UNESCO Full Form is United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization. It is a special agency that belongs to the United Nations and was created around half century back. The primary motive of UNESCO is to bring security and peace through the promotion of international collaboration in the fields of science, education, human resources, communication, information, and culture.
UNESCO actively works to achieve the ‘Millennium Development Goals’ of United Nations along with significantly bringing down extreme poverty in various developing countries. It also aims to eliminate gender inequalities in education and reduce the loss of resources in the environment. Let us explore more about UNESCO Full Form.
Today, UNESCO is divided into 3 different branches – policy making, administrative and governing branches. Culture is another theme that is closely related to UNESCO, as it promotes cultural acceptance, maintains cultural diversity and protects its heritage.
UNESCO Full Form – Additional Information:
After two bloody wars and the almost breakdown of tensions between the United States and the then Soviet Union, leaders across the globe came to an unequivocal consensus that it was imperative to come up with an international watchdog, which shall act as an organization bringing together nations and working towards the establishment of international peace and security.
It was with this purpose the United Nations was established in 1945 and since its inception, it gave way to several other organizations that were tasked with some of the major roles in the International scenario. These specialized agencies have contributed in abundance towards securing the objectives of the United Nations charter by means of settled, authentic procedures.
For the purpose of this article, UNESCO, The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, is the subject matter. As evident from its lengthy name, the organization furthers the objectives of bringing together nations in the field of science, education and culture.
These three are important in strengthening international cooperation and mutual acknowledgment. The organization is considered to be a parallel organization to the now defunct International Committee of Intellectual Cooperation of the League of Nations. To fully understand the objective, functions and internal machinery of the organization, it is important to know ten things about.
Origin of UNESCO:
Every organization has a big, lengthy history and many a times in order to fully appreciate the importance of anything, history is a great source of help.
United Nations was established with the purpose of furthering cultural, scientific and educational exchanges internationally and it was necessary to come up with a working body that shall look after this object. An international conference was convened on the suggestions of the United Nations Conference on International Organization for giving shape to a body, which shall promote cultural and educational interactions among its member nations. The conference was held in London in 1945.
The purpose was to come up with a draft of the constitution of an Educational and Cultural Organization (ECO). Eventually, on 4th November of 1946, the draft constitution came into force. However, there were amendments made to the Constitution in the first general Conference from 19 November to 10 December 1946 that brought major changes in the governance of the organization.
Objectives of UNESCO:
It was an urgent call to the world leaders to do away with the menace of wars, which have killed millions and displaced another million. The after effects of wars have been extreme and many countries, till date, have been unable to recover from the scathing consequences of the wars. Wars have distanced people and created a big gap between inter cultural, social and educational exchanges.
UNESCO attempts to promote exchanges in the field of education, communication, culture, natural sciences, social sciences. It takes up programs in these fields and bats for some of the most hotly debated issues like human rights, protection of culture, independence of media, etc. It attempts to promote protection and preservation of cultural heritages and bring together nations in providing support in these efforts.
Apart from these, it discusses allied problems like the deterioration of culture, lack of cultural awareness, poverty, dissemination of education to marginalized areas, etc. In fact, many of the Millennium Development Goals underline some of the important objects of the UNESCO.
UNESCO funding projects:
UNESCO is not just a promotional center; it contributes financial assistance so that its objectives are achieved more easily and of course, with international support. With its funding, the projects are given much-needed impetus and value and this proves that UNESCO is not just an observer. It is an active participant.
Some of its funding projects are following:
- FRESH: It expands to “Focusing Resources on Effective School Health” and aims at giving financial assistance towards the betterment of the health of children attending schools.
- UNESCO Goodwill Ambassadors: This is probably the most popular program founded and funded by UNESCO. This programme makes popular personalities ambassadors of UNESCO objectives.
- Botany 2000: It is another programme, which deals with medicinal science.
Agencies and other allied institutions of UNESCO
UNESCO needs strength and therefore, it has collaborated with many NGOs and established many centers, which are official UNESCO agencies and help in discharging functions. Currently, there are about 322 international NGOs that work with and have even occupied official positions and offices at UNESCO.
Some of those NGOs are Education International, International Council for Science, International federation of Journalists, International Theatre Institute, World Association of Newspapers, etc. There are institutes and centers established by UNESCO, which act as specialized agencies to the organization. There is International Bureau of Education, UNESCO International Institute for Educational Planning, UNESCO Institute of Statistics, etc.
