Frequently asked questions (FAQ)


General information

What is UNESCO?

UNESCO is the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. It is one of the specialized agencies of the United Nations which contributes to the building of peace, the reduction of poverty, sustainable development and intercultural dialogue through the implementation of programmes in the field of education, natural and social sciences, culture, communication and information.

The Organization has 193 Member States and 11 Associate Members. Its Headquarters are situated in Paris, France.

Uzbekistan joined UNESCO in 1993 and the UNESCO Tashkent Office was opened in 1996.

What is the mission of the Organization?

UNESCO has a unique role to play in strengthening the foundations of lasting peace and equitable and sustainable development. Advancing international cooperation in education, natural and social sciences, culture, communication and information represents strategic stakes at a time when the international community faces new challenges such as COVID-19, conflicts, natural or human-made disasters or terrorism.

For 75 years, 24 of them also in Uzbekistan, UNESCO has been implementing a large number of activities in the areas of its mandate and contributing to building lasting peace based on dialogue and mutual understanding, as well as on the intellectual and moral solidarity of humanity.

What does the UNESCO Tashkent Office do?

The UNESCO Tashkent Office was opened in 1996. Our Office is one of the 53 UNESCO Field Offices throughout the world and his current Head is Mr Jan Hladík (Czech Republic). The Office has four programmatic sectors: Education, Natural Sciences, Culture, Communication and Information.

We work in Uzbekistan in close partnership with the National Commission of the Republic of Uzbekistan for UNESCO, ministries and other governmental entities, including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Public Education, the Ministry of Innovative Development of Uzbekistan and others; the United Nations and its specialized agencies, other intergovernmental organizations such as the World Bank; Embassies of UNESCO Member States accredited to Uzbekistan; national and international NGOs and institutions; city and regional authorities; media representatives and associations.

Our Office essentially provides technical assistance and organizes capacity-building and awareness-raising activities in the field of its competencies. We also assist Uzbekistan in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals defined in Agenda 2030 adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2015.

The programme areas of the Office aim at strengthening the national education system, supporting the Government and local stakeholders to protect movable and movable cultural heritage, strengthening creative industries and encouraging cultural pluralism, developing natural and social sciences, as well as to ensuring protection and reinforcing of the freedom of expression and the protection of journalists.


What are the cultural Conventions for?

To provide a unique global platform for international cooperation and to establish a holistic cultural governance system based on human rights and shared values. These international legally binding treaties for their States Parties are aimed at safeguarding and protecting tangible and intangible, movable and immovable cultural heritage and to support creativity, innovation and the emergence of new dynamic cultural sectors.

What is the 1972 World Heritage Convention?

The Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage is an international agreement that was adopted by the General Conference of UNESCO in 1972. It is based on the premise that certain places in the world are of outstanding universal value and should, therefore, form part of the common heritage of humankind. The States which become party to the Convention have become part of an international community, united in a common mission to identify and safeguard our world's most outstanding natural and cultural heritage. While fully respecting the national sovereignty, and without prejudice to property rights provided by national legislation, the States Parties recognize that, the protection of the World Heritage is the duty of the international community as a whole.

Uzbekistan became party to this Convention in 1993.

The World Heritage Committee is responsible for the implementation of the World Heritage Convention, defines the use of the World Heritage Fund and allocates financial assistance from this Fund upon requests from States Parties. The Committee meets once a year and consists of representatives from 21 of the States Parties to the Convention elected by their General Assembly. Kyrgyzstan is the only country in Central Asia that is currently a Member of the Committee.

What is World Heritage?

World Heritage represents places on Earth having outstanding universal value for humanity and as such, have been inscribed on the World Heritage List to be protected for future generations to appreciate and enjoy. As of October 2020, the World Heritage List contains 1121 cultural, natural and mixed properties.

There is also the List of World Heritage in Danger, which contains 53 properties. If a site loses the characteristics which determined its inscription on the World Heritage List, the World Heritage Committee may decide to delete the property from both the List of World Heritage in Danger and the World Heritage List.

How many UNESCO World Heritage sites are there in Uzbekistan?

