-General bid by 2021 or 2025. There have never been a Middle Eastern or Southeast Asian UNESCO Director-General since inception. The ASEAN bloc and some Pacific and Latin American nations support the possible bid of the Philippines, which is culturally Asian, Oceanic, and Latin. Qatar and Iran, on the other hand, have fragmented support in the Middle East. Egypt, Israel, and Madagascar are also vying for the position but have yet to express a direct or indirect proposal. Both Qatar and Egypt lost in the 2017 bid against France.

The list of the Directors-General of UNESCO since its establishment in 1946 is as follows:[89]

Audrey Azoulay  France 2017–present
Irina Bokova  Bulgaria 2009–2017
Koïchiro Matsuura  Japan 1999–2009
Federico Mayor Zaragoza  Spain 1987–99
Amadou-Mahtar M'Bow  Senegal 1974–87
René Maheu  France 1961–74; acting 1961
Vittorino Veronese  Italy 1958–61
Luther Evans  United States 1953–58
John Wilkinson Taylor  United States acting 1952–53
Jaime Torres Bodet  Mexico 1948–52
Julian Huxley  United Kingdom 1946–48

General Conference

This is the list of the sessions of the UNESCO General Conference held since 1946:[90]

Session Location Year Chaired by from
39th Paris 2017 Zohour Alaoui[91]  Morocco
38th Paris 2015 Stanley Mutumba Simataa[92]  Namibia
37th[93] Paris 2013 Hao Ping  China
36th Paris 2011 Katalin Bogyay  Hungary
35th Paris 2009 Davidson Hepburn  Bahamas
34th Paris 2007 George N. Anastassopoulos  Greece
33rd Paris 2005 Musa Bin Jaafar Bin Hassan  Oman
32nd Paris 2003 Michael Omolewa  Nigeria
31st Paris 2001 Ahmad Jalali  Iran
30th Paris 1999 Jaroslava Moserová  Czech Republic
29th Paris 1997 Eduardo Portella  Brazil
28th Paris 1995 Torben Krogh  Denmark
27th Paris 1993 Ahmed Saleh Sayyad  Yemen
26th Paris 1991 Bethwell Allan Ogot  Kenya
25th Paris 1989 Anwar Ibrahim  Malaysia
24th Paris 1987 Guillermo Putzeys Alvarez  Guatemala
23rd Sofia 1985 Nikolai Todorov  Bulgaria
22nd Paris 1983 Saïd Tell  Jordan
4th extraordinary Paris 1982
21st Belgrade 1980 Ivo Margan  Yugoslavia
20th Paris 1978 Napoléon LeBlanc  Canada
19th Nairobi 1976 Taaita Toweett  Kenya
18th Paris 1974 Magda Jóború  Hungary
3rd extraordinary Paris 1973
17th Paris 1972 Toru Haguiwara  Japan
16th Paris 1970 Atilio Dell'Oro Maini  Argentina
15th Paris 1968 William Eteki Mboumoua  Cameroon
14th Paris 1966 Bedrettin Tuncel  Turkey
13th Paris 1964 Norair Sisakian  Soviet Union
12th Paris 1962 Paulo de Berrêdo Carneiro  Brazil
11th Paris 1960 Akale-Work Abte-Wold  Ethiopia
10th Paris 1958 Jean Berthoin  France
9th New Delhi 1956 Abul Kalam Azad  India
8th Montevideo 1954 Justino Zavala Muñiz  Uruguay
2nd extraordinary Paris 1953
7th Paris 1952 Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan  India
6th Paris 1951 Howland H. Sargeant  United States
5th Florence 1950 Stefano Jacini  Italy
4th Paris 1949 Edward Ronald Walker  Australia
1st extraordinary Paris 1948
3rd Beirut 1948 Hamid Bey Frangie  Lebanon
2nd Mexico City 1947 Manuel Gual Vidal  Mexico
1st Paris 1946 Léon Blum  France

Executive Board

Term Group I
(9 seats)
Group II
(7 seats)
Group III
(10 seats)
Group IV
(12 seats)
Group V(a)
(13 seats)
Group V(b)
(7 seats)
2017–19[94]

 France
 Greece
 Italy
 Spain
 United Kingdom

 Lithuania
 Russia
 Serbia
 Slovenia

 Brazil
 Haiti
 Mexico
 Nicaragua
 Paraguay

 India
 Iran
 Malaysia
 Pakistan
 South Korea
 Sri Lanka
 Vietnam

 Cameroon
 Ivory Coast
 Ghana
 Kenya
 Nigeria
 Senegal
 South Africa

 Lebanon
 Oman
 Qatar
 Sudan

2014–17[95]

 Germany
 Netherlands
 Sweden

 Albania
 Estonia
 Ukraine

 Argentina
 Belize
 Dominican Republic
 El Salvador
 Saint Kitts and Nevis
 Trinidad and Tobago

