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What We Do

We represent New Zealand to UNESCO, and take relevant UNESCO collective resources, networks, programmes and connections and apply them in a way that benefits Aotearoa New Zealand.

What is UNESCO?

UNESCO stands for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation. It is a specialised agency of the United Nations, aimed at promoting world peace and security through international cooperation in education, the sciences and culture.

It was established after WWII on the belief that ‘political and economic arrangement will not produce lasting peace and the only certainty for world security is intellectual and moral solidarity’.

What is the role of the New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO?

The National Commission for UNESCO was established to serve as a first point of contact for UNESCO in New Zealand and to provide expert advice on UNESCO related issues.

We are funded by the Government and are made up of a Secretariat, Chair, Commissioners with expertise areas of education, natural science, social sciences, culture and communications and information and a group of UNESCO Aotearoa Youth Leaders.

Everything we do aims to build resilient communities, improve the health of our environment and foster a culture of peace in New Zealand and the Pacific.

How do we work to achieve our aims?

We partner and support programmes, initiatives, events and promotional activities that are relevant to UNESCO’s mandate.

We create opportunities for people to gather together – as individuals or through organisations, programmes and initiatives, locally, nationally and internationally – providing space and time to ‘build peace through dialogue’.

We promote opportunities for New Zealanders to participate in and benefit from UNESCO international and regional programmes and activities, such as nominating New Zealanders for UNESCO prizes, enabling New Zealanders to apply for UNESCO opportunities and participation by New Zealand experts in UNESCO meetings.

From time to time we are invited by UNESCO to host UNESCO international activities in New Zealand.

We also play an active role in UNESCO’s work in the Pacific.

New Zealand’s UNESCO World Heritage sites are managed by the Department of Conservation.


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