France and UNESCO


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France is a candidate to the UNESCO Executive Board for the 2023-2027 term (Groupe I). Elections will take place during the 42nd General Conference in Paris in November 2023.

A founding member and the host State of UNESCO, France prioritizes education, culture, science, information and communication in its domestic and international policies. As a member of the Executive Board, France has committed to the success of UNESCO and its overarching priorities (Africa, gender equality).

As a candidate to the UNESCO Executive Board for the 2023-2027 term, France wishes to continue its commitment to the Organization, its normative work and its work on the ground.

France’s commitments on the UNESCO Executive Board

Education is a priority shared by France and UNESCO

As a member of the steering committee for Sustainable Development Goal 4 (“Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”), France supports UNESCO’s action in the field of education, particularly for girls. It is also one of the leading voluntary contributors to the organization’s educational programmes, and gives priority support to the International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP), the O3 programme (“Our rights, Our lives, Our future”) and the International Bureau of Education (IBE).

Committed to financing education, France supported the adoption of the Paris Declaration on investing in education (2021) and the organization of the Transforming Education Summit (2022). It took part in drafting the Global Convention on the Recognition of Qualifications concerning Higher Education (2019) and the preparations for the World Conference on Early Childhood Care and Education (2022).

France is a State Party to UNESCO’s six cultural heritage conventions, and works to promote and support cultural cooperation at UNESCO

France supports the protection of tangible and intangible natural and cultural heritage, everywhere and in all circumstances. It is working with the African World Heritage Fund (AWHF) to enhance the representativeness of the World Heritage Lists. It prioritizes heritage protection in situations of conflict and the fight against the illegal trafficking of cultural property.
By providing its Alfred Merlin ship for use by UNESCO, France gave significant support to the Skerki Bank exploration mission, the first carried out under the Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage.
As a member of the intergovernmental committee for the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, France is working for its application to online platforms.

France is committed to an ambitious UNESCO, able to respond to the challenges of its time

At the Executive Board, France is calling for a budget which will help UNESCO carry out its missions. It is one of the leading contributors to UNESCO, in terms of both regular budget contributions and voluntary contributions. The latter have grown since 2019 to reach €10 million per year. France will strive to maintain this level of commitment and will continue to honour its contribution to the regular budget in good time.
France has supported UNESCO’s crisis response initiatives, such as the “Revive the Spirit of Mosul” programme in Iraq; the Li-Beirut initiative in Lebanon, and also in Ukraine.

The Permanent Delegation of France to UNESCO helps make the organization a place where intellectual discussion flourishes.

France is represented by a dynamic delegation who take part in the life of UNESCO. It is supported by the French National Commission for UNESCO (CNFU), which acts as the interface between the organization and French civil society. At the initiative of the CNFU, 60 scientific, educational and cultural events were organized in 2022 in partnership with the global network of national commissions.

France promotes cultural diversity by defending Francophonie.

As Vice-Chair and an active member of the Group of Francophone Ambassadors at UNESCO (GAFU), France promotes the use of the French language, a working language of the secretariat and official language of the organization’s governing bodies, thereby safeguarding the protection of linguistic and cultural diversity.

France’s commitments as UNESCO’s Host State

As Host State, France works alongside UNESCO to ensure the best conditions in the work of the organization and of its Member States. In recent years, France has paid the interest on the loan taken out by UNESCO for the renovation of Building V (Miollis), which hosts the permanent delegations of many Member States. It financed an engineering study with a view to the renovation of Building VI (Bonvin), as it had done for the renovation works on the Fontenoy site (Plan Belmont), and will finance another study to move forward in this project.

Updated : July 2023