 Bangladesh
 China
 India
 Japan
   Nepal
 Turkmenistan

 Chad
 Guinea
 Mauritius
 Mozambique
 Togo
 Uganda

 Algeria
 Egypt
 Kuwait
 Morocco

2012–15

 Austria
 France
 Italy
 India
 Spain
 United Kingdom
 United States

 Czech Republic
 Montenegro
 Russia
 Macedonia

 Brazil
 Cuba
 Ecuador
 Mexico

 Afghanistan
 Indonesia
 Pakistan
 Papua New Guinea
 South Korea
 Thailand

 Angola
 Ethiopia
 Gabon
 Gambia
 Malawi
 Mali
 Namibia
 Nigeria

 Jordan
 Tunisia  United Arab Emirates

Offices and Headquarters

April 2010, UNESCO Headquarters in Paris - The Garden of Peace (or Japanese Garden) in Spring
The Garden of Peace, UNESCO headquarters, Paris. Donated by the Government of Japan, this garden was designed by American-Japanese sculptor artist Isamu Noguchi in 1958 and installed by Japanese gardener Toemon Sano.

UNESCO headquarters are located at Place de Fontenoy in Paris, France.

UNESCO's field offices across the globe are categorized into four primary office types based upon their function and geographic coverage: cluster offices, national offices, regional bureaus and liaison offices.

Field offices by region

The following list of all UNESCO Field Offices is organized geographically by UNESCO Region and identifies the members states and associate members of UNESCO which are served by each office.[96]

Africa

Arab States

Asia and Pacific

Europe and North America

Latin America and the Caribbean

Carondolete en el cambio de guardia
Carondelet Palace, Presidential Palace – with changing of the guards. The Historic Center of Quito, Ecuador, is one of the largest, least-altered and best-preserved historic centers in the Americas.[97] This center was, together with the historic centre of Kraków in Poland, the first to be declared World Heritage Site by UNESCO on 18 September 1978.

Controversies

New World Information and Communication order

UNESCO has been the centre of controversy in the past, particularly in its relationships with the United States, the United Kingdom, Singapore and the former Soviet Union. During the 1970s and 1980s, UNESCO's support for a "New World Information and Communication Order" and its MacBride report calling for democratization of the media and more egalitarian access to information was condemned in these countries as attempts to curb freedom of the press. UNESCO was perceived as a platform for communists and Third World dictators to attack the West, in contrast to accusations made by the USSR in the late 1940s and early 1950s.[100] In 1984, the United States withheld its contributions and withdrew from the organization in protest, followed by the United Kingdom in 1985.[101] Singapore withdrew also at the end of 1985, citing rising membership fees.[102] Following a change of government in 1997, the UK rejoined. The United States rejoined in 2003, followed by Singapore on 8 October 2007.[103]

Israel

Israel was admitted to UNESCO in 1949, one year after its creation. Israel has maintained its membership since 1949. In 2010, Israel designated the Cave of the Patriarchs, Hebron and Rachel's Tomb, Bethlehem as National Heritage Sites and announced restoration work, prompting criticism from the Obama administration and protests from Palestinians.[104] In October 2010, UNESCO's Executive Board voted to declare the sites as "al-Haram al-Ibrahimi/Tomb of the Patriarchs" and "Bilal bin Rabah Mosque/Rachel's Tomb" and stated that they were "an integral part of the occupied Palestinian Territories" and any unilateral Israeli action was a violation of international law.[105] UNESCO described the sites as significant to "people of the Muslim, Christian and Jewish traditions", and accused Israel of highlighting only the Jewish character of the sites.[106] Israel in turn accused UNESCO of "detach[ing] the Nation of Israel from its heritage", and accused it of being politically motivated.[107] The Rabbi of the Western Wall said that Rachel's tomb had not previously been declared a holy Muslim site.[108] Israel partially suspended ties with UNESCO. Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon declared that the resolution was a "part of Palestinian escalation". Zevulun Orlev, chairman of the Knesset Education and Culture Committee, referred to the resolutions as an attempt to undermine the mission of UNESCO as a scientific and cultural organization that promotes cooperation throughout the world.[109][110]

On 28 June 2011, UNESCO's World Heritage Committee, at Jordan's insistence, censured Israel's decision to demolish and rebuild the Mughrabi Gate Bridge in Jerusalem for safety reasons. Israel stated that Jordan had signed an agreement with Israel stipulating that the existing bridge must be dismantled for safety reasons; Jordan disputed the agreement, saying that it was only signed under U.S. pressure. Israel was also unable to address the UNESCO committee over objections from Egypt.[111]

