The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) aims to contribute to maintaining peace and security in the world by closer collaboration between nations through education, science, culture and communication. Based on the principles of universality, diversity and dignity, UNESCO's actions continue to be guided and determined by the system of generally shared values - justice, solidarity, tolerance, sharing, fairness, respect for human rights, including women's rights, as well as cultural diversity, pluralism and democratic principles.
Created in 1945, this specialised agency of the United Nations currently has 195 Member States, including Switzerland, and 8 associate members.
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 this 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 of the General Conference, OFCOM represents Switzerland on issues relating to electronic communications and takes part in the Information for all programme (IFAP) of which it is an Executive Board member. As part of the process of drawing up the convention on cultural diversity, OFCOM has participated in the Swiss negotiation group and has successfully defended the concepts of media pluralism and public broadcasting finance as elements of a national policy which guarantee cultural diversity.
OFCOM regularly and closely monitors the various activities of UNESCO relating to the media and the information society.
In 1945, the creation of UNESCO responded to a strong conviction of the nations affected by two world wars: economic and political agreements cannot suffice to build a lasting peace. This must be established on the basis of the intellectual and moral solidarity of humanity. Thus, UNESCO endeavours to build bridges between nations which make this solidarity possible.
UNESCO pursues its action through five major programmes: education; exact, natural, social and human sciences; culture; communication; and information.
The head office of UNESCO is in Paris but the organisation has more than 50 external offices situated all over the world. Its directing bodies are the General Conference and the Executive Board. The secretariat is headed by the Director-General Irina Bokova and endeavours to implement the decisions of these two executive bodies.