The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations (UN). UNESCO was founded on November 16, 1945 with the aim of fostering a culture of peace throughout the world, encouraging cooperation and dialogue between people and different cultures, contributing to the eradicating of poverty and driving sustainable development through education, science, culture and communication.
According to its legal status, UNESCO is an independent, autonomous intergovernmental organization. It currently has 195 Member States. Its Director-General since the fall of 2017 is the representative of France, Audrey Azoulay. UNESCO’s budget consists of the annual contributions of its Member States, as well as special national grants for the development of certain programs or the implementation of projects.
UNESCO’s fields of activity are: education, natural sciences, social and humanitarian sciences, culture, communication and information. More information here: https://www.unesco.org/en
UNESCO in Latvia
Latvia has been a member of UNESCO since October 14, 1991, when the official reception ceremony of the country took place at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris. In accordance with the Constitution of UNESCO, the Latvian National Commission for UNESCO (UNESCO LNC) was established in 1992 by the decision of the Supreme Council of the Republic of Latvia.
National Commissions are institutions established by each Member State for cooperation with UNESCO, whose legal status is determined based on the system of internal regulatory acts of each country. National Commissions are a unique institutional body that has no parallel in any other organization of the UN system. The basic task of UNESCO’s National Commissions is to ensure the cooperation of each Member State with UNESCO and to represent the Member State’s interests in the organization’s work, as well as to implement UNESCO’s programs and ideas in the respective country.
UNESCO LNC fosters the successful participation of Latvia in UNESCO, provides opinions and proposals on issues of UNESCO competence, develops action plans for the implementation of UNESCO programs in Latvia, coordinating their implementation, participates in the work of UNESCO and related intergovernmental and international institutions, as well as provides information and creates cooperation in Latvia in UNESCO areas of activity.
UNESCO World Heritage
Preservation and protection of the world’s cultural and natural heritage is one of the most visible directions of UNESCO’s activities. UNESCO emphasizes that it is necessary to create a unified regulatory system that would invite Member States around the world to protect and nurture their history, memory and culture, because every cultural expression and testimony is the common heritage of humanity. The basis for the preservation and protection of world heritage is the Convention on the Protection of World Cultural and Natural Heritage, adopted in 1972. Latvia joined the Convention in 1995, confirming its desire to contribute to the preservation of world heritage. Since joining the Convention, world heritage has become an important field of activity in Latvian cultural policy and cultural heritage protection.
Each Member State of the Convention is responsible for its implementation. The main partners of the international dialogue on the preservation of world heritage are the World Heritage Center, which organizes and oversees the works and processes related to the Convention, and the World Heritage Committee, which makes decisions on the protection and development of world heritage. The committee also decides on the inclusion of sites in the World Heritage List, which is one of the most internationally important lists in the field of world cultural heritage. In order for a heritage site to be nominated for the World Heritage List, it needs to be on the National List of a UNESCO Member State, which has also been created in Latvia – the Latvian National List of World Heritage.
Convention on the Protection of World Cultural and Natural Heritage https://likumi.lv/ta/lv/starttautiskie-ligumi/id/766
More information on UNESCO World Heritage: https://whc.unesco.org/en/