The UNESCO World Heritage List includes four cultural sites of Uzbekistan: Historic Centre of Bukhara (inscribed in 1993), Historic Centre of Shakhrisyabz (inscribed in 2000), Itchan Kala (inscribed in 1990), Samarkand – Crossroad of Cultures (inscribed in 2001) and a natural site Western Tien-Shan (inscribed in 2016). In 2016, the Historic Centre of Shakhrisyabz was also included on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

Moreover, Uzbekistan has 30 sites on the Tentative List, which represents a national inventory of those properties which each State Party intends to consider for nomination. Nominations to the World Heritage List will not be considered unless the nominated property has already been included on the State Party's Tentative List.

What does it mean for a site to be inscribed on the World Heritage List?

Once a country joins the 1972 Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage and has sites inscribed on the World Heritage List, the resulting prestige often helps to raise awareness among the general public and the state authorities of heritage preservation. Greater awareness leads to a general rise in the level of the protection and conservation given to heritage properties. A country may also receive financial assistance from the World Heritage Fund and expert advice from the World Heritage Committee to support activities for the preservation of its sites. All States Parties to the World Heritage Convention are eligible to submit requests for International Assistance (IA) from the World Heritage Fund, which can be for an amount from 5,000 to over 30,000 USD.

Five projects financed under the WH international assistance funds were implemented in Uzbekistan from 1995 to 2016 for the total amount of USD 160 760. Among the projects were the development of a Management Plans for the Historic Centre of Bukhara and the World Heritage site of Samarkand Crossroad of Culture; the restoration of the madrassah “Rashid” in Bukhara; the preparation of World Heritage Nomination Files on Urban Heritage Sites; and others.

What are the consequences of listing on the World Heritage List?

Its protection and preservation become a concern of the international community as a whole.

How does UNESCO protect World Heritage sites?

UNESCO's World Heritage mission is to:

  • ensure the protection of their natural and cultural heritage;
  • encourage States Parties to the Convention to nominate cultural, natural and mixed sites situated within their national territory for inclusion on the World Heritage List;
  • encourage States Parties to establish management plans and set up reporting systems on the state of conservation of their World Heritage sites;
  • help States Parties to safeguard World Heritage properties by providing technical assistance and professional training;
  • provide emergency assistance for World Heritage sites in immediate danger;
  • support States Parties' public awareness-building activities for World Heritage conservation;
  • encourage the participation of the local population in the preservation of their cultural and natural heritage; and,
  • encourage international cooperation in the conservation of our world's cultural and natural heritage.

Click here for more FAQs on World Heritage

 What is the 2003 Convention for Intangible Cultural Heritage?

UNESCO’s 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage proposes five broad ‘domains’ in which intangible cultural heritage is manifested: oral traditions and expressions, including language as a vehicle of the intangible cultural heritage; performing arts; social practices, rituals and festive events; knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe; traditional craftsmanship. It is also a tool to support communities and practitioners in their contemporary cultural practices. As intangible cultural heritage is a living form of heritage, the safeguarding measures for intangible cultural heritage aim, among other things, to ensure its continuing renewal and transmission to future generations.

Uzbekistan became party to this Convention in 2008.

The General Assembly gives strategic orientations for the implementation of the Convention and elects the 24 members of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage which core functions are to promote the objectives of the Convention, provide guidance on best practices and make recommendations on measures for the safeguarding of the intangible cultural heritage.

Based on the principle of equitable geographical representation, the General Assembly decided in June 2006 that the seats in the Committee would be distributed among the six UNESCO electoral groups for the purpose of elections to the Executive Board of UNESCO in proportion to the number of States Parties from each group, it being understood that in a Committee of 24 members, each group will occupy at least three seats.

Kazakhstan is the only country in Central Asia that is a Member of the Committee (Group IV).

What are the Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) and the Register of Good Safeguarding Practices?

The Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity is made up of those intangible heritage elements that help demonstrate the diversity of this heritage and raise awareness about its importance.

The Register of Good Safeguarding Practices contains programmes, projects and activities that best reflect the principles and the objectives of the 2003 Convention for Intangible Cultural Heritage.

In addition, there is the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding, which composed of intangible heritage elements that concerned communities and States Parties consider require urgent measures to keep them alive.

Which elements from Uzbekistan are inscribed on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Lists and Register?

