The UNESCO Clubs, Centres and Associations are groups of volunteers of different ages and socio-professional status who become militants in the service of UNESCO’s ideals.
These Clubs take up a position on global problems with local repercussions and thus contribute to the process of reflection on social priorities. This movement attests to the ever-increasing role of civil society throughout the world and the influence that citizens can exert on socio-economic decision-makers. The 3,800 or so Clubs, spread over 100 countries, have three main functions: training, information and action.
Although UNESCO’s name appears in the titles of the different Clubs and their federations, it does not mean that the Organization is in any way responsible for their activities.
Clubs must be able to develop their activities in their own ways: UNESCO has made a point of playing no part either in their setting-up or in their development. The different Clubs are financially and legally autonomous, thus responsible for their own operation, but UNESCO can provide intellectual, financial, and/or material assistance for specific activities that it considers particularly relevant.
In addition, to secure external financing, many Clubs turn to the National Commissions for UNESCO, ministerial departments, local communities and certain national or internationally-oriented bodies and also to companies, foundations and individuals. UNESCO helps to strengthen the Clubs’ impact by fostering cooperation with the programme sectors, field offices and the Organization’s main networks, such as that of the Associated Schools.