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Standard-Setting Instruments

When, cultural differences and traditions notwithstanding, States agree to common rules, they can draw up an international instrument: an agreement or convention, which are legally binding, a recommendation or a declaration.

UNESCO participates in this effort through its standard-setting action, serving as a central forum for coordinating the ethical, normative and intellectual issues of our time, fostering multidisciplinary exchange and mutual understanding, working – where possible and desirable – towards universal agreements on these issues, defining benchmarks and mobilizing international opinion.

This site lists each instrument by type and by UNESCO sector of activity. For each instrument you will find HTML versions of the texts in English and French, and links to PDF files from our official documents in the six official languages of UNESCO.

More information :



Sing.bmpComprehensive report by the Director-General on UNESCO's standard-setting instruments (38 C/INF.6)
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CR Photo ok.jpgThe Committee on Conventions and Recommendations - 2014 Edition
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Textes ééé.jpgBasic Texts - 2014 Edition
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conseil.gifThe Executive Board of UNESCO - 2012 edition
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la.jpgUNESCO's procedure for the protection of human rights: the legislative history of the 104 EX/3.3 Procedure
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bpi 2.jpgStandard-setting in UNESCO
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177 EX 35 pixel.bmpFramework Guidelines
Adopted by the Executive Board at its 177th session (177 EX/Decision 35 II) and amended at its 196th session (196 EX/Decision 20) More

177 EX 35 pixel.bmpSpecific multi-stage procedure for the monitoring of the implementation of UNESCO conventions and recommendations for which no specific institutional mechanism is provided
Adopted by the Executive Board at its 177th session (177 EX/Decision 35 I) and amended at its 196th session (196 EX/Decision 20) More

Image sans titre 2.pngDocuments concerning the CR Committee since the 159th session of the Executive Board
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04-02-2016 Ratification by Ghana of the Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property (Paris, 14 November 1970) UNESCO
On 20 January 2016, Ghana deposited with the Director-General its instrument of ratification of the Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property. More

04-02-2016 Ratification by Ghana of the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (Paris, 17 October 2003) UNESCO
On 20 January 2016, Ghana deposited with the Director-General its instrument of ratification of the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage. More

04-02-2016 Ratification by Ghana of the Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage (Paris, 2 November 2001) UNESCO
On 20 January 2016, Ghana deposited with the Director-General its instrument of ratification of the Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage. More

04-02-2016 Ratification by Ghana to the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions (Paris, 20 October 2005) UNESCO
On 20 January 2016, Ghana deposited with the Director-General its instrument of ratification to the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions. More

21-01-2016 Ratification by Cabo Verde of the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (Paris, 17 October 2003) UNESCO
On 6 January 2016, Cabo Verde deposited with the Director-General its instrument of ratification of the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage. More

21-01-2016 Acceptance by the Lao People’s Democratic Republic of the Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property (Paris, 14 November 1970) UNESCO
On 22 December 2015, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic deposited with the Director-General its instrument of acceptance of the Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property. More

21-01-2016 Ratification by Ireland of the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (Paris, 17 October 2003) UNESCO
On 22 December 2015, Ireland deposited with the Director-General its instrument of ratification of the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage. More

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