The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)-based in Paris (www.unesco.org)-was formed in the postwar period to cater to the immediate social and cultural needs of the worst affected by the global conflict. As with many other organizations formed at the time, its scope and range of activity rapidly expanded. Technically a key organ of the United Nations machinery, UNESCO has a strong national and regional focus with many offices based in and named after the constituent countries, such as UNESCO UK. Today, UNESCO defines its "forms of action" across the following wide spectrum:
• Establishment of international standards: conventions, agreements, recommendations
• Conferences and meetings
• Studies and research
• Publications: books, periodicals, reports, and documents
• Technical and advisory services to memberstates: staff missions, consultants, supplies, and equipment
• Training courses, seminars, and workshops
• Subventions to nongovernmental organizations (NGOs)
• Financial contributions: fellowships, study grants, and travel grants
Two major UNESCO conferences in 1990 and 2000 demonstrate UNESCO's commitment to educational development in the broadest contexts:
• 1990 World Conference of Education for All, Jomtien, Thailand (with UN Development Programme, United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund [UNICEF], and World Bank)
• 2000 World Education Forum, Dakar
The immense scope and range of UNESCO's work are illustrated by the links that the organization has to many aspects of human rights, such as education and working for democracy and pluralism.
United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)-Paris: Links Division of Human Rights, Democracy, Peace andTolerance
Management of Social Transformations Programme (MOST):
Multiculturalism Linguistic rights Religious rights Cultural heritage Intercultural dialogue and pluralism World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), Geneva, Switzerland Traditional knowledge Universal Declaration on Linguistic Rights Child rights The State of the World's Children 2000 World Education Forum, Dakar 2000
Since 1946, UNESCO has published more than 10,000 titles across the full range of its activities, including book-length reports, scholarly research, and newsletters. Two major UNESCO databases provide the serious researcher with numerous national and global sources of information, many of which have direct relevance to the educational and especially cultural development of young people in a religiously diverse world, notably the UNESDOC database on the Internet, which contains full text of all official UNESCO documents since the end of 1995; and the UNESBIB database of more than 100,000 bibliographical references to UNESCO documents, publications.
UNESCO has a special brief for the implementation of international legal standards focusing on or of relevance to freedom of religious and cultural modes of expression. Through its famous World Heritage site label, UNESCO quietly protects many of the planet's most precious natural and human resources. UNESCO's approach to the denial of basic religious and cultural freedoms by oppressive regimes is through encouragement of dialogue, sympathetically envisioned by its Declaration of the Principles of International Cultural Co-operation (UNESCO, 4 November 1966). This must, however, be contextualized by the wider United Nations setting of international legal standards that defend freedom of expression.
International Legal Standards:
Defending Freedom of Expression
Convention on the International Right of Correction (16 December 1952, effective 24 August 1962)
Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966)
International Covenant on Social, Economic and Cultural Rights (1966)
Declaration of the Principles of International Cultural Co-operation (UNESCO) (4 November 1966)
Recommendation concerning Education for International Understanding, Cooperation and Peace and Education relating to Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (UNESCO) (19 November 1974)
More widely still, UNESCO's work must be set in the broader remit of the United Nations under the heading of the "right to development," obviously of both direct and indirect relevance to spiritual and religious development, but set within a wider sociocultural and political context.
The right to development is arguably among the most complex of all human rights, partly because development is so broad and thus so difficult a term to define. Several articles of the Universal Declaration are relevant. Examples are Article 23, "Everyone has the right to work"; Article 25, "Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for health and wellbeing"; Article 26, "Everyone has the right to education"; and Article 27, "Everyone has the right to freely participate in the cultural life of the community." All of these directly impinge on personal and social development. Interestingly, Article 29, "Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of his personality is possible," is the only article to mention the idea of duty or responsibility in which the word development appears most prominently.