The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) seeks to preserve peace and security in the world through international cooperation in education, the sciences, culture and communication. Founded in 1945, UNESCO is a specialised agency of the United Nations. It has 193 member states, including Switzerland, and 11 associate members. Based on the principles of universality, diversity and dignity, UNESCO’s actions continue to be guided and shaped by a set of commonly shared values that include justice, solidarity, tolerance, sharing, equity, respect for human rights, and cultural diversity, pluralism and democratic principles.

Importance for Switzerland

Switzerland plays an active role in UNESCO and participates in international cooperation in the fields of education, the exact and natural sciences as well as the human and social sciences, culture and communication. It has been elected to the Executive Board of UNESCO for the period 2019-2023 and also sits on various intergovernmental committees.

The Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) is the lead agency for all Swiss activities at UNESCO.

OFCOM’s role 

OFCOM has been participating actively in the work of UNESCO since 1999, the year in which work relating to the information society took off within the organisation. UNESCO actively contributed to the two phases of the World Summit on the Information Society which were held in Geneva in 2003 and in Tunis in 2005. In this context, UNESCO was called upon to implement the declarations and action plans approved by these international meetings. Monitoring the activities of Commission V (Communication and Information) of the General Conference, OFCOM represents Switzerland on issues relating to electronic communications, particularly journalism, the media and online human rights, and takes part in the Information for All Programme (IFAP). OFCOM also participates actively in the current work on artificial intelligence.

Specialist staff
Last modification 23.11.2021

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