EU Global Strategy

The UNESCO and the EU

10/12/2020 - 15:51
Relations with International Organisations and Fora

The collaboration between the UNESCO and the EU covers dimensions such as support to education, cultural diversity, science and youth. The achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), climate change action, gender equality and support for rules-based multilateralism are cross-cutting cooperation areas as well.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) was established in 1945, with its Constitution coming into force on 4 November 1946. As a specialised agency of the United Nations based in Paris, UNESCO's mission is to promote international cooperation in education, science, culture and communication. Through its actions, UNESCO strives to support peace, poverty eradication, sustainable development and intercultural dialogue. UNESCO brings together 193 member states.

The EU has an observer status and has been working with and supporting the organisation since its creation. On 8 October 2012, UNESCO and the EU signed a Memorandum of Understanding with a view to enhance dialogue, strengthen cooperation and foster an exchange of best practices.

Today, EU's voluntary funding represents the 2nd largest extra-budgetary funding source for UNESCO, after Sweden. In 2019 alone, the EU provided 65.3 million EUR of voluntary contributions. The European Union 2020-2021 planned expenditures represent at least 50 million USD across all UNESCO sectors. The EU is supporting several UNESCO projects on world heritage protection (Central and East Africa, Middle East, and Europe), trust-building (South East Europe), education, youth and skills (Iraq, Malawi, the Mediterranean), media and freedom of expression (Jordan, South East Europe) and in several other areas. The EU also acted as a strong UNESCO partner in the reaction to Covid-19 pandemic consequences, through the implementation of different programmes in UNESCO areas of work.


Below you can find useful links to UNESCO work and the work of the EU at the UN.


EU-UNESCO cooperation
UNESCO Transparency Portal
Liaison Office in Brussels and Representation to the European Union
UNESCO-EU Partnerships
The European Union & UNESCO: Partnering towards common goals 

Key EU-UNESCO projects in different UNESCO areas of work
Human rights, including freedom of expression

EU at the UN
EU priorities and statements at the UN


Editorial Sections: