Switzerland elected to the Executive Board of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)

Bern, 20.11.2019 - UNESCO strives to promote peace and sustainable development through international cooperation in education, science, culture and media development. UNESCO's General Conference has now elected Switzerland to the organisation's Executive Board for 2019–23. The new Executive Board's mandate will include drafting UNESCO's next medium-term strategy for 2022–29.

On 20 November Switzerland was elected to UNESCO's Executive Board by the organisation's General Conference of 193 member states, meeting in Paris for their 40th session from 12 to 27 November. UNESCO's Executive Board has 58 members. It meets twice a year to monitor the progress of the activities set by the General Conference and to prepare the agenda and adopt recommendations for the next General Conference. Switzerland had not been a member of the Executive Board since 2007.

Switzerland's election is a testament to the success of its foreign policy. It comes at a time of reform within UNESCO and strategic review of its programmes in preparation for the 2022–29 period. As a member of UNESCO's Executive Board, Switzerland will strengthen its position to promote an effective and future-oriented approach to multilateralism. UNESCO is the depositary of the main international conventions on culture in addition to other conventions in areas such as bioethics and anti-doping, non-discrimination in education, cultural diversity, scientific research and the media. The projects announced involve artificial intelligence and open science. As a country of cultural diversity, with a reputation in research and innovation, a democracy with a humanitarian tradition and a high-quality education system, Switzerland is eager to take an active role in shaping UNESCO. In 2019 Switzerland celebrated the 70th anniversary of its accession to UNESCO and the foundation of the Swiss National Commission for UNESCO.

Within UNESCO's broad mandate, Switzerland currently gives priority to meeting the education objective of the 2030 Agenda, promoting scientific diplomacy, sharing transboundary waters, protecting and safeguarding cultural heritage – both tangible and intangible – as well as natural and documentary heritage, and freedom of expression.

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