Our Communication & Information Programme

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Discover UNESCO’s communication and information programme in the UK. Find out more about UNESCO’s role in setting global standards, the UK’s world-leading experts and their contribution to ensuring everyone has the right to freely express their opinions.

UNESCO has been concerned with the uneven distribution of communication and information across the globe since its inception in 1945. Recognising the fundamental role of communication and information to fostering peace and development, the programme is built on the right we should all share to freedom of expression, to hold our own opinions, and to express them freely.

UNESCO works to protect these rights and its current programme is firmly rooted in the demands and needs of 21st Century citizens. It leads the United Nations Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists; offers guidance on combating online hate speech and misinformation; promotes Open Educational Resources and access to information for marginalized people; co-ordinates approaches to Artificial Intelligence and preserves and promotes the world’s documentary heritage.

Through this work the programme contributes to the UN Sustainable Development Goals which recognize the importance of public access to information and the protection of fundamental freedoms to peaceful and inclusive societies.

Legal Framework

UNESCO establishes an international normative framework through its Conventions, Recommendations and other agreements.

There are two Conventions, fifteen Recommendations and three Declarations covering Communication and Information. They encourage Member States to deal with issues including new technologies, the free flow of information and ideas and international cultural cooperation. Together they establish a robust international framework for protecting global rights and promoting participation and therefore laying the foundation for sustainable development.

Policy Advice

The UK National Commission for UNESCO informs and advises on international and domestic communication & information policy to UNESCO and UK Government. UNESCO places a strong emphasis on the needs of lesser developed countries in its C&I work but the programme is also vital for the UK’s own national and international information and communication activities and UK Experts are playing a leading role.

Expert Advice

We work with a network of experts across the UK who support UNESCO’s global mission to build peace in the minds of men and women. Our Expert Network is made up of pro-bono specialists who help to advise the UK and Devolved Governments on policy relating to UNESCO’s programmes.

   Explore our Expert Network        

Programmes & Initiatives

The Communication and Information Sector within UNESCO aims to advance freedom of expression, media development, and access to information. This is aligned closely with UNESCO’s mandate to “promote the free flow of ideas by word and image”. The sites and initiatives in the present in the UK help to advance these aims by increasing visibility and exchanging ideas.

The initiatives UNESCO organises worldwide directly contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (including SDGs 4, 5, 8, 9, 10,11,13,16 and 17) set out in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, with specific attention to the social, political and economic mutations of the digital age.

UNESCO launched the Memory of the World (MoW) Programme in 1992 to guard against the collective amnesia, calling upon the preservation of the valuable archive holdings and library collections all over the world and ensuring their wide dissemination. The Programme’s vision is that the world’s documentary heritage belongs to all, should be fully preserved and protected for all and, with due recognition of cultural mores and practicalities, should be permanently accessible to all without hindrance.