Founded in 1945, the United Nations Education, Science and Culture Organisation (UNESCO) is a specialised agency of the United Nations that aims to promote world peace and security through international cooperation in education, the sciences, culture, and communication. The organisation has 193 member states and 11 associated members (the United States and Israel left UNESCO in January 2019). This year marks 30 years of Lithuania’s membership of UNESCO. The country joined UNESCO on 7 October 1991.

For more information about UNESCO, click here: https://en.unesco.org/

Lithuania is currently member of the following Intergovernmental Committees:

  • The Executive Committee of the Council for Philosophy and Human Sciences (CIPSH) of UNESCO. Prof. Dr. Renaldas Gudauskas, who represents memory institutions, was elected as Executive Committee member (mandate 2020-2023)

Priorities of Lithuania as a member of UNESCO’s Executive Board:

  • to actively participate in finding solutions to the issues of the safety of journalists and of impunity of crimes against journalists;
  • to achieve a more active engagement of UNESCO in addressing the issues of Crimea in the organization’s fields of competence;
  • to strengthen the protection of human rights, promoting freedom of expression and freedom of the press, ensuring equal opportunities to all individuals in UNESCO’s fields of competence;
  • to promote the diversity of cultural expressions, with particular emphasis on the integration of culture into sustainable development policy and the inclusion of civil society into the cultural policy making process;
  • to seek to strengthen the protection of tangible and intangible cultural heritage, with particular attention to the protection of cultural heritage during armed conflict;
  • to contribute to ensuring equal opportunities to all individuals, particularly in the field of education;
  • to strengthen the role of higher education and responsible research institutions in addressing socio-economic and cultural challenges facing society and responsibility basing the countries’ development prospects on scientific research;
  • to contribute to the effective implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development of the United Nations in UNESCO’s fields of competence;
  • to dedicate a lot of attention to the participation of research institutions and scientists in UNESCO’s international science programmes;
  • to contribute to strengthening UNESCO’s role in achieving universal access to the Internet, information literacy, information storage, information ethics, multilingualism and dissemination of information and communication technology;
  • to aim to improve efficiency and effectiveness of UNESCO’s work.

UNESCO’s Executive Board

The Executive Board is one of the main governing bodies of UNESCO, composed of 58 member states. It generally meets twice a year, in spring and autumn. In particular, the Executive Board examines the programme of work for UNESCO and corresponding budget estimates, considers the reports on activities of the organization, makes recommendations on the admission of new member states and the appointment of the Director General, summons various international conferences. The Board takes decisions by a simple majority or a qualified majority (on strategic issues). The member states do not have the right of veto.

Lithuania’s key activities in priority areas

  • To have  Kaunas Modernist architecture inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The nomination dossier ‘Modernist Kaunas: Architecture of Optimism, 1919–1939’ has been submitted to the UNESCO World Heritage Centre to have Kaunas Modernist architecture inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. It was prepared in cooperation between the Ministry of Culture, the Kaunas City Municipality, and the Secretariat of the Lithuanian National Commission for UNESCO. The country’s best specialists, foreign experts and the UNESCO advisory bodies have contributed to the preparation of the nomination dossier. The evaluation process of the nomination file may take up to a year and a half. The UNESCO World Heritage Committee will make its final decision in summer 2022.