In January 2014, days before it was scheduled to open, UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova, "indefinitely postponed" and effectively cancelled an exhibit created by the Simon Wiesenthal Center entitled "The People, The Book, The Land: The 3,500-year relationship between the Jewish people and the Land of Israel." The event was scheduled to run from 21 January through 30 January in Paris. Bokova cancelled the event after representatives of Arab states at UNESCO argued that its display would "harm the peace process".[112] The author of the exhibition, Professor Robert Wistrich of the Hebrew University's Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Anti-Semitism, called the cancellation an "appalling act," and characterized Bokova's decision as "an arbitrary act of total cynicism and, really, contempt for the Jewish people and its history." UNESCO amended the decision to cancel the exhibit within the year, and it quickly achieved popularity and was viewed as a great success.[113]

On January 1 2019, Israel formally left UNESCO in pursuance of the US withdrawal over the perceived continuous anti-Israel bias.

Occupied Palestine Resolution

On 13 October 2016, UNESCO passed a resolution on East Jerusalem that condemned Israel for "aggressions" by Israeli police and soldiers and "illegal measures" against the freedom of worship and Muslims' access to their holy sites, while also recognizing Israel as the occupying power. Palestinian leaders welcomed the decision.[114] While the text acknowledged the "importance of the Old City of Jerusalem and its walls for the three monotheistic religions", it referred to the sacred hilltop compound in Jerusalem's Old City only by its Muslim name "Al-Haram al-Sharif", Arabic for Noble Sanctuary. In response, Israel denounced the UNESCO resolution for its omission of the words "Temple Mount" or "Har HaBayit," stating that it denies Jewish ties to the key holy site.[114][115] After receiving criticism from numerous Israeli politicians and diplomats, including Benjamin Netanyahu and Ayelet Shaked, Israel froze all ties with the organization.[116][117] The resolution was condemned by Ban Ki-moon and the Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, who said that Judaism, Islam and Christianity have clear historical connections to Jerusalem and "to deny, conceal or erase any of the Jewish, Christian or Muslim traditions undermines the integrity of the site.[118][119] Al-Aqsa Mosque is also Temple Mount, whose Western Wall is the holiest place in Judaism."[120] It was also rejected by the Czech Parliament which said the resolution reflects a "hateful anti-Israel sentiment",[121] and hundreds of Italian Jews demonstrated in Rome over Italy's abstention.[121] On 26 October, UNESCO approved a reviewed version of the resolution, which also criticized Israel for its continuous "refusal to let the body's experts access Jerusalem's holy sites to determine their conservation status."[122] Despite containing some softening of language following Israeli protests over a previous version, Israel continued to denounce the text.[123] The resolution refers to the site Jews and Christians refer to as the Temple Mount, or Har HaBayit in Hebrew, only by its Arab name — a significant semantic decision also adopted by UNESCO's executive board, triggering condemnation from Israel and its allies. U.S. Ambassador Crystal Nix Hines stated: "This item should have been defeated. These politicized and one-sided resolutions are damaging the credibility of UNESCO."[124]

In October 2017, the United States and Israel announced they would withdraw from the organization, citing in-part anti-Israel bias.[125][126]

Palestine

Palestinian youth magazine controversy

In February 2011, an article was published in a Palestinian youth magazine in which a teenage girl described one of her four role-models as Adolf Hitler. In December 2011, UNESCO, which partly funded the magazine, condemned the material and subsequently withdrew support.[127]

Islamic University of Gaza controversy

In 2012, UNESCO decided to establish a chair at the Islamic University of Gaza in the field of astronomy, astrophysics, and space sciences,[128] fueling controversy and criticism. Israel bombed the school in 2008 stating that they develop and store weapons there, which Israel restated in criticizing UNESCO's move.[129][130]

The head, Kamalain Shaath, defended UNESCO, stating that "the Islamic University is a purely academic university that is interested only in education and its development".[131][132][133] Israeli ambassador to UNESCO Nimrod Barkan planned to submit a letter of protest with information about the university's ties to Hamas, especially angry that this was the first Palestinian university that UNESCO chose to cooperate with.[134] The Jewish organization B'nai B'rith criticized the move as well.[135]

Wikileaks

On 16 and 17 February 2012, UNESCO held a conference entitled "The Media World after WikiLeaks and News of the World."[136] Despite all six panels being focused on WikiLeaks, no member of WikiLeaks staff was invited to speak. After receiving a complaint from WikiLeaks spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson, UNESCO invited him to attend, but did not offer a place on any panels.[137] The offer also came only a week before the conference, which was held in Paris, France. Many of the speakers featured, including David Leigh and Heather Brooke, had spoken out openly against WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange in the past.[138] WikiLeaks released a press statement on 15 February 2012 denouncing UNESCO which stated, "UNESCO has made itself an international human rights joke. To use 'freedom of expression' to censor WikiLeaks from a conference about WikiLeaks is an Orwellian absurdity beyond words."[139]

Che Guevara

In 2013, UNESCO announced that the collection "The Life and Works of Ernesto Che Guevara" became part of the Memory of the World Register. US Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen condemned this decision, saying that the organization acts against its own ideals:[140]

This decision is more than an insult to the families of those Cubans who were lined up and summarily executed by Che and his merciless cronies but it also serves as a direct contradiction to the UNESCO ideals of encouraging peace and universal respect for human rights.

