Since its creation, UNESCO has been closely linked with numerous non-governmental organizations (NGOs) representing diverse fields ranging from heritage and performing arts to literature and translation. In fact several of our longstanding partners were created on the initiative of UNESCO.
Working with civil society organizations is essential as a way of bringing citizens’ concerns to public authorities, monitoring policy and programme implementation, playing a watchdog role, as well as contributing to the achievement of greater transparency and accountability in the governance of culture.
At present, over 80 UNESCO NGO partners work primarily in the area of culture. Several of these organizations work closely with the Secretariat and the Convention’s various governing bodies to implement the cultural conventions. In addition to these official partners, the Culture Sector has ties with numerous specialized national and local NGOs in conjunction with its standard-setting work.
The new Directives concerning UNESCO’s partnership with non-governmental organizations provides the statutory framework for cooperation with NGOs, while the Comprehensive Partnership Strategy for UNESCO defines the overall framework for partnership and separated strategies for engagement with individual categories of partner, including non-governmental organizations.