About UNESCO Multisectoral Regional Office in Abuja

UNESCO Multisectoral Regional Office in Abuja

The UNESCO Abuja Office was created in the early 1960s for the purpose of serving as a National Office. Following the UNESCO Field Network Reforms in Africa of 2011, UNESCO Abuja Office evolved to be a Multisectoral Regional Office for West Africa in 2013. It covers eight countries, namely Benin, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and Togo. In this region, UNESCO is present with National Offices in Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire, and with Antennas in Liberia, Togo and Benin. In addition, a project office has been established in 2018 in Sierra Leone and Guinea.

The Office works across all the five Major Programme Sectors of UNESCO: Education, Natural Sciences, Human and Social Sciences, Culture, and Communication and Information. It is committed to collaborating with Member States and other partners to implement a stronger and better targeted strategy to build peace, eradicate poverty and achieve inclusive sustainable development by improving the quality, equity, and relevance of education, by harnessing science, technology and innovation to boost development and build related capacities, by mobilizing the heritage and creative industries for culture and development, by promoting freedom of expression and by using ICTs for development, and by enhancing gender equality and peace and citizenship education.

Yao Ydo, Regional Director and Representative

After his four years as the Head of UNESCO Country Office in Abidjan (June 2013-March 2017), Yao Ydo from Burkina Faso was appointed Regional Director and Representative of UNESCO Multisectoral Regional Office in Abuja in 2017. With over 22 years of wide experience within the United Nations (UN) system (particularly at UNESCO), Ydo began his career at the Headquarters of UNESCO, Paris, in the Basic Education and Literacy Section in 1997 as an Associate Expert for two years. In his various functions, Ydo has acquired experience in the development of partnerships and the mobilization of extra-budgetary resources, which contributed to the mobilization 

funds from development banks, private sectors, UN agencies, and Governments (self-benefiting funds). His efficiency and dynamism enabled him to move up from Programme Specialist to Regional Advisor for Literacy and Non-Formal Education at UNESCO's Regional Office in Dakar to UNESCO Representative to Côte d’Ivoire and to Regional Director of UNESCO Multisectoral Regional Office for West Africa in Abuja.

Ydo is a recipient of Commander of the Order of National Cultural Merit from the Minister of Culture and Francophonie as well as Commander in the Order of Merit of Education by the Government of Côte d'Ivoire for the work done by UNESCO.

Ydo holds a Ph.D. in Linguistics and Didactics from the University of Grenoble, France, a postgraduate Diploma in Diplomacy and Strategic Studies from the Centre of Diplomatic and Strategic Studies in Paris, and a Master's degree in English from the University of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.

Mission Statement of Yao Ydo, Regional Director

As a specialized United Nations agency, UNESCO has its distinctive mandate to ensure lasting peace through Education, Natural sciences, Social and Human Sciences, Culture, and Communication and Information. UNESCO has recognized Africa’s great potential of contributing to the world sustainable development by addressing the challenges faced by Africa. Furthermore, aligning with the African Union’s vision of 2063 to build an integrated, prosperous, and peaceful society, UNESCO prioritizes Africa in its global agenda.

In response to the challenges encountered by West Africa, regarding demographic growth, social transformation, democratic governance, and sustainable development and economic growth, UNESCO Abuja Office would continue to scale up both domestic and international expertise and resources in order to deliver quality and effective programmes and projects in consideration of local societal context and in an innovative way.

Such transformation of challenges to opportunities for promoting inclusive sustainable development and enhancing human well-being are achieved through strategic actions of UNESCO Abuja Office:

  • Attaining quality education for all and lifelong learning;
  • Mobilizing science knowledge and policy for sustainable development;
  • Addressing emerging social and ethical challenges;
  • Fostering cultural diversity, intercultural dialogue and a culture of peace; and,
  • Building inclusive knowledge societies through communication and information.

In order to position the Organization closer to the field, UNESCO Abuja Office is committed to strengthening regular and quality communication, consultation, and dialogues with the Members States. Also, the Office would closely work and interface with development partners and stakeholders across local, national, and global levels.

As the progress towards the Sustainable Development cannot be realized without everyone’s involvement and participation, please join me in achieving the vision that everyone in the region can enjoy a peaceful, sustainable and promising future.


Mr Yao Ydo
Regional Director and Representative