UN Watch also condemned this selection by UNESCO.[141]

Listing Nanjing Massacre documents

In 2015, Japan threatened to halt funding for UNESCO over the organization's decision to include documents relating to the 1937 Nanjing massacre in the latest listing for its "Memory of the World" program.[142] In October 2016, Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida confirmed that Japan's 2016 annual funding of ¥4.4 billion had been suspended although denied any direct link with the Nanjing document controversy.[143]

US withdrawals

After withdrawing from UNESCO in 1984, the United States rejoined January 10, 2003.[144] Former U.S. Congressman Jim Leach stated before a Congressional subcommittee:[145]

The reasons for the withdrawal of the United States from UNESCO in 1984 are well-known; my view is that we overreacted to the calls of some who wanted to radicalize UNESCO, and the calls of others who wanted the United States to lead in emasculating the UN system. The fact is UNESCO is one of the least dangerous international institutions ever created. While some member countries within UNESCO attempted to push journalistic views antithetical to the values of the west, and engage in Israel bashing, UNESCO itself never adopted such radical postures. The U.S. opted for empty-chair diplomacy, after winning, not losing, the battles we engaged in… It was nuts to get out, and would be nuttier not to rejoin.

He concluded that the record showed Israel bashing, a call for a new world information order, money management, and arms control policy to be the impetus behind the withdrawal; he asserted that before the UNESCO withdrawal, a withdrawal from the IAEA[146] had been pushed on him. The United States rejoined UNESCO shortly thereafter.

On 12 October 2017, the United States notified UNESCO that it will again withdraw from the organization on 31 December 2018 and will seek to establish a permanent observer mission beginning in 2019. The Department of State cited "mounting arrears at UNESCO, the need for fundamental reform in the organization, and continuing anti-Israel bias at UNESCO."[147]

The United States has not paid over $600 million in dues[148] since stopping to pay its $80 million annual UNESCO dues when Palestine became a full member in 2011. Israel and the US were among only 14 votes against the membership, of 194 member countries.[149]

Turkish–Kurdish conflict

On May 25, 2016, the noted Turkish poet and human rights activist Zülfü Livaneli resigned as Turkey's only UNESCO goodwill ambassador. He highlighted human rights situation in Turkey and destruction of historical Sur district of Diyarbakir, the largest city in Kurdish-majority southeast Turkey, during fighting between the Turkish army and Kurdish militants as the main reasons for his resignation. Livaneli said: "To pontificate on peace while remaining silent against such violations is a contradiction of the fundamental ideals of UNESCO."[150]

Atatürk

In 1981, UNESCO and the UN have celebrated Atatürk Centennial, ignoring the fact that he has direct relation to the mass murders of civilians (women and children - including), genocide and racial discrimination against different peoples.

Products or services

  • UNESDOC[151] – Contains over 146,000 UNESCO documents in full text published since 1945 as well as metadata from the collections of the UNESCO Library and documentation centres in field offices and institutes.

Information processing tools

UNESCO develops, maintains and disseminates, free of charge, two interrelated software packages for database management (CDS/ISIS [not to be confused with UK police software package ISIS]) and data mining/statistical analysis (IDAMS).[152]

  • CDS/ISIS – a generalised information storage and retrieval system. The Windows version may run on a single computer or in a local area network. The JavaISIS client/server components allow remote database management over the Internet and are available for Windows, Linux and Macintosh. Furthermore, GenISIS allows the user to produce HTML Web forms for CDS/ISIS database searching. The ISIS_DLL provides an API for developing CDS/ISIS based applications.
  • OpenIDAMS – a software package for processing and analysing numerical data developed, maintained and disseminated by UNESCO. The original package was proprietary but UNESCO has initiated a project to provide it as open-source.[153]
  • IDIS – a tool for direct data exchange between CDS/ISIS and IDAMS

See also

References

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External links

Child

The term child (plural: children) has a variety of meanings. It may mean a human being between the stages of birth and puberty. The legal definition of child generally refers to a minor, otherwise known as a person younger than the age of majority. It may also be used to indicate a level of immaturity or inexperience.

Child may also describe a relationship with a parent (such as sons and daughters of any age) or, metaphorically, an authority figure, or signify group membership in a clan, tribe, or religion; it can also signify being strongly affected by a specific time, place, or circumstance, as in "a child of nature" or "a child of the Sixties".

