The Constitution of UNESCO - United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization was signed at a conference in London in 1945 and the organization became an agency of the United Nations in 1946. UNESCO is based in Paris, with over 50 field offices and several institutes and offices around the world.


UNESCO's purpose is to contribute to peace by promoting collaboration among nations through

  1. education
  2. science
  3. culture
  4. communication and information.

UNESCO has developed a wide range of programmes and activities, including

  • literacy campaigns
  • educational projects
  • protection of the world heritage
  • promotion of cultural policies and new information technologies
  • support of sustainable human development.

UNESCO functions as an intellectual forum for a global exchange of ideas and knowledge. UNESCO:

  • organizes meetings and conferences
  • undertakes studies and research
  • develops guidelines, standards and legal instruments.


The General Conference is the primary decision-making and supervisory body. Meeting every two years, it determines the policies and approves the budget. The General Conference also elects the Director-General and the Executive Board, consisting of members from 58 countries.

The Executive Board supervises the implementation of the decisions taken by the General Conference. It also examines the programme and budget.

The Secretariat is the administrative centre, headed by the Director-General who is the executive head of the organization.

UNESCO is the only UN agency with a system of National Commissions in 194 Member and Associate States.

More on UNESCO

  • The UNESCO website provides multilingual information about the structure of the Organization, programmes and activities, news, statistics and analysis, publications, full text documents and reports, conventions and recommendations.
  • UNESCO Publications
  • Resources, documents, forms, and tools necessary for the implementation of the World Heritage Convention.
  • UNESDOC/UNESCO Digital Library provides bibliographic records and full text of UNESCO documents, publications and periodicals.

UN documents and publications in catalogues and databases

  • United Nations Digital Library offers UN documents and open access publications, UN voting data and speeches, UN maps, Content in 6+ languages. Replaces the traditional online catalogue UNBISnet.
  • UN iLibrary UN publications online covering different topics.
  • ODS full-text UN documents published from 1993 onward and scanned documents published between 1946 and 1993 in the official languages of the UN.
  • Daily list of documents (ODS). Documents published for the day, with full text links, can be found in the United Nations full text database ODS.
  • UNBIS Thesaurus a multilingual database of the controlled vocabulary used to describe UN documents.
  • Index to proceedings is an annual bibliographic guide to the proceedings and documentation of the major UN organs. The index includes:
    • a list of all documents
    • a comprehensive subject index
    • an index to speeches
    • a voting chart of resolutions
  • United Nations Documents Index (United Nations Digital Library) References to all documents by subject area are published. A collection of indexes is held by the Dag Hammarskjöld and Law Library, Uppsala, and the Libraries at UN Headquarters in New York and Geneva.
UN Documents available online
Last modified: 2024-02-15