United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO)

UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation was founded on 16 November 1945 to contribute to building peace and security in the world through education, science, culture and communication. By fostering international collaboration through education, science and culture so as to ensure universal respect of justice, the rule of law and human rights as well as basic liberties as announced in the Charter of the United Nations, UNESCO pursues its objectives through five major programmes:

  • Education
  • Natural Sciences
  • Human and Social Sciences
  • Culture
  • Communication and Information

UNESCO today has 195 member States and 9 associated members.


Actions in the Pacific

UNESCO is involved in the Pacific through different actions and more especially through the funding of projects, for example the OANA programme (Organisation of Asia-Pacific News Agencies): OANA is an association of news agencies promoted by UNESCO in 1961 to guarantee free and direct exchange of information between the Member States of the Asia-Pacific region.

But beyond these fundings, UNESCO is involved in the region through the implementation of workshops focused essentially on the issues of the Asia-Pacific region. The 2009 workshop on the Pacific Countries World Heritage followed on the one held in Australia in 2008 and brought together nearly every State and Territory in the Pacific. On this occasion, every Pacific State spoke to present the progress made in implementing the World Heritage Convention and express its view on the needs and challenges it needs to confront. At the end of this workshop, a Pacific World Heritage Action Plan was developed, defining the main actions to be carried out to strengthen the implementation of the World Heritage Convention in the Pacific, to raise awareness and to support the conservation of cultural and natural heritage of the Pacific while taking into account the traditions and aspirations of its people.

From 5 to 9 September 2011 in Apia, Samoa, a workshop on the World Heritage in the Pacific region brought together approximately 70 national representatives and experts in the areas of protection of cultural and natural heritage, coming from the 16 Pacific States. The World Heritage Committee renewed this experience several times between 2010 and 2012 as the Asia and Pacific States were invited by the World Heritage Committee to carry out the second phase of submission of periodic reports to provide the Committee with the necessary information and updates on the current state of the World Heritage Properties in the region.

More recently, a programme on education was held in Nagoya, Japan, on 10 and 12 November 2014, and was defined to fully align the objectives of the post-2015 World Development Agenda adopted by the United Nations Summit in September 2015 with the Education Agenda, to be adopted during the World Forum on Education at Incheon (Republic of Korea) on 19 and 22 May 2015.


New Caledonia and UNESCO

The Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage is a document drawn up following the United Nations General Conference on Education, Science and Culture, held in Paris from 17 to 21 November 1972. The Convention also defines the role of States Parties to the document in the protection and conservation of the different World Heritage sites located on their territory, and also in protecting their national heritage. This document therefore defines the natural and cultural sites which can be found under the “World Heritage List” as they are regarded as sites for which preservation is crucial for the common heritage of humanity.

New Caledonia, as opposed to the other Pacific islands, does not belong to the Asia-Pacific zone because of its OCT status, and as a result is integrated with France in the Europe-Northern America region. This list, thus drafted by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee comprises 39 French sites, amongst which 1 is located in New Caledonia: Its lagoon and its associated ecosystem (composed of 6 marine areas). It is a first for a French overseas territory and it is the 33rd French site to be inscribed on the list, yet it is only the second natural site, behind the Golf de Porto in Corsica.