Cultural diversity

Cultural diversity is the quality of diverse or different cultures, as opposed to monoculture, the global monoculture, or a homogenization of cultures, akin to cultural decay. The phrase cultural diversity can also refer to having different cultures respect each other's differences. The phrase "cultural diversity" is also sometimes used to mean the variety of human societies or cultures in a specific region, or in the world as a whole. Globalization is often said to have a negative effect on the world's cultural diversity.

Education

Education is the process of facilitating learning, or the acquisition of knowledge, skills, values, beliefs, and habits. Educational methods include storytelling, discussion, teaching, training, and directed research. Education frequently takes place under the guidance of educators and also learners may also educate themselves. Education can take place in formal or informal settings and any experience that has a formative effect on the way one thinks, feels, or acts may be considered educational. The methodology of teaching is called pedagogy.

Formal education is commonly divided formally into such stages as preschool or kindergarten, primary school, secondary school and then college, university, or apprenticeship.

A right to education has been recognized by some governments and the United Nations. In most regions, education is compulsory up to a certain age.

List of World Heritage Sites in Africa

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has designated 135 World Heritage Sites in Africa. These sites are located in 37 countries (also called "state parties").

List of World Heritage Sites in India

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Sites are important places of cultural or natural heritage as described in the UNESCO World Heritage Convention, established in 1972.There are 37 World Heritage Sites located in India. These include 29 cultural sites, seven natural sites and one mixed site. India has the sixth largest number of sites in the world.

List of World Heritage Sites in the Philippines

The UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) has designated six World Heritage Sites in the Philippines. The UNESCO World Heritage Sites are places of importance to cultural or natural heritage as described in the UNESCO World Heritage Convention.

The Philippines, following its ratification of the convention on Thursday, September 19, 1985, made its historical and natural sites eligible for inclusion on the list. The Philippines had its first sites included in 1993, and since 2014, has six sites on the list spanning nine locations. Of those six sites, three are cultural and three natural. The first 5 sites inscribed in the UNESCO Heritage List was initiated by ICOMOS Philippines, an non-profit heritage organization, which partnered with the UNESCO National Commission of the Philippines and the Heritage Conservation Society.

The Philippines has a cultural inventory, called the Philippine Registry of Cultural Property or PRECUP, and a natural inventory called the National Integrated Protected Areas System or NIPAS. Both of which were established by various Philippine laws. The intangible cultural heritage list of the Philippines is under the PRECUP.

In 2015, the 28 sites in the 'Tentative List' were revised. Currently, the Tentative List for possible nomination in the future contains nineteen submissions.

In November 2017, the Philippines was elected as a member of the Executive Board of UNESCO. In March 2018, the Philippines was elected as Vice President of the Preparatory Group of the Executive Board.The Philippines is in preparation to make a hosting proposal for a UNESCO Executive Board General Meeting within 2019 to 2021, where its term will end. The Philippines is also in preparation for its candidature as UNESCO Director-General by 2021 or 2025. Heritage conservationists have cited Senator Loren Legarda as the best candidate of the Philippines. The possible candidature is supported by the Southeast Asian bloc and the Latin American bloc, with some degree of support from the United States, Russia, Japan and China.

List of World Heritage in Danger

The List of World Heritage in Danger is compiled by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) through the World Heritage Committee according to Article 11.4 of the World Heritage Convention, which was established in 1972 to designate and manage World Heritage Sites. Entries in the list are threatened World Heritage Sites for the conservation of which major operations are required and for which "assistance has been requested". The list is intended to increase international awareness of the threats and to encourage counteractive measures. Threats to a site can be either proven imminent threats or potential dangers that could have adverse effects on a site.

