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The Role of the UK National Commission for UNESCO

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The UK National Commission supports the UK’s contribution to UNESCO and brings the benefits of UNESCO to the UK. We are the central hub for all UNESCO-related matters within the UK.

We are an independent not-for-profit organisation, supported by grant funding from the UK government. Our core functions are:

To provide expert, individual policy advice to the UK and devolved governments on UNESCO related issues.

To support the UK government’s agenda to help UNESCO achieve its core goals.

To advise and assist individuals and institutions in the UK and its’ Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies, with accessing UNESCO accreditation and prizes.

To support and enhance the value of the UK’s 165 UNESCO sites and projects

“At the heart of delivering UNESCO’s mission at the national level is the global network of 199 National Commissions for UNESCO”

2020 National Value Report

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📣   Advisory services

The range of UNESCO’s global programmes and activities are substantial – from media literacy and the safety of journalists, protecting cultural heritage, gender equality, facilitating international cooperation in science to driving forward and monitoring the Education 2030 United Nations Sustainable Development Goal targets.

We work with experts across the UK to ensure the advice provided on UNESCO’s programmes and activities is of the highest quality and offers practical recommendations.

Provide independent advice to the UK government and devolved governments in the fields of education, science, culture and communication, and assess the merits of UNESCO’s various programmes.

Provide independent advice in the development of the UK government’s policy on UNESCO’s programmes, and support its agenda to help UNESCO achieve its core goals.

Advise the UK Permanent Delegation to UNESCO during UNESCO’s biennial General Conference.

Represent the UK and advocate its priorities and needs at UNESCO meetings.

Draw on the UK’s expertise to contribute to and help shape UNESCO’s global policies and programmes and exchange expertise with its 195 Member States.

Our work helps to ensure that the UK and devolved governments attain maximum value from their UNESCO membership.

📣   Accreditation

Recognised internationally as shorthand for high-quality, the UNESCO ‘badge’ demonstrates to a national and international audience that a place, item or location is unique and of global significance and interest.

UNESCO prizes recognise the outstanding contribution of individuals or organisations that work to further UNESCO’s goals in its programmatic fields. We advise and support individuals and institutions in the UK, its Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies through the process of gaining UNESCO accreditation. These include:

UNESCO Biosphere Reserves

The UNESCO Chairs and UNITWIN Network Programme

UNESCO Creative Cities

UNESCO Global Geoparks

UNESCO Memory of the World Register

UNESCO World Heritage Sites

We also advise and support opportunities to apply for UNESCO prizes, including the UNESCO-Japan Prize on Education for Sustainable Development and the L’Oréal for Women in Science Programme among others.

All UK applications are independently peer-reviewed before they are recommended for submission to the UNESCO Secretariat in Paris. This process ensures all UK nominations sent to UNESCO are of the highest quality while providing the applicant with the specialist and tailored support they need.

What else do we do? Read about the other work the UKNC does for the UK UNESCO network

PROVING VALUE

Financial Value: UNESCO status helped UK designations to attract at least £151 million in additional income in 2018.

Wider, non-financial value: The financial value of the UK’s UNESCO designations is only part of their story. Though harder to measure and capture, the deeper value of the UK’s UNESCO network lies in their rich and creative programme of work. Our research seeks to give a voice to that value and identifies five key activities which unite our diverse designations: conservation, education, research, capacity-building and management and planning.

The National Value of UNESCO Designations to the United Kingdom shows how UNESCO is bringing sites, people and communities together, and creating and delivering value for the United Kingdom.

BRANDING

UNESCO Patronage is a recognised mark of quality which symbolises the importance of an event or activity to UNESCO’s aims objectives, and can act as a mechanism to enhance quality and create value

All UK applications for UNESCO are independently peer-reviewed before they are recommended for submission to the UNESCO Secretariat in Paris. This process ensures all UK nominations sent to UNESCO sent to UNESCO are of the highest quality while providing the applicant with the specialist and tailored support they need.

SUPPORT

We support UNESCO designations in the UK, monitoring the value they obtain from their association with UNESCO and helping them achieve their full potential.

We assist the UK’s 150+ designations with collaboration with the global UNESCO network so they can access new programmes, partnerships, and funding opportunities and influence key decision-makers.

EXPERT NETWORK

We have been tasked by the UK Government to retain a pool of high-level expertise, with a mandate to monitor UNESCO’s programmes and provide a forward-looking role in UNESCO’s fields of competence at the national level.

Our expert network is a pro bono network of specialists working in the fields of education, cultural, natural and social sciences and communication and information from across the UK. The Network enables us to engage with the intellectual and scientific communities of the UK in producing advice and analysing UNESCO’s programmes.

JOIN OUR NETWORK

If you have expertise in one of UNESCO’s four programmatic areas, consider joining our Expert Network

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