UNESCO is the United Nations' Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. Among the 19 specialized United Nations agencies, it is the one with the broadest mandate. In order to work effectively in these particularly sensitive fields of politics, UNESCO's constitution (Article VII) has foreseen the establishment of national liaison offices in all member states, the National Commissions. Their task is to link governmental action with the expertise of civil society and thus to support governments; and to further the aims of UNESCO in the member states.
UNESCO is the only UN agency with such National Commissions. There are 195 National Commissions around the world.
More about UNESCO: www.unesco.org
The German Commission for UNESCO was founded on the 12th May 1950, even before Germany had been admitted to UNESCO (11th July 1951). It is the link between Germany and UNESCO, acting as an intermediary of foreign cultural and educational policy, and is supported by the Federal Foreign Office of Germany. It is based in Bonn, its members reflect the broad spectrum of institutions and associations active in Germany in UNESCO’s areas of competence. 86 of its members are elected by the annual assembly, representing relevant associations and institutions in the fields of UNESCO's mandate as well as individual experts. 14 members represent federal and state governments.
The Commission advises the Federal Government, Parliament and all other public bodies on UNESCO issues, as well as on selected issues in the competence of the Council of Europe. It coordinates the contribution of German experts and civil society to the drafting of UNESCO’s programmes and norms. It supports the implementation of UNESCO's programmes in Germany and is responsible for providing information and for public awareness activities in German on all of UNESCO’s areas of work, together with its partner organisations in Austria, Switzerland and Luxembourg. It supports international cooperation and cooperates itself closely with other National Commissions, with a recent emphasis on Africa.
More about the German Commission for UNESCO: www.unesco.de
The French Commission for UNESCO was created by a governmental decree on 2 August 1946, which also established its composition: members elected by associations in the fields of education, science and culture, personalities designated by the government, representatives of the parliament, of the “grand corps de l’Etat”, of the administration and the institutions and organs active in the fields of competence of UNESCO.
One of the main tasks of the National Commission is to contribute to the intellectual influence of France on UNESCO. In this sense, it represents a high-level pool of expertise and a place of exchange of ideas and of elaboration of positions intended to nourish, enrich and reform the programmes of this international organisation, in tune with the French priorities in education, science, culture and communication.
Vice-versa, the Commission ventures to promote the influence of UNESCO and of its values on the French society. This comprises informing and sensitizing about UNESCO and about the important debates taking place within the Organization.
For all of its activities, the Commission goes to great lengths in initiating and implementing international cooperation in the fields of competence of UNESCO, especially as regards other National Commissions of the member states of the Organization.
More about the French Commission for UNESCO: www.unesco.fr