In the case of natural sites, ascertained dangers include the serious decline in the population of an endangered or other valuable species or the deterioration of natural beauty or scientific value of a property caused by human activities such as logging, pollution, settlement, mining, agriculture and major public works. Ascertained dangers for cultural properties include serious deterioration of materials, structure, ornaments or architectural coherence and the loss of historical authenticity or cultural significance. Potential dangers for both cultural and natural sites include development projects, armed conflicts, insufficient management systems or changes in the legal protective status of the properties. In the case of cultural sites, gradual changes due to geology, climate or environment can also be potential dangers.Before a property is inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger, its condition is assessed and a potential programme for corrective measures is developed in cooperation with the State Party involved. The final decision about inscription is made by the committee. Financial support from the World Heritage Fund may be allocated by the committee for listed properties. The state of conservation is reviewed on a yearly basis, after which the committee may request additional measures, delete the property from the list if the threats have ceased or consider deletion from both the List of World Heritage in Danger and the World Heritage List. Of the two Former UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the Dresden Elbe Valley was delisted after placement on the List of World Heritage in Danger while the Arabian Oryx Sanctuary was directly delisted. As of 2017, there are 54 entries (17 natural, 37 cultural) on the List of World Heritage in Danger. Some sites have been designated as World Heritage Sites and World Heritage in Danger in the same year, such as the Church of the Nativity, traditionally considered to be the birthplace of Jesus. Arranged by the UNESCO regions 22 of the listed sites are located in the Arab States (of which 7 are located in Syria and 5 in Libya), 15 in Africa (of which 5 are in the Democratic Republic of the Congo), 7 in Latin America and the Caribbean, 6 in Asia and the Pacific, and 4 in Europe and North America (all by 2017). The majority of the endangered natural sites (11) are located in Africa.In some cases, danger listing has sparked conservation efforts and prompted the release of funds, resulting in a positive development for sites such as the Galápagos Islands and Yellowstone National Park, both of which have subsequently been removed from the List of World Heritage in Danger. Despite this, the list itself and UNESCO's implementation of it have been the focus of criticism. In particular, States Parties and other stakeholders of World Heritage Sites have questioned the authority of the Committee to declare a site in danger without their consent. Until 1992, when UNESCO set a precedent by placing several sites on the danger list against their wishes, States Parties would have submitted a programme of corrective measures before a site could be listed. Instead of being used as intended, the List of World Heritage in Danger is perceived by some states as a black list and according to Christina Cameron, Professor at the School of Architecture, Canada Research Chair on Built Heritage, University of Montreal, has been used as political tool to get the attention of States Parties. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) notes that UNESCO has referenced the List of World Heritage in Danger (without actually listing the site) in a number of cases where the threat could be easily addressed by the State Party. The Union also argues that keeping a site listed as endangered over a long period is questionable and that other mechanisms for conservation should be sought in these cases.

List of countries by literacy rate

This is a list of countries by literacy rate. The figures represented are almost entirely collected by the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) on behalf of UNESCO with 2015 estimates based on people aged 15 or over who can read and write. Where data is taken from a different source, notes are provided. The data is collated by mostly using surveys within the last ten years which are self-declared by the persons in question. UIS provide estimates based on these for the year 2015 with a Global Age-specific Literacy Projections Model (GALP).

The global literacy rate for all people aged 15 and above is 86.3%. The global literacy rate for all males is 90.0% and the rate for all females is 82.7%. The rate varies throughout the world with developed nations having a rate of 99.2% (2013); Oceania having 71.3%; South and West Asia having 70.2% (2015) and sub-Saharan Africa at 64.0% (2015). Over 75% of the world's 781 million illiterate adults are found in South Asia, West Asia and sub-Saharan Africa and women represent almost two-thirds of all illiterate adults globally.

List of national parks of the United States

The United States has 61 protected areas known as national parks that are operated by the National Park Service, an agency of the Department of the Interior. National parks must be established by an act of the United States Congress. A bill creating the first national park, Yellowstone, was signed into law by President Ulysses S. Grant in 1872, followed by Mackinac National Park in 1875 (decommissioned in 1895), and then Rock Creek Park (later merged into National Capital Parks), Sequoia and Yosemite in 1890. The Organic Act of 1916 created the National Park Service "to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and wildlife therein, and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations." Many current national parks had been previously protected as national monuments by the president under the Antiquities Act before being upgraded by Congress. Seven national parks (including six in Alaska) are paired with a national preserve, areas with different levels of protection that are administered together but considered separate units and whose areas are not included in the figures below.

Criteria for the selection of national parks include natural beauty, unique geological features, unusual ecosystems, and recreational opportunities (though these criteria are not always considered together). National monuments, on the other hand, are frequently chosen for their historical or archaeological significance. Fourteen national parks are designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites (WHS), while 21 national parks are designated UNESCO Biosphere Reserves (BR). Eight national parks are designated in both UNESCO programs.

Twenty-nine states have national parks, as do the territories of American Samoa and the United States Virgin Islands. California has the most (nine), followed by Alaska (eight), Utah (five), and Colorado (four). The largest national park is Wrangell–St. Elias in Alaska: at over 8 million acres (32,375 km2), it is larger than each of the nine smallest states. The next three largest parks are also in Alaska. The smallest park is Gateway Arch National Park, Missouri, at approximately 192.83 acres (0.7804 km2). The total area protected by national parks is approximately 52.2 million acres (211,000 km2), for an average of 870 thousand acres (3,500 km2) but a median of only 229 thousand acres (930 km2).The national parks set a visitation record in 2017, with more than 84 million visitors. The most-visited national park is Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina and Tennessee, with over 11.3 million visitors in 2017, followed by Arizona's Grand Canyon National Park, with over 6.2 million. In contrast, only 11,177 people visited the remote Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve in Alaska in the same year.A few former national parks are no longer designated as such, or have been disbanded. Other units of the National Park Service (421 altogether) are broadly referred to as national parks within the National Park System.

