Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic

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Czech Republic and UNESCO


The Czech Republic joined the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on 22nd February 1993 and in doing so continued the active work of Czechoslovakia, a founding member of the organization. Since joining, the Czech Republic has shown exceptional interest in taking part in the formulation of the programmes undertaken by the organization and taking an active role in their implementation. The Czech Commission for UNESCO and the Permanent Delegation of the Czech Republic to UNESCO have also played a crucial role in terms of strengthening cooperation.

Thanks to its work in the organization’s steering committees and subsidiary bodies and the development of cooperation at national commission level, the Czech Republic has earned itself a prominent position within UNESCO. One event to have reinforced mutual cooperation was a visit paid to UNESCO headquarters in Paris by President Václav Havel in 1992, when he was awarded with the Simon Bolivar Prize.  

Senator Jaroslava Moserová’s term of office as President of the Czech Commission for UNESCO, when she represented the Czech Republic in the Executive Board between 1995 and 1999 and again between 2003 and 2006 and when she was elected President of the 30th General Conference (1999), was a significant time. Her active approach changed the way in which the role of the President of the GC was understood. She was tireless in her efforts to make sure that UNESCO helps developing countries, endeavours to uphold human rights and maintains its importance to developed nations. The important position of the Czech Republic at the organization was seen, among other, in the fact that the first foreign visit paid by the newly-elected General Director of UNESCO K. Matsuura in 2000 took him to Prague. The good cooperation continued between 2006 and 2012 when Prof. Helena Illnerová served as a Chairperson of the Czech Commission for UNESCO.

The above-average representation of the Czech Republic in the subsidiary bodies of owed in large part to the high level of expertise of our experts.

The Czech Commission for UNESCO initiated the creation of the Czech National Committee for Cooperation with the International Oceanographic Commission in 2006. The Czech Republic was represented in the first Governing Board of the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (1999) and took part in formulating the fundamental directions of its work. We should also remember the membership of Otakar Motejl in the International Bioethics Committee (1993–1997) and the part he played in formulating the Universal Declaration on the Human Genome and Human Rights. Karel Komárek, Secretary-General of the Czech Commission for UNESCO, was a member of a working group involved in evaluating cooperation among the three main UNESCO organs (2004–2005) and of the important “Task Force” for UNESCO in the 21st century (1999–2000). The Czech Republic was also an active member of the Intergovernmental Committee for Promoting the Return of Cultural Property to its Countries of Origin that was set up in 1978.

Experts at the Commission took an active part in the preparation and promotion of nominations of Czech monuments for inscription in the UNESCO World Heritage List and it was thanks to their expertise that twelve Czech monuments became part of this prestigious list. Neither should we forget the work of our experts in preparing new normative documents. In fact the recommendation to prepare a new, multilateral Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage was made at a European regional meeting of experts held in Strážnice. It was also thanks to the efforts made by our experts and diplomats that this Convention was successfully agreed and approved within an incredibly short space of time (2003). Experts at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport and the Anti-doping Committee of the Czech Republic contributed towards the formulation of the International Convention against Doping in Sport, which was adopted in 2005. The Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions came into force in the Czech Republic in 2010, the first international document involving the principles and concepts of cultural diversity.

The Czech Republic provides through UNESCO highly-prized university scholarships, more than 100 students from developing countries have taken advantage of the chance to study in the Czech Republic. The tradition has been also to organize UNESCO postgraduate courses.



UNESCO Constitution and Conventions

Conventions and Agreements of Standard-Setting Nature adopted under the auspices of UNESCO solely or jointly with other International Organizations and ratified by the Czech Republic. more ►

Czech national committees of non-governmental organisations cooperating with UNESCO

Czech national committees of UNESCO intergovernmental programmes