On November 16, 1945, in London representatives of 37 founding countries signed the founding document of the Organization, the Constitution (Charter), which came into force on November 4, 1946 after ratification by 20 states. The main purpose of the Organization is to contribute to peace and security by promoting collaboration among nations through education, science and culture. UNESCO’s fields of activity are education, the natural sciences, humanities and social sciences, culture and information and communication.
Today, the Organization has 195 Members and 10 Associate Members.
UNESCO has 3 main bodies: the General Conference is the main decision-making governing body of the Organization; the Executive Board with its significance is the second governing body of the Organization; the Secretariat is the executive branch of the Organization, which consists of the Director-General and the Staff appointed by him/her. The Director-General is appointed by the General Conference on the suggestion/nomination of the Executive Board. His/her term in office is 4 years.
Armenia’s Cooperation with UNESCO
UNESCO is the only UN Specialized Agency to have a network of National Commissions for UNESCO. They are UNESCO’s partners in the Member States. They may have different structures and may operate under the subordination of different agencies, depending on country-specific matters. The activity with UNESCO is coordinated by the Armenian National Commission for UNESCO (henceforth, the National Commission). It was established on October 10, 1992. The current Charter and composition of the National Commission were approved by the RA Prime Minister’s Decree No. 58-A of January 29, 2015. The President of the National Commission is the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Secretary-General is the Head of the Department of International Organizations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Apart from the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the National Commission comprises of seven other ministers- the Ministers of Culture, Education and Science, Economy (currently-Economic Development and Investments), Nature Protection, Justice, Sport and Youth Affairs and the Minister-Chief of Staff of the Government of RA. The Chief of Staff of the Presidential Office, the President of the National Academy of Sciences, the Mayor of Yerevan, the Director of the Museums and Archives of the Mother See of Holy Echmiatsin and the Director of the Mesrop Mashtots Scientific Research Institute of Ancient Manuscripts (Matenadaran) are also, upon agreement, included in the composition of the National Commission.
The Secretariat of the National Commission is located within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as the UNESCO Desk of the Department of International Organizations.
Armenia regularly pays its annual Membership Fee to UNESCO: in 2017 it amounted to 8,001 EUR and 10,081 USD.
Armenia is included in UNESCO’s Second Regional Group (Eastern Europe) and the Francophone Group.
Currently Armenia is a member to the Committee for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict operating within the framework of the 1999 Second Protocol to the 1954 Convention (2013-2017), to the Subsidiary Committee of the Meeting of States Parties to the 1970 Convention (2015-2019) and the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage operating within the framework of the 2003 Convention (2016-2020).
Items included on the Lists established under UNESCO Conventions
The cultural values/sites included on the UNESCO World Heritage List belong to all the peoples of the world, irrespective of the territory on which they are located. This List comprises monuments and memorial complexes that are of outstanding universal value. States Parties to the convention can only nominate sites that are within their national territory.
Armenia is represented in the List with the following properties:
Armenia is represented on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by the following elements:
Numerous programs are implemented within the frameworks of UNESCO. They are financed either from the regular budget of the Organization or from extra-budgetary sources.
The UNESCO Memory of the World Program reflects the diversity of languages, cultures and peoples. The objective of the Program is to prevent the existing valuable collections of the world’s archives and libraries from vanishing without trace and to promote their dissemination. The Program encompasses the Memory of the World International Register, which is a List of documentary heritage, that includes such documents, manuscripts, audio-visual materials and library and archival holdings, which have been recognized of universal value and are to be documented and preserved for all of humanity. Three items of Armenian documentary heritage are inscribed on the Register:
More about UNESCO's activities and programmes can be found HERE.