Lists of World Heritage Sites in Europe

The following are lists of World Heritage Sites in Europe:

List of World Heritage Sites in Southern Europe

List of World Heritage Sites in Western Europe

List of World Heritage Sites in Northern Europe

List of World Heritage Sites in Eastern Europe

Literacy

Dictionaries traditionally define literacy as the ability to read and write. In the modern world, this is one way of interpreting literacy. One more broad interpretation sees literacy as knowledge and competence in a specific area. The concept of literacy has evolved in meaning. The modern term's meaning has been expanded to include the ability to use language, numbers, images, computers, and other basic means to understand, communicate, gain useful knowledge, solve mathematical problems and use the dominant symbol systems of a culture. The concept of literacy is expanding across OECD countries to include skills to access knowledge through technology and ability to assess complex contexts. A person who travels and resides in a foreign country but is unable to read or write in the language of the host country would be regarded by the locals as illiterate.

The key to literacy is reading development, a progression of skills which begins with the ability to understand spoken words and decode written words, and which culminates in the deep understanding of text. Reading development involves a range of complex language-underpinnings including awareness of speech sounds (phonology), spelling patterns (orthography), word meaning (semantics), grammar (syntax) and patterns of word formation (morphology), all of which provide a necessary platform for reading fluency and comprehension.

Once these skills are acquired, a reader can attain full language literacy, which includes the abilities to apply to printed material critical analysis, inference and synthesis; to write with accuracy and coherence; and to use information and insights from text as the basis for informed decisions and creative thought. The inability to do so is called "illiteracy" or "analphabetism".Experts at a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) meeting have proposed defining literacy as the "ability to identify, understand, interpret, create, communicate and compute, using printed and written materials associated with varying contexts". The experts note: "Literacy involves a continuum of learning in enabling individuals to achieve their goals, to develop their knowledge and potential, and to participate fully in their community and wider society".

Man and the Biosphere Programme

Man and the Biosphere Programme (MAB) is an intergovernmental scientific programme, launched in 1971 by UNESCO, that aims to establish a scientific basis for the improvement of relationships between people and their environments.

MAB's work engages fully with the international development agenda—specially with the Sustainable Development Goals and the Post 2015 Development Agenda—and addresses challenges linked to scientific, environmental, societal and development issues in diverse ecosystems; from mountain regions to marine, coastal and island areas; from tropical forests to drylands and urban areas. MAB combines the natural and social sciences, economics and education to improve human livelihoods and the equitable sharing of benefits, and to safeguard natural and managed ecosystems, thus promoting innovative approaches to economic development that are socially and culturally appropriate, and environmentally sustainable.

The MAB programme provides a unique platform for cooperation on research and development, capacity-building and networking to share information, knowledge and experience on three interlinked issues: biodiversity loss, climate change and sustainable development. It contributes not only to better understanding of the environment, but also promotes greater involvement of science and scientists in policy development concerning the wise use of biological diversity.

As of December 2018, 686 biosphere reserves in 122 countries, including 20 transboundary sites, have been included in the World Network of Biosphere Reserves.

Media (communication)

Media is the communication outlets or tools used to store and deliver information or data. It is associated with the mass media communication businesses such as print media, the press, photography, advertising, cinema, broadcasting (radio and television), and publishing.

Taj Mahal

The Taj Mahal (; Hindi: ताज महल [taːdʒ ˈmɛːɦ(ə)l], meaning "Crown of the Palaces") is an ivory-white marble mausoleum on the south bank of the Yamuna river in the Indian city of Agra. It was commissioned in 1632 by the Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan (reigned from 1628 to 1658), to house the tomb of his favourite wife, Mumtaz Mahal. It also houses the tomb of Shah Jahan, the builder. The tomb is the centerpiece of a 17-hectare (42-acre) complex, which includes a mosque and a guest house, and is set in formal gardens bounded on three sides by a crenellated wall.

Construction of the mausoleum was essentially completed in 1643 but work continued on other phases of the project for another 10 years. The Taj Mahal complex is believed to have been completed in its entirety in 1653 at a cost estimated at the time to be around 32 million rupees, which in 2015 would be approximately 52.8 billion rupees (U.S. $827 million). The construction project employed some 20,000 artisans under the guidance of a board of architects led by the court architect to the emperor, Ustad Ahmad Lahauri.

The Taj Mahal was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983 for being "the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world's heritage". It is regarded by many as the best example of Mughal architecture and a symbol of India's rich history. The Taj Mahal attracts 7–8 million visitors a year and in 2007, it was declared a winner of the New7Wonders of the World (2000–2007) initiative.

UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Lists

UNESCO established its Lists of Intangible Cultural Heritage with the aim of ensuring better protection of important intangible cultural heritages worldwide and the awareness of their significance. This list is published by the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage, the members of which are elected by State Parties meeting in a General Assembly.