The following ICH elements from Uzbekistan are inscribed on the Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity: Shashmaqom music (2008), Cultural Boysun District (2008), Katta Ashula (2009), Askiya, the art of wit (2014), Palov culture and tradition (2016), Navruz (2016), Khorazm dance «Lazgi» (2019), and the «Art of Miniature», a nomination jointly prepared by Azerbaijan, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Turkey and Uzbekistan, and inscribed on the List in 2020.

In 2017, by a decision of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage, the technique of Uzbek traditional atlas and adras making was included in the UNESCO Register of Good Safeguarding Practices. This practice was entitled as «Margilan Crafts Development Centre, safeguarding of the atlas and adras making traditional technologies».

Once elements are inscribed on the Lists, what steps does UNESCO take to safeguard them?

The safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage is the responsibility of States Parties to the 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage. Developing States have the possibility to request International Assistance (IA) from the Intangible Cultural Heritage Fund, which can be for an amount up to US$100,000.

Every four years, States Parties are required to submit a report to the Committee on the status of elements inscribed on the Urgent Safeguarding List, which must include an assessment of the actual state of the element, the impact of safeguarding plans and the participation of communities in the implementation of these plans. States Parties are also required to provide information on community institutions and organizations involved in the safeguarding efforts.

Furthermore, every six years, States Parties must present periodic reports to the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage on measures taken to implement the Convention, in which they must report the current state of all elements present on their territory and inscribed on the Representative List. These detailed reports contain information on the viability and action taken for safeguarding inscribed elements.

The Periodic report of Uzbekistan was submitted on 15 December 2014 and examined by the Committee in 2015.

Click here for more FAQs on ICH

What is the 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions?

The 2005 Convention aims to provide artists, culture professionals, practitioners and citizens of the world with the possibility to create, produce, promote and enjoy a wide range of cultural goods, services and activities. Shaping the design and implementation of policies and measures that support the creation, production, distribution of and access to cultural goods and services, the 2005 Convention is at the heart of the creative economy. The 2005 Convention ultimately provides a new framework for informed, transparent and participatory systems of governance for culture.

Uzbekistan became party to this Convention in 2019.

The Intergovernmental Committee works under the authority of the Conference of Parties to promote and implement the Convention. Twenty-four Parties from all regions of the world, elected for a four-year term by the Conference of Parties, meet on an annual basis to ensure that the implementation of the Convention remains relevant in a constantly evolving world.

What other cultural Conventions have been ratified by Uzbekistan?

Uzbekistan has ratified two other Сonventions in the field of culture: the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict and the 1970 Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property.

The Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict was adopted at The Hague (Netherlands) in 1954 in the wake of massive destruction of cultural heritage during the Second World War. It is the first international treaty with a worldwide vocation focusing exclusively on the protection of cultural heritage in the event of armed conflict.

It covers immovable and movable cultural heritage, including monuments of architecture, art or history, archaeological sites, works of art, manuscripts, books and other objects of artistic, historical or archaeological interest, as well as scientific collections of all kinds regardless of their origin or ownership.

Uzbekistan became party to the Convention in 1996.

The 1970 Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property urges States Parties to take measures to prohibit and prevent the illicit trafficking of cultural property. It provides a common framework for the States Parties on the measures to be taken to prohibit and prevent the import, export and transfer of cultural property.

Uzbekistan became party to the 1970 Convention in 1996.

To be more effective in the fight against the illicit trafficking of cultural property, UNESCO asked the International Institute for the Unification of Private Law (UNIDROIT) to develop the Convention on Stolen or Illegally Exported Cultural Objects (1995), as a complementary instrument to the 1970 Convention. In the UNIDROIT Convention, States commit to a uniform treatment for restitution of stolen or illegally exported cultural objects and allow restitution claims to be processed directly through national courts. Moreover, the UNIDROIT Convention covers all stolen cultural objects, not just inventoried and declared ones and provides that all cultural property must be returned.

Uzbekistan is not yet party to the UNIDROIT Convention.

What cultural initiatives does UNESCO undertake in Uzbekistan?

Since 2015, UNESCO initiated a number of public events in Uzbekistan. Among them is the annual International Jazz Festival in Uzbekistan (April, different cities of Uzbekistan) aimed at in highlight jazz and its role of uniting people in all corners of the globe. In 2020, the Festival, unfortunately, did not take place due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Another one, the Festival of Traditional Textiles "Atlas Bairami" (September, Margilan), is held every two years to safeguard and to promote the intangible heritage in Uzbekistan, in particular traditional textile, including the development of craftsmanship. It also gives the opportunity to improve the economic and social wellbeing of the local communities and promote the region as a tourism destination.


