As a specialized agency of the United Nations, UNESCO’s contributes to the building of peace, the eradication of poverty, sustainable development and intercultural dialogue through education, the sciences, culture, communication and information. This contribution is ensured by anchoring UNESCO’s programmes in Internationally Agreed Development Goals, which UNESCO and its Member States contributed to formulate through numerous international conferences concerning the Organization’s fields of competence.
UNESCO’s top priority is to offer support to Member States in achieving quality Education for All (EFA), a collective commitment made at the World Education Forum (Dakar, 2000). Education is also fundamental for the achievement of all the Millennium Development Goals, of which two (MDG 2 and 3) concern education directly.
The natural sciences are essential for achieving the goals of the World Conference on Science, the World Summit on Sustainable Development, the Mauritius Strategy and the MDGs, particularly MDGs 1, 6, 7 and 8.
The Millennium Declaration strongly emphasizes the role of human rights, and the values of freedom, justice, solidarity and shared responsibility. Through its work on Social and Human Sciences, helping to interpret the social, cultural and economic environment, UNESCO proposes social and economic development policies that support equitable and inclusive growth and confirm the values and goals of the MDGs.
Although culture is not explicitly mentioned among the eight MDGs, the September 2010 MDG Summit Outcome Document, emphasizes the importance of culture for development and its contribution to the achievement of the MDGs, and encourages international cooperation in the cultural field, aimed at achieving development objectives. More recently, in December 2010, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution entitled “Culture and Development” that reaffirms the role of culture in development and calls for its integration in global development policies.
The contribution of culture to the MDGs is particularly relevant with regard to MDGs 1 (eradicating extreme poverty), 3 (promoting gender equality and empowering women), 6 (combating HIV/AIDS), 7 (ensuring environmental sustainability) and 8 (developing a global partnership for development).
UNESCO’s communication and information programme focuses on helping to create, access, utilize, share, and preserve information and knowledge. As recognized by the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), information and communication, particularly through new technologies, contribute to the achievement of the MDGs and enable individuals, communities and countries to achieve their full potential.