Through a compendium of the different oral and intangible treasures of humankind worldwide, the programme aims to draw attention to the importance of safeguarding intangible heritage, which UNESCO has identified as an essential component and as a repository of cultural diversity and of creative expression.The list was established in 2008 when the 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage took effect.

As of 2010 the programme compiles two lists. The longer, Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, comprises cultural "practices and expressions [that] help demonstrate the diversity of this heritage and raise awareness about its importance." The shorter, List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding, is composed of those cultural elements that concerned communities and countries consider require urgent measures to keep them alive.In 2013 four elements were inscribed on the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding, which helps States Parties mobilize international cooperation and assistance to ensure the transmission of this heritage with the participation of the concerned communities. The Urgent Safeguarding List now numbers 35 elements.

The Committee also inscribed 25 elements on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, which serves to raise awareness of intangible heritage and provide recognition to communities’ traditions and know-how that reflect their cultural diversity. The List does not attribute or recognize any standard of excellence or exclusivity. The list totaled 508 elements corresponding to 122 countries as of 2018.Elements inscribed in the lists are deemed as significant bastions of humanity's intangible heritage, the highest honour for intangible heritage in the world stage.

World Digital Library

The World Digital Library (WDL) is an international digital library operated by UNESCO and the United States Library of Congress.

The WDL has stated that its mission is to promote international and intercultural understanding, expand the volume and variety of cultural content on the Internet, provide resources for educators, scholars, and general audiences, and to build capacity in partner institutions to narrow the digital divide within and among countries. It aims to expand non-English and non-western content on the Internet, and contribute to scholarly research. The library intends to make available on the Internet, free of charge and in multilingual format, significant primary materials from cultures around the world, including manuscripts, maps, rare books, musical scores, recordings, films, prints, photographs, architectural drawings, and other significant cultural materials.The WDL opened with 1,236 items. As of early 2018, it lists more than 18,000 items from nearly 200 countries, dating back to 8,000 BCE.

World Heritage Committee

The World Heritage Committee is a committee which selects the sites to be listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the World Heritage List and the List of World Heritage in Danger, monitors the state of conservation of the World Heritage properties, defines the use of the World Heritage Fund and allocates financial assistance upon requests from States Parties. It is composed of 21 states parties that are elected by the General Assembly of States Parties for a four-year term.According to the World Heritage Convention, a committee member's term of office is six years, however many State's Parties choose to voluntarily limit their term to four years, in order to give other States Parties an opportunity to serve. All members elected at the 15th General Assembly (2005) voluntarily chose to reduce their term of office from six to four years.

World Heritage Site

A World Heritage Site is a landmark or area which is selected by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as having cultural, historical, scientific or other form of significance, and is legally protected by international treaties. The sites are judged important to the collective interests of humanity.

To be selected, a World Heritage Site must be an already classified landmark, unique in some respect as a geographically and historically identifiable place having special cultural or physical significance (such as an ancient ruin or historical structure, building, city, complex, desert, forest, island, lake, monument, mountain, or wilderness area). It may signify a remarkable accomplishment of humanity, and serve as evidence of our intellectual history on the planet.The sites are intended for practical conservation for posterity, which otherwise would be subject to risk from human or animal trespassing, unmonitored/uncontrolled/unrestricted access, or threat from local administrative negligence. Sites are demarcated by UNESCO as protected zones. The list is maintained by the international World Heritage Program administered by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, composed of 21 states parties which are elected by their General Assembly.The programme catalogues, names, and conserves sites of outstanding cultural or natural importance to the common culture and heritage of humanity. Under certain conditions, listed sites can obtain funds from the World Heritage Fund. The program began with the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World's Cultural and Natural Heritage, which was adopted by the General Conference of UNESCO on 16 November 1972. Since then, 193 state parties have ratified the convention, making it one of the most widely recognized international agreements and the world's most popular cultural program.

As of July 2018, a total of 1,092 World Heritage Sites (845 cultural, 209 natural, and 38 mixed properties) exist across 167 countries. Italy, with 54 sites, has the most of any country, followed by China (53), Spain (47), France (44), Germany (44), India (37), and Mexico (35).

World Heritage Sites by country

As of July 2018, there are a total of 1,092 World Heritage Sites located in 167 States Parties (countries that have adhered to the World Heritage Convention), of which 845 are cultural, 209 are natural and 38 are mixed properties. The countries have been divided by the World Heritage Committee into five geographic zones: Africa, Arab States, Asia and the Pacific, Europe and North America, and Latin America and the Caribbean. The country with the largest number of sites (including sites shared with other countries) is Italy, with 54 entries. The country with the largest number of sites by itself alone (excluding sites shared with other countries) is China, with 53 entries.

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