How does UNESCO seek to ensure quality education for all?

UNESCO is the only United Nations agency with a mandate to cover all aspects of education. It has been entrusted to lead the Global Education 2030 Agenda through Sustainable Development Goal 4 (Quality Education). The roadmap to achieve this is the Education 2030 Framework for Action (FFA).

Our work encompasses educational development from pre-school to higher education and beyond. Themes include global citizenship and sustainable development, human rights and gender equality, as well as technical and vocational skills development.

What UNESCO does on education and gender equality?

UNESCO promotes gender equality throughout the education system including participation in education (access), within education (contents, teaching and learning context and practices) and through education (learning outcomes, life and work opportunities).

Specifically, UNESCO helps countries develop their national capacities in mainstreaming gender issues in educational laws, policies and plans; supports teacher training in gender-responsive pedagogy that responds effectively to the needs of male and female learners; seeks to improve and expand girls’ and women’s literacy and their access to formal and non-formal education, including through Information, Communication and Technology (ICT); supports the development of curricula and textbooks free from stereotypes and discrimination, etc.

What does the abbreviation TVET stand for?

Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET). It connects education and the world of work. TVET aims to address economic, social and environmental demands by helping youth and adults develop the skills they need for employment, decent work and entrepreneurship. In this way, TVET promotes equitable, inclusive and sustainable economic growth and supports transitions to green and digital economies.

UNESCO has developed a Strategy for TVET (2016-2021) in alignment with Sustainable Development Goal 4 and the Education 2030 Framework for Action to strengthen TVET systems of Member States and advance youth employment, access to decent work, entrepreneurship and lifelong learning opportunities in specific national contexts. 

In Uzbekistan, the illustration of this is the recent launch of the European Union-UNESCO programme "Skills Development in Rural Areas of Uzbekistan", funded generously by the European Union in a total amount of €9.6 million, to support the agriculture sector in Uzbekistan through the development of vocational education and training system.

What is the UNITWIN/UNESCO Chairs Programme?

UNESCO’s UNITWIN programme promotes international cooperation and networking between universities. It helps reinforce higher education institutions worldwide, bridge the knowledge gap, mobilize university expertise and collaborate around the Sustainable Development Agenda 2030.

Launched in 1992, the Programme supports the establishment of UNESCO Chairs and UNITWIN Networks in key priority areas related to UNESCO’s fields of competence – education, natural and social sciences, culture, and communication and information. Today, the network involves over 700 institutions in 114 countries.

In various regions of Uzbekistan, ten UNESCO Chairs have been opened and are functioning, among them the Chair on Physics and Astronomy (National University of Uzbekistan), the Chair in Human Rights, Peace, Democracy, Tolerance and International Understanding (University of World Economy and Diplomacy), the Chair in Automated Information Technologies (The Samarkand Economy and Service Institute), the Chair on Water Diplomacy, Water Resources Management and Environmental Protection (Tashkent Institute of Irrigation and Agricultural Mechanization Engineers) and others.

Click here to find all of UNESCO’s Education themes.

Natural Sciences

What does UNESCO’s Natural Sciences Sector implement?

It implements major international programs in the freshwater, marine, ecological, basic and earth sciences, while at the same time promoting national and regional science and technology policies and capacity-building in the sciences, technology and innovation, engineering and renewable energy.

One of the largest global environmental disasters in recent history is the tragedy of the Aral Sea. Improvement of water security in response to local, regional and global challenges is fully aligned with SDG 6 (Clean water and Sanitation), and other goals of the 2030 Agenda.

UNESCO acts as an advocate for science, a platform for generating and sharing ideas and standard-setting, and promotes dialogue between scientists and policy-makers.

What is the Science, Technology and Innovation policy?

Investment in science, technology and innovation (STI) is essential for economic development and social progress. Research and development (R&D) can foster sustainable development by building greener, more inclusive society.

UNESCO, within its mandate, supports efforts of Member States to reform and improve national STI systems and governance, provides technical advice, methodology and recommendations to governments on science policy formulation, monitoring and implementation.

UNESCO’s Global Observatory of Science, Technology and Innovation Policy Instruments (GO→SPIN) is a methodological tool to map national science, technology and innovation landscapes and analyze STI policies and their implementation. The open-access platform offers innovative databases with powerful graphic and analytical tools for the use of decision-makers, parliamentarians, universities, knowledge brokers, companies, specialists and the general public, with a complete set of diverse information on STI policies.

Strengthening an inclusive science, technology and innovation system in Uzbekistan was initiated at the end of 2019. The project, financed by the Islamic Development Bank, is being implemented by UNESCO’s Natural Sciences Sector, the UNESCO Tashkent Office and the Almaty Cluster UNESCO Office. Click here to learn more.

What is the UNESCO Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme?

The MAB Programme is an intergovernmental scientific programme that aims to establish a scientific basis for enhancing the relationship between people and their environments. It combines the natural and social sciences with a view to improve human livelihoods and safeguard natural and managed ecosystems, thus promoting innovative approaches to economic development that are socially and culturally appropriate and environmentally sustainable.

The World Network of Biosphere Reserves currently counts 701 sites in 124 countries all over the world, including 21 transboundary sites. Uzbekistan has one biosphere reserve – Mount Chatkal Biosphere Reserve.

What is the difference between UNESCO Global Geoparks, Biosphere Reserves and World Heritage Sites?

UNESCO Global Geoparks, together with the other two UNESCO site designations Biosphere Reserves and World Heritage Sites, give a complete picture of celebrating our heritage while at the same time conserving the world’s cultural, biological and geological diversity, and promoting sustainable economic development.

While Biosphere Reserves focus on the harmonized management of biological and cultural diversity and World Heritage Sites promote the conservation of natural and cultural sites of outstanding universal value, UNESCO Global Geoparks give international recognition for sites that promote the importance and significance of protecting the Earth’s geodiversity through actively engaging with the local communities.

Uzbekistan intends to establish its first UNESCO Global Geopark on the territory of the Kitab State Geological Reserve (Kashkadarya region). The discussion on this effort was held at the Geotourism Forum in Shakhrisyabz on 1-3 August 2019.

Communication and information

What does UNESCO’s Communication and Information Sector do?

The Communication and Information Sector strives to foster freedom of expression, media development, and access to information and knowledge in line with UNESCO’s mandate to “promote the free flow of ideas by word and image”.

Our programmes directly contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, including SDG 4 (Quality Education), SDG 5 (Gender Equality), SDG 16 (Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions), SDG 17 (Partnership for the Goals) set out in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, with specific attention to the social, political and economic mutations of the digital age.

UNESCO has initiatives in media and information literacy (MIL) and journalism education. Specific media projects that align with UNESCO’s vision can secure grants from our International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC), which also promotes knowledge-driven media development.

UNESCO’s work in all these areas is part of our support for freedom of expression as an inalienable human right set down in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Are Information Literacy and Media Literacy the same thing?

Information Literacy and Media Literacy are traditionally seen as separate and distinct fields. UNESCO’s strategy brings together these two fields as a combined set of competencies (knowledge, skills and attitude) necessary for life and work today. MIL considers all forms of media and other information providers such as libraries, archive, museums and Internet irrespective of technologies used.

Where I can find publications, documents and other UNESCO’s materials?

The UNESCO Digital Library provides access to publications, documents and other materials either produced by UNESCO or pertaining to UNESCO’s fields of competence. The UNESCO Digital Library is the repository of UNESCO’s institutional memory and a source of high-quality information on UNESCO activities with more than 350,000 documents dating back to 1945.

You need to create a free account, which will give you access to specific services, such as creating your preferred list of items, subscribing to notifications, sharing publications on social media, and more.

Other questions

I would like to work for UNESCO. Where can I apply for a job?

UNESCO does not process unsolicited applications. Please consult UNESCO Careers for job opportunities and applications.

Can I apply for an internship?

Yes. You can check the required conditions and apply for an internship at UNESCO Headquarters or in a Field Office on UNESCO Internship programme.

How can I work as a volunteer for UNESCO?

You can visit the Coordinating Committee for International Voluntary Service (CCIVS) and contact its members for voluntary service opportunities.