We live in an increasingly fascinating world! Thanks to the work of groups such as UNESCO, our rich history and heritage remains preserved for generations to come. But what does UNESCO actually do? As an introduction, here are 17 interesting facts about UNESCO:
- UNESCO’s aim is, ultimately, to promote human rights, education of the masses, and to preserve history and culture. The organisation was set up in 1945.
- UNESCO seeks out sites of important historical heritage and lists them – so that it may protect them against destruction or development.
- There are thousands of UNESCO World Heritage sites all over the world. Over 150 different countries play host to UNESCO sites of heritage!
- UNESCO stands for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation.
- Every two years, UNESCO meets to agree on policies and programs. They aim to promote diversity, increase sustainability and support learning programs for all world citizens.
- The main headquarters of UNESCO can be found in the French capital of Paris.
- Some famous UNESCO world heritage sites include the Grand Canyon in the USA, the Ilulissat Icefjord in Greenland, Machu Picchu in Peru, and the Tombs of the Kings in Cyprus. UNESCO seeks out important locations which require protection – whether they are historically important, environmentally critical, or scientifically interesting.
- This means that some sites are designated as UNESCO sites to protect endangered species. For example, some coral reefs are UNESCO World Heritage sites.
- Both the UK and the USA have joined and left UNESCO on a number of occasions as a result of international politics. The US, in particular, criticised the organisation in the early 1980s, citing their concerns over UNESCO harbouring anti-West bias. They would re-join in 2003.
- The US left the organisation once more in 2017, as a result of UNESCO allegedly showing bias against Israel. However, while the US left, Israel remained a member state!
- UNESCO is also responsible for helping many developing nations with education and poverty concerns. One of the aims of the organisation on the whole is to eradicate illiteracy worldwide.
- They have also helped to rebuild educational buildings and libraries destroyed during wars and conflicts.
- UNESCO finds itself a new director general every six years, which means the organisation meets just three times during each general’s term.
- UNESCO has also been instrumental in creating and supporting several international days. These include World Teachers’ Day and International Women’s Day.
- There are almost 200 different member states appointed to UNESCO. Each has a single vote when it comes to deciding on actions. These take place during the general conferences every two years, as stated.
- UNESCO’s famous World Heritage List has added sites to its roster since its inception in 1972.
- UNESCO, while based in France, has cluster offices all over the world. Most of these cover at least three nations at a time. There is a further HQ catering to cluster offices, which is in New Delhi, India.
Do you know any fun or interesting facts about UNESCO that we’ve missed? Share them here in the comments section below!
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