About UNESCO Office in Phnom Penh

Since wars begin in the minds of men and women, it is in the minds of men and women that peace must be built. United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) uses education, science, culture and information to inform, inspire, and engage people globally to foster understanding and respect for each other and our planet.

In 1951, Cambodia joined UNESCO as a Member State, and UNESCO reopened its office in Cambodia in 1991. As a laboratory of ideas, the partnership between UNESCO and Cambodia has seen significant advancement in ensuring inclusive and quality education; promoting the conservation of World Heritage Sites and intangible cultural heritage; fostering environment conservation and livelihoods development, and policy support in science, technology and innovation; and strengthening freedom of expression and media development for democracy and development.

A Unique Urban Heritage Building

UNESCO Phnom Penh Office is located in a heritage building near the Royal Palace. Based on research, many experts concluded that this building was built by wealthy merchants (perhaps of Chinese origin) between 1910 and 1920. The building faces the Veal Preah Meru (Mount Meru Square) in front of the National Museum. Old maps of Phnom Penh and a series of photographs from the 1920sattest to the existence of this building during that time.

Between 1979 and 1989, the Vietnamese City Protection Unit was located in the building, and it was subsequently handed over to the Department of Conservation, Ancient Temple, Museum and Tourism during 1989 to 1991.

UNESCO opened its office in Cambodia in this unique building in1991. The building is one of the few remaining urban heritage buildings in Phnom Penh. The building epitomizes UNESCO's long-standing commitment to foster peace, sustainable development, and inter-cultural dialogue in Cambodia.


Office Renovation

In 2021, UNESCO renovated this building, including preservation of the historic tiles and roof structure, painting, restoration of windows, doors, and wooden staircase, and upgrading of the electrical system, among others. The basement was developed into a safe storeroom for documents and archives. The conservation work preserves and calls attention to this heritage building's unique outstanding value, authenticity and integrity.

Cambodia-UNESCO Partnership

Cambodia joined UNESCO on 3 July 1951. Upon membership, the Government proceeded to establish a National Commission. On 5 August 1955, the first Cambodian Delegate to UNESCO, His Royal Highness Prince Norodom Norindeth, presented his credentials to the Organization. Due to the internal political situation, the Cambodian National Commission had to close down in 1975 and all UNESCO operations within the country were suspended. The reopening of the UNESCO Office Phnom Penh in 1991 contributed to the strengthening of cooperation between Cambodia and UNESCO.

On UNESCO’s 75th Anniversary and UNESCO’s 41st General Conference, at the invitation of Ms. Audrey Azoulay, Director-General UNESCO, His Majesty Samdech Preah Bâromneath NORODOM Sihamoni, King of Cambodia, addressed a special ceremony on 12th November 2021 at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, along with over 25 heads of state and government and delegations.

In his royal speech, His Majesty King Sihamoni congratulated UNESCO for its 75th Anniversary since founding, for its contribution to peace, cultural diversity, solidarity and humanity.

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Contact Us

Mr. Sardar Umar Alam
Head of Office and Representative to Cambodia
+855 23 723 054
Mr. Kongkea Kong
Assistant to Director
+855 23 723 054