Promotional Events of UNESCO:
UNESCO understands that pursuance of its objectives require much promotional efforts and therefore, it does not fall back in organizing events that help in motivating people to participate in the UNESCO objectives more actively. For example, it denominates certain days in a year to some special purpose. 3 May, for example, celebrated as World Press Freedom day is a UNESCO effort to promote independent, liberated media as an important role player in a civilized, democratic society.
The day underlines the crucial functions that media performs and how much necessary it is to safeguard its interests. Similarly, there is World Literacy Day organized on 8th September every year with the purpose of advocating the urgent need to make the world a literate society so that every individual is aware of some of the fundamentals about himself and the world. UNESCO also organizes the International Year for the Culture of Peace.
Awards and Prizes from UNESCO:
It is important to recognize efforts of people and organizations, which provide active support in the furtherance of the objectives of the UNESCO. It is to ensure that people and organizations are motivated to participate more UNESCO has instituted many awards. UNESCO Prize for Peace Education is an annual award, recognizing efforts towards peace. Some of the recipients are City Montessori School, Lucknow; Chiara Lubich (Italy), Prof. Paulo Preire from Brazil; Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, etc.
L’Oréal-UNESCO Award for Women in Science is another award that UNESCO jointly presents with L’Oreal. The awards is directed towards recognition of those women, who have contributed immensely in the field of science. The award gives hefty prize money to achievers. There are other awards like UNESCO Confucius Prize for Literary, King Sejong Literacy Prize, Sharjah prize for Arab Culture, etc.
Government of UNESCO:
The governing bodies of the UNESCO are Director-general, the General Conference, and the Executive Bodies. The Director-General is an important governing body of UNESCO. The current Director-General of UNESCO is Irina Bokova from Bulgaria. Before there have been nine people who have held the position.
Then, there is the General Conference that discusses important issues in regularly organized sessions. In total, there have been 38 sessions of the General Conference. The last one is the Executive Board with member states changing accordingly with time period frame.
Offices of UNESCO:
The load of the functions of the UNESCO cannot be discharged effectively from the headquarters in Paris. Every organization, in order to tap development in concerned fields, must establish regional offices to bring more transparency and effectiveness. Therefore, UNESCO has established many offices, which are split into categories.
These offices are established according to the functions they perform like there are liaison offices, regional offices, cluster offices, national offices. There are national offices in Abuja, Bujumbara, Dhaka, Islamabad, Guatemala City, etc. On the other side, there are regional offices in Havana, Cairo, Beirut, etc. Thus, depending upon the geography and functions designated, the offices are accordingly categorized.
Publications from UNESCO:
In order to promote ideals of an organization, publication is an important tool to achieve that. Like any other systematic organization, UNESCO has many publications to offer. There is UNESCDOC, which is a voluminous collection of documents pertaining to UNESCO and its functions and observations.
It provides a comprehensive, exhaustive assessment of issues taken up by UNESCO for extensive study. For example, there is UNESCO science report, Towards 2030: Education for All 2000-2015, etc. An online bookshop provides books that are for sale. It also includes CD-ROMs, periodicals, maps, etc. These publications give a deep insight on the work of UNESCO and can help readers understand the historical and contemporary relevance of the organization.
World heritage Site:
Of all the functions of UNESCO, World Heritage Convention needs special mention because a lot has been recently undertaken in advocating principles of the convention. In this, a special contributor is UNESCO. Any country that has ratified the convention must adhere to the principle directed towards protection and preservation of existing heritage sites. It is however not easy to get heritage sites listed in the list because it requires a lot of assessment. Every year, a small proportion of countries manage to secure a place in the list and quite of it is caused due to votes.
Also, getting a site listed as a World heritage can be an expensive affair but once a status is gained under the Convention, there are advantages that the Heritage site will enjoy. For example, once a site is declared a World heritage, it shall receive international recognition and this may result in a greater influx of tourists to the area. This indirectly adds to the national economy.
Thus, the Convention gives two-fold advantages. First, that it makes even an obscure heritage site and chased-after destination and second, it brings economic advantages to the nation to which the site belongs. As one go through the aforementioned tens, it becomes easier to understand the real motive behind the inception of the organization. It was to prevent further blockade of cultural and educational information among nations and strive for global development.
When the two world wars washed out substantial population on the earth and the cold war obstructed effective interaction among nations, it becomes incumbent upon the world leaders to take up the responsibility for what happened. It became imperative to forge stronger cultural, educational and scientific ties so that the menace of the wars can be eradicated. Although there have been controversies linked with UNESCO for example, in the case of Palestine, but the overall contribution of the organization cannot be overlooked.