UNESCO's governing bodies

The General Conference

The General Conference consists of the representatives of UNESCO's Member States. It meets every two years, and is attended by Member States and Associate Members, together with observers for non-Member States, intergovernmental organizations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Each country has one vote, irrespective of its size or the extent of its contribution to the budget.

The General Conference determines the policies and the main lines of work of the Organization. Its duty is to set the programmes and the budget of UNESCO. It also elects the Members of the Executive Board and appoints, every four years, the Director-General. The working languages of the General Conference are Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish.

 

The Executive Board

The Executive Board ensures the overall management of UNESCO. It prepares the work of the General Conference and sees that its decisions are properly carried out. The functions and responsibilities of the Executive Board are derived primarily from the Constitution and from rules or directives laid down by the General Conference.


H. E. Mr Mohamed Sameh Amr, Chairperson of the UNESCO Executive Board
© UNESCO/Fabrice Gentile

Every two years the General Conference assigns specific tasks to the Board. Other functions stem from agreements concluded between UNESCO and the United Nations, the specialized UN agencies and other intergovernmental organizations.

The Executive Board’s fifty-eight members are elected by the General Conference. The choice of these representatives is largely a matter of the diversity of the cultures they represent, as well as their geographic origin. Skillful negotiations may be needed before a balance is reached among the different regions of the world in a way that will reflect the universality of the Organization. The Executive Board meets twice a year.