Education transforms lives and is at the heart of UNESCO’s mission to build peace, eradicate poverty and drive sustainable development. As the only United Nations agency with a mandate to cover all aspects of education, UNESCO has been entrusted to lead the Global Education 2030 Agenda through Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4. 

The UNESCO New Delhi Office works to advance quality and equitable education and lifelong learning opportunities for all through the provision of capacity development, policy advice and technical support to the four Member States under its coverage, namely Bhutan, India, Maldives and Sri Lanka. 

It provides regional leadership in education, strengthen education systems worldwide and respond to contemporary global challenges through education with gender equality as an underlying principle. 

For 2022-2023, UNESCO New Delhi Office upholds the right to education for all, build education systems that are resilient and responsive to contemporary challenges, and contribute to eliminate exclusion and marginalization in education, notably for those at greater risk of being left behind.

The Office supports quality data, policies and legislation; help to improve teaching and learning practices that advance gender equality in and through education; and continue to provide evidence-based policy advice on use of ICTs and to expand it to include applications of Artificial Intelligence in Education, and enable future forms of learning. In promoting the Organization’s unique approach of working inter-sectorally, the UNESCO Office champions the transformative power of education to equip learners to engage with the world as responsible global citizens and contribute to peaceful, healthy and sustainable societies.

Natural Sciences

The Natural Sciences sector contributes to UNESCO’s mission to promote science for peace, sustainable development, human security and well-being.  The sub-themes include – Ecological Sciences, Basic Sciences, Hydrological Sciences, Smalls Island States, Disaster Risk Reduction. 

The overarching objective is mobilizing scientific knowledge to assist Member States in their aspirations to build sustainable knowledge societies to address economic, social and environmental challenges. 

UNESCO acts as a platform for generating and sharing ideas and promotes dialogue between scientists and policy-makers. It catalyzes innovative initiatives in the field of international cooperation in science.

For the next two years,  the priorities for the UNESCO New Delhi Natural Sciences sector are: 

  • Advocacy for the World Network of Biosphere Reserves, in particular in Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, and Sri Lanka.
  • Strengthening Women in Science
  • Supporting urban water and wetland ecosystem management.
  • Assisting the Maldives (a Small Island Developing State), with coastal ecosystem management, and climate resilience. 

Social and Human Sciences

At a time of increasing global challenges and threats, such as inequality, exclusion and violence, learning to live together and fostering rights, inclusion and non-discrimination among all members of the global community becomes more topical than ever before.

The Social and Human Sciences (SHS) sector of UNESCO supports Members States to better understand and address the challenges and priorities for inclusive development in different cultural and political contexts.

The sector creates and mobilizes knowledge to foster socially inclusive, resilient and equitable communities, working to address the drivers of exclusion, marginalization, and fragility. The sector’s programmes equip individuals, communities, and decisionmakers with the knowledge, skills and opportunities to support meaningful social and civic participation, with a particular focus on those most marginalized and most excluded within our societies. 
In 2022 and 2023, the sector’s work in South Asia will focus on these thematics: engaging men and boys for gender equality; strengthening the use of sports to foster inclusion and resilience; promoting inclusive policies for people with disabilities; and empowering and engaging youth in initiatives for civic engagement, global citizenship, and intercultural dialogue.
The sector’s flagship work in 2021 included a groundbreaking report focusing on gender equality and masculinities in India, Transforming MEN-talities, and a launch of a regional workshop series on engaging youth for social cohesion. 

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UNESCO New Delhi's Culture programmes focuses on empowering decision-makers and communities to preserve and enhance their rich and diverse culture in South Asia, in particular Bhutan, India, Maldives, and Sri Lanka while having close working relations with our country offices in Bangladesh and Nepal.  In a time of unprecedented economic and social change, UNESCO's mandate is to ensure that diverse histories, cultures and habitats are not only preserved, but also filled with renewed relevance for future generations.

The countries in South Asia, like any other nations, have set priorities for development. Assessing their specific needs, UNESCO New Delhi Culture Sector develops and implements activities that would project culture as a tool for development. 

The sector focuses on a variety of sub-themes, which include – Historic Cities including UNESCO Historic Urban Landscape programme, Intangible Cultural Heritage, Museum and Cultural Objects, Cultural Industries, Culture and Development, Heritage in Danger and Intercultural Dialogue.

Communication and Information

The Communication and Information (CI) Programme promotes Freedom of expression and safety of journalists online and off-line by countering hate speech, misinformation and disinformation through awareness raising, monitoring, capacity-building, and technical support. This action is guided by the United Nations Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists.

The CI Programme also supports Media development by strengthening free, independent and pluralistic media, and by creating the conditions necessary for the media to perform effectively.

Media and information literacy (MIL) and journalism education institutions are strengthened through policy and curricula development, adaptation and application, and capacity building.

The Programme fosters universal access to information and knowledge through the Information for All Programme (IFAP), as well as through Open Solutions, including Open Educational Resources and through the identification, preservation and accessibility of documentary heritage.

The Programme aims to strenthen gender equality in media operations and content, and encourages pertinent media coverage of crisis and emergency situations. It contributes to media diversity and pluralism by fostering diverse content, audiences, sources, and systems. 


UNESCO New Delhi provides a range of technical services to the Cluster countries including standard methodologies and tools for producing and using high-quality data for effective policymaking on UNESCO’s fields of competencies. 

The UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) is the official and trusted source of internationally-comparable data on education, science, culture and communication. 

As the official statistical agency of UNESCO, the UIS produces a wide range of indicators in UNESCO’s fields of action by working with national statistical offices, line ministries and other statistical organizations and is the main custodian agency for SDG 4 indicators.