The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) was established in 1945 to promote the aims set out in article 1, para. 3 of the UN Charter. Its purpose, as stated in article 1 of its Constitution, is to contribute to peace and security by promoting collaboration among nations through education, science and culture.
The General Conference is UNESCO's supreme body and meets every two years. On the proposal of the Executive Board, the General Conference, during its ordinary session, sets the next session's venue. The Executive Board is elected by the General Conference for a four year term and consists of 58 Member States. Each Member State appoints a representative with competence in fields related to UNESCO and qualified to fulfil the administrative and executive duties of the Board. Alternates may also be appointed.
The following are some of the inter-governmental bodies that are sub-organs of the UNESCO General Conference:
Intergovernmental Council of the International Hydrological Programme (IHP)
International Coordinating Council of the Programme on Man and the Biosphere (MAB)
International Geoscience Programme (IGCP)
Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC)
Intergovernmental Council for the Information for All Programmes (IFAP)
Intergovernmental Council of the International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC)
Intergovernmental Committee for Physical Education and Sport (CIGEPS)
Intergovernmental Committee for Promoting the Return of Cultural Property to its Countries of Origin or its Restitution in the Case of Illicit Appropriation
Intergovernmental Council of the Management of Social Transformations Programme (MOST)
Intergovernmental Bioethics Committee (IGBC).
UNESCO has 193 Member States and six associate members (as of April 2011), one of the highest memberships in the UN system. The electoral grouping system allocates each region a specific number of Executive Board seats:
Group I (Western European and North American countries), nine seats;
Group II (Eastern European countries), seven seats;
Group III (Latin America and the Caribbean counttries or GRULAC), 10 seats;
Group IV (Asia and the Pacific countries or ASPAC), 12 seats;
Group V(a) (Africa), 13 seats;
Group V(b) (Arab States), seven seats.
Group I Members: Andorra Austria Belgium Canada Cyprus Denmark Finland France Germany Greece Iceland Ireland Israel Italy Luxembourg Malta Monaco Netherlands Norway Portugal San Marino Spain Sweden Switzerland Turkey UK USA
Group II Members: Albania Armenia Azerbaijan Belarus Bosnia and Herzegovina Bulgaria Croatia Czech Republic Estonia Georgia Hungary Latvia Lithuania Montenegro Poland Republic of Moldova Romania Russian Federation Serbia Slovakia Slovenia Tajikistan The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia Ukraine Uzbekistan
Group III Members: Antigua and Brubuda Argentina Bahamas Barbados Belize Bolivia BraziL Chile Colombia Costa Rica Cuba Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador El Salvador Grenada Guatemala Guyana Haiti Honduras Jamaica Mexico Nicaragua Panama Paraguay Peru Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Vmcent and the Grenadines Suriname Trinidad and Tobago Uruguay Venezuela
Group IV Members: Afghanistan Australia Bangladesh Brunei Darussalam Cambodia China Cook Islands Democratic People's Republic of Korea Fiji India Indonesia Iran Japan Kazakhstan Kiribati Kyrgyzstan Lao PDR Malaysia Maldives Marshall Islands Micronesia Mongolia Myanmar Nauru Nepal New Zealand Niue Pakistan Palau Papua New Guinea Philippines ROK Samoa Singapore Solomon Islands Sri Lanka Thailand Timor-Leste Tonga Turkmenistan Tuvalu Vanuatu Viet Nam
Group V Members: Algeria Angola Bahrain Benin Botswana Burkina Faso Burundi Cameroon Cape Verde Central African Republic Chad Comoros Congo COte d'Ivoire DR Congo Djibouti Egypt Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Ethiopia Gabon Gambia Ghana Guinea Guinea-Bissau Iraq Jordan Kenya Kuwait Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan AJ Madagascar Malawi Mali Mauritania Mauritius Morocco Mozambique Namibia Niger Nigeria Oman Qatar Rwanda Saudi Arabia Senegal Seychelles Sierra Leone Somalia South Africa Sudan Swaziland Syrian AR Togo Tunisia Uganda UAE UR of Tanzania Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe
Associate Members: Aruba British Virgin Islands Cayman Islands Faroe Islands Macau, China Tokelau
Observer Status: Holy See Palestine
UNESCO's General Conference is held every two years. The 36th session was held from 25 October to 11 November 2011 in Paris, France. The Board meets in regular sessions at least four times in any two-year period. As a general rule there are at least two regular sessions a year